Farm Labor and Food Supply

January 23, 1943

Report Outline
Ohstacles to Food for Fredom Program
Rising Trend of Farm Income and Farm Wage Rates
Draft Deferment for Farm Workers; Labor Mobilization Programs
Special Focus

Ohstacles to Food for Fredom Program

Food for freedom goals for 1943 call for the largest output in the history of American agriculture, notwithstanding diminished supplies of farm labor, reduced production of farm machinery, and shortages of fertilizers. Farm production in 1942 exceeded the previous high record set in 1941 by about 10 per cent. Increased crop production last year was in part the result of unusually fine growing weather, which made for record yields. Farmers apparently reached the practical limit of total crop acreage in 1942, according to the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. The new crop production goals, therefore, call for roughly the same total acreage this year as last year. It is probable, however, that the total volume of crops harvested will be smaller than in 1942, if for no other reason than that it is unlikely that yields can be maintained at last year's levels.

Food Needs of Armed Forces and United Nations

In announcing 1943 food production goals, November 30, 1942, Secretary of Agriculture Wickard said they were “designed to shape next year's farm production to the needs of the United Nations.” He stressed the point that the goals represented “minimum requirements,” adding that military and lend-lease needs “now represent about one-fourth of estimated total food production in 1943.” Food purchased for military and lend-lease accounts in 1942 represented approximately 13 per cent of the nation's total food production, compared with only about four per cent in 1941.

If the United Nations reoccupy part of southern or western Europe in 1943, heavy purchases of American food, in addition to scheduled buying for lend-lease purposes, will be made by Herbert Lehman, War Relief Administrator. The possibility of this sharp increase in food purchases for government account, and the further possibility of a decline in the total volume of food produced in the United States, imply a steady reduction in the proportion of the country's total food supply available for consumption by American civilians.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Farm Labor
Oct. 08, 2004  Migrant Farmworkers
Jun. 03, 1983  Migrants: Enduring Farm Problem
Feb. 11, 1959  Migratory Farm Workers
Apr. 04, 1951  Farm Manpower
Apr. 19, 1950  Migrant Farm Labor
Oct. 13, 1948  Collective Farming
Jan. 23, 1943  Farm Labor and Food Supply
Mar. 14, 1942  Farm Labor Supply
Farm Produce and Commodities
General Employment and Labor