Agricultural Adjustment Administration

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Agricultural Adjustment Administration

Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), former U.S. government agency established (1933) in the Dept. of Agriculture under the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933 as part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal program. Its purpose was to help farmers by reducing production of staple crops, thus raising farm prices and encouraging more diversified farming. Farmers were given benefit payments in return for limiting acreage given to staple crops; in the case of cotton and tobacco coercive taxes forced (1934–35) farmers to cut the amounts that they marketed. In 1936 the Supreme Court declared important sections of the act invalid, but Congress promptly adopted (1936) the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act, which encouraged conservation by paying benefits for planting soil-building crops instead of staple crops. The Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 empowered the AAA in years of good crops to make loans to farmers on staple crop yields and to store the surplus produce, which it could then release in years of low yield. Soil conservation was continued, and farmers could by two-thirds vote adopt compulsory marketing quotas (as they did for cotton and tobacco). In World War II the AAA turned its attention to increasing food production to meet war needs. It was renamed (1942) the Agricultural Adjustment Agency, and in 1945 its functions were taken over by the Production and Marketing Administration.

See E. G. Nourse et al., Three Years of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (1937, repr. 1971); G. V. L. Perkins, Crisis in Agriculture (1969).

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