Explain why farmers did not participate in the prosperity of the 1920s.

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The main reason why farmers did not prosper in the 1920s had to do with the international economy.  In the 1910s, WWI caused declines in farm production around the world, but not in the US.  This meant that American farmers were able to sell lots of their produce at good prices.  Many farmers borrowed money to buy land to produce more crops.  But after WWI ended, European farms were able to produce again.  Crop prices dropped and farmers went into debt.  Because of this, American farmers were hurting even as the country as a whole was in boom times.

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

There are a few reasons why farmers did not share in the prosperity of the 1920s. One factor that hurt farmers was overproduction. Farmers produced too many crops. As a result of new technology, farm production was increasing. This created an oversupply of crops that led to falling farm prices. As farm prices fell, income levels of farmers dropped. As a result, some farmers were not able to pay their mortgages, and they lost their farms.

Another issue hurting farmers was a lower demand worldwide for American farm products. After World War I ended, Americans sold a lot of crops to Europeans because European farmland was damaged by the fighting in World War I. Eventually, the European farmland recovered, and European farmers were able to grow more of their own crops. As a result, demand for American crops dropped. This lower foreign demand for crops coupled with the overproduction of crops from American farms led to an even greater drop in crop prices. This put farmers in a very difficult situation economically.

gsenviro's profile pic

gsenviro | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Post World War I, several industries experienced prosperity, but not farming. During World War I, European countries were unable to grow their own crops and were dependent on exports from the US. This led to a booming farming business during the war. The farmers took loans to expand their holdings and also buy new equipment, such as tractors to increase productivity. However, the picture changed after the war. European countries were producing food grain again and were no longer dependent on US supplies. This led to over-production of food crops and the lowering of prices, thus causing a major depression in farming. US policies are to be blamed as well. The US made the exports very expensive and this prompted the other countries not to import materials from the US, leading to overproduction in the US. Between 1920 to 1932, one in four farms were sold to meet financial obligations and many farmers moved to cities. 

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