What caused the USA's agricultural decline in the 1920s?

Author Name
Answered by: Sourav, An Expert in the Events Category
Agriculture was a profitable source of income for farmers and the country in the USA during the 1920s. However, this all changed when new machinery was developed, government policies were introduced and the effects of WW1 had a great impact on overproduction which was one of the many reasons which caused a huge decline in the agricultural economy sector. These factors greatly contributed to the fall of the agricultural sector in the USA.

One of the most important reasons which led to USA's agricultural decline was the new technology that was invented, such as combine-harvesters and tractors, which were very efficient in getting the crops quickly but led to a great deal of farmers losing their jobs as their work was now being done by the machinery - as many farmers started to go out of work this led to an uneven amount of food being produced by the farms and there was too much supply meeting the demand, which led to overproduction of food and as a result the price of food started to decrease rapidly as there was too much stock. In order to sell the stock, prices had to be decreased so that it could be sold. Less money was being made by the agricultural sector and so it started to enter a period of decline in the 1920s in the USA.

Another reason is the introduction of new government policies. Near the end of the 1920s, the USA was trying hard to sell its abundance of goods to foreign countries and nations, such as Europe. But because of the Fordney McCumber Tariff Act, which meant that taxes were imposed on goods from abroad in order to encourage Americans to buy local goods, Europe fought back by imposing the same tariffs on American goods which led to a loss of trade between the two continents - as American goods would now be too expensive to buy in European countries. This links to overproduction as because there was too many goods in the USA, which meant there was no need for importing, it led to a loss of trade and a decline in the profitability of the agricultural sector during the 1920s.

Another factor that led to the decline of agriculture was the after-effects of WW1. Although the war hadn’t directly caused damage to the society and people of USA - they had got through the war relatively successfully, it then led to an increase in the demand of American goods, strangely. This increased demand for American goods links to the new machinery and technology being made available for supply, in order to meet the demand. Even though this gave America a great financial position (their GNP grew $25 billion in the space of a year) the situation later spiralled out of control as it later seemed that there was too much supply from the efficient machines and absolutely steam-rolled the demand. Many farmers lost their jobs and unemployment grew steadily. The increase in demand after WW1 helped lead to a decline of agriculture in the 1920s USA.

Overproduction was a huge factor in the decline of agriculture. However it did not affect the agricultural sector by itself as it was linked by several other factors, most notably the ‘overly-efficient’ machines. These machined were very efficient so there was less demand for farmers (as machines were doing the work which led to mass unemployment) and helped to meet the increased demand from the American society - however they were producing too much and caused a rapid price decrease. The government policies that introduced taxes on foreign goods helped to elevate the demand and thus led to overproduction. These factors linked together make overproduction a bold factor in the decline of agriculture.

USA's agricultural decline was caused by the contribution of factors such as overproduction, government policies, new machinery and the after-effects of WW1. Many of these factors link together - the new machinery that was created (combine-harvesters) were able to produce much more output of crop than was needed for the market and as a result the price of crop fell. The substantially larger amount of crop is a direct link to overproduction as the supply has overtaken the demand and means that the agricultural sector starts to decline. Government policies were too harsh and unnecessary and gave other countries the motive to impose their own taxes and the victory of WW1 increased confidence but created too much hype in the end. It was the end of an industry for agriculture in the USA, and as the new replace the old, the industrial sector became a thing of the present.

Author Name Like My Writing? Hire Me to Write For You!

Related Questions