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Old August 27th, 2015, 05:41 PM   #1

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1929 Stock Crash & Small Farmers


I've poked about several of the sections, but still am not sure the best place to post this question. I trust if I've chosen poorly, some kind soul will move it to the correct place.

I am trying to understand the immediate impact of the Stock Crash in 1929 on small farmers. By immediate, I mean in the first 6 months or so. I've found some personal diaries written at the time, and they don't mention a single word about it, not even in the days just following Black Tuesday when it would have been in all the papers. But, it could be I was unfortunate enough to find diarists who didn't care about current affairs.

At any rate, the information I've been able to find in my pathetic google-searching techniques (perhaps there is a Googling Class I should take?) jumps from the week before/after October 29 to 1931.

I welcome any insights y'all might have on the subject. Thanks!
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Old August 27th, 2015, 07:36 PM   #2
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By the time of the Great Depression, farmers in the midwest and the plains had been in a depression for years. This had affected life in small towns, hamlets and isolated farms. The Great Depression only magnified their existing plight. Before 1929, the price of corn had dropped so much it was being used as fuel rather than being sold. You might want to contact places like the Iowa State Historical Society.
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Old August 28th, 2015, 07:29 AM   #3

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Quote:
Originally Posted by newhandle View Post
By the time of the Great Depression, farmers in the midwest and the plains had been in a depression for years. This had affected life in small towns, hamlets and isolated farms. The Great Depression only magnified their existing plight. Before 1929, the price of corn had dropped so much it was being used as fuel rather than being sold. You might want to contact places like the Iowa State Historical Society.
Yes, I agree. I grew up in that area of the country, and it was known that the depression for farmers started after WWI ended. They never got to enjoy any kind of ridiculous notion of a "Roaring Twenties." The Dust Bowl really piled on misery for part of that region as well.

There was a lot of work on organizing the cooperatives, and farmers were very active and organized in many areas of the country. In fact, Minnesota still has a DFL (Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party) rather than a state Democratic Party. There should be a lot of stuff available, primary and secondary source material, on the farmers and this period of the nation's history. It may require moving those dates around, rather than just the narrow focus on immediately after the stock market crash.
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Old August 28th, 2015, 07:53 AM   #4
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It's possible that the stock market crash resulted in more bank failures which made credit even tighter for everyone including farmers. So it may have exacerbated an already tough situation for small farmers who would need credit to buy seed, equipment and the like but I am just speculating...
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Old August 28th, 2015, 01:40 PM   #5

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See if these are useful to you- some of them mention the already existing problems mentioned by other posters. Some of them only have a small piece of what you may be looking for but can be helpful in getting a better idea of the big picture so to speak

The Impact of the Stock Market's Crash on Rural America

http://library.truman.edu/scpublicat...Depression.pdf

The Great Depression Hits Farms and Cities in the 1930s Iowa Pathways

Great Depression | New Georgia Encyclopedia This one is more focused on Georgia then the country as a whole
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Old August 28th, 2015, 02:17 PM   #6
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It's possible that the stock market crash resulted in more bank failures which made credit even tighter for everyone including farmers. So it may have exacerbated an already tough situation for small farmers who would need credit to buy seed, equipment and the like but I am just speculating...
Yes, there was a PBS/Ken Burns documentary on this Home | THE DUST BOWL. It might have been the first section of this program, but I can't recall. In Colorado, wheat, in 1918, sold for over $2.00 a bushel. By 1921, it fell to 75 cents. Dryland farming on the plains is in the best of years when the weather and the economy is working with you difficult, in a drought or recession its almost impossible; by 1930 over 30% of all farmers were renters.
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Old August 30th, 2015, 12:55 PM   #7
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Just anecdoatally, listening to my uncles and grandparents, nobody had any money, but on the farm they did have plenty of food.
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Old August 30th, 2015, 01:22 PM   #8

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You might want to contact places like the Iowa State Historical Society.
That's a wonderful suggestion. I've poked around on their website, but very little is actually available on line. But they will answer questions, at least regarding what materials they have available. That is, indeed a start.

Thanks!
~Taylor
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Old August 30th, 2015, 01:28 PM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zhang LaoYong View Post
There should be a lot of stuff available, primary and secondary source material, on the farmers and this period of the nation's history. It may require moving those dates around, rather than just the narrow focus on immediately after the stock market crash.
If it's out there, it's doing a great job of hiding from me. Hence my desire for some sort of Googling Class. But knowing it exists will at least keep me in the hunt.

I appreciate your help.
~Taylor
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Old August 30th, 2015, 01:40 PM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gsper View Post
It's possible that the stock market crash resulted in more bank failures which made credit even tighter for everyone including farmers. So it may have exacerbated an already tough situation for small farmers who would need credit to buy seed, equipment and the like but I am just speculating...
Yes. I'm certain credit was difficult to obtain. And I know my grandfather ended up losing all his savings (rumored at $800, saved to buy the land he was farming) when the local bank failed. It just seems at the time they were all so indifferent to it all, as if the stock failure only affected those in New York. I've often wondered why he didn't get his money right away, after all, it took almost a year before banks started going under, if I remember correctly.
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