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Research Bulletin (Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station)

Abstract

The basic economic and social maladjustments confronting American agriculture during the preceding two decades have stimulated a variety of studies and a variety of programs intended to correct the discrepancies in income. At first they were centered around methods of raising prices to farmers, often by placing a barrier between domestic and foreign prices, under the assumption that such price changes would correct the major portion of the unfavorable income position of the farm economy. As the programs and researches expanded and proliferated there was a growing realization that such broad, industry-wide approaches did very little to change the distribution of income within agriculture and was at least as likely to increase the range as to narrow it.

In consequence an increasing number of special problem groups became the focus for a small coterie of workers; farmers on poor land, in drouth areas, migratory laborers and part-time farmers are a few examples of focal problems. Gradually these separate studies are being integrated into a study of disadvantaged classes of farmers-farmers at the lower end of the income scale. This reorientation promises to have much greater analytical significance since it focuses directly on the problem- low income-and attempts to discover the reasons or series of reasons for their income position, rather than orienting the whole study around one hypothesis.

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