Farm Security Administration (FSA)
By Maddy and Paula
When was it created and why?
Elroy Hoffman of York
What Actions did they take?
The FSA loaned money to tenant farmers (renters) at low interest rates. The FSA also built model cooperative farmsteads for farmers who had been forced to receive relief (now known as "welfare"). The agency built camps in California for Okies and other migrant workers. The loan program was the main effort of the agency and thousands of tenant farmers were able to stay on the land because of them. Many were able to earn enough ahead to actually buy their farms outright. Elroy did not. He remained a renter all his life, but he was able to make a living.
Madge Mary and her husband Lynn of Hickman, Nebraska
Former Texas Tenant Farmers
These men were displaced by power farming. Photo by Dorothea Lange
Photographed and created by Dorothea Lange.
The fight for labor unions
Farm labor union protest in the late 30's
One of the most memorable programs of the FSA is the collection of photographs that document the rural conditions from the Information Division of the Resettlement Administration. These photos helped to not only promote the programs of the RA, but to also show the people, cultures, and landscapes of rural America. However, this objective was unpopular among the majority in Congress as it appeared to be socialistic to some and threatened to deprive influential farm owners of their tenant workforce. Its focus then changed to building relief camps in California for migratory workers, especially refugees from the drought-struck Dust Bowl of middle America and the Southwest
Reaction of American People/ Government to Agency/Effort
Though the program assisted some 75,000 people, they were only a small share of those in need and were only allowed to stay temporarily. In the end, the program failed because the farmers wanted ownership and when the United States entered World War II in 1941, millions of jobs were available in the cities. By 1943, Congress greatly reduced FSA's activities and the following year, transferred its remaining responsibilities to the Office of War Information. During the FSA's existence was a small but highly influential photography program that portrayed the challenges of rural poverty. The program was managed by Roy Stryker, who initially headed the photograph division of the Resettlement Administration. When that program moved to the FSA, Stryker went wit it. Under him, the Information Division of the FSA adopted a goal of "introducing America to Americans," via a focus on photography and written narratives. At first, the photo division focused on the lives of sharecroppers in the South and of migratory agricultural workers in the Midwestern and western states. However, the scope of the project expanded over time and the photographers turned to recording rural and urban conditions throughout the United States and mobilization efforts for World War II.
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"Introduction - The RA and the FSA." Celebrating New Deal Arts and Culture. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2016.