Soil Conservation and Agricultural Adjustment

January 27, 1936

Report Outline
Search for Substitute for the Invalidated A.A.A.
Soil Erosion and Its Consequences in United States
Remedial Measures Initiated by Federal Government
Soil Conservation and Crop Production Control
Special Focus

Search for Substitute for the Invalidated A.A.A.

Invalidation of the Agricultural Adjustment Act by the sweeping decision of the Supreme Court in the Hoosac Mills case on January 6 confronted the administration with the difficult task of finding a constitutional method of maintaining some measure of national control over production of the country's basic agricultural commodities in order to avert a return of ruinous crop surpluses. At the Jackson Day dinner in Washington on January 9, President Roosevelt declared that “the attainment of justice and prosperity for American agriculture remains an immediate, constant objective of my administration.”

Two days later a conference of representatives of farm organizations adopted recommendations for a new agricultural program, embodying suggestions put forward by the President and Secretary of Agriculture Wallace, which proposed to accomplish the essential purposes of the A. A. A. by payment of benefits conditioned on withdrawal of land from production in order to promote conservation of soil fertility. The initial plan was to seek enactment of completely new legislation. It was then suggested that an adequate adjustment program could be worked out by amending an existing law, approved on April 27, 1935, which was enacted for the direct purpose of promoting soil conservation.

The amendments proposed, however, constituted virtually a new act bearing only a general relation to the statute to which they would be attached. Grave doubts as to their constitutionality immediately arose. Senator Norris (R., Neb.), minority member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, had previously expressed the opinion that the Supreme Court's decision made it impossible “to pass any law that in any way regulates agricultural production that would be constitutional.” Secretary Wallace nevertheless said on January 24 that he could find nothing in the decision that would invalidate the proposed program.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Soil Conservation
Mar. 23, 1984  Soil Erosion: Threat to Food Supply
Feb. 03, 1960  Soil Conservation and Crop Surpluses
Jul. 12, 1954  Wind Erosion
Jan. 27, 1936  Soil Conservation and Agricultural Adjustment
Farm Loans, Insurance, and Subsidies
Soil and Watershed Conservation