GREAT DEPRESSION, 1931—1936
The collapse of farm prices after 1929 at first seemed to numb and then even to paralyze farmers, many of whom had hoped Herbert Hoover's Farm Board would raise prices. When relief did not come, strident voices began to be heard. In 1931 and 1932, Iowa witnessed what appeared to be a full-scale revolt against constituted authority when farmers in Cedar County refused to have their cows tested for tuberculosis and chased veterinarians and deputy sheriffs off their farms. The state militia was called out to enforce the law, and after much difficulty it was successful.
In summer 1932, Milo Reno called for a “farm holiday” in which farmers would hold their produce off the market unless they were paid at least for the cost of production. In western Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, there were farm strikes and violence. Meanwhile, farmers hit on a device through which to frustrate farm foreclosure auctions by what came to be called penny, or Sears-Roebuck, auctions.