In the 1939s, many farmers had purchased land selling for $10 or $12 per acre. With the arrival of the Great Depression era, many farmers couldn’t make their payments.
Large loan companies and insurance companies often purchased the repossessed notes from the banks for less than one-fourth of the notes’ value. In some communities, they might own one-half of the land.
These large companies would usually try to work with the farmers, offering them an extension on their loan repayment schedule if they’d tried to pay their loans of past years. In other instances, they’d rent the land to farmers fortunate enough to keep a team of horses and some machinery. Both the farmer and the company received one-half of the crops’ income.
Still, other farmers were left without any money at all. They had to seek other methods to make a living although finding a job off the farm was difficult. Ffarming was the only skill that many knew.
Many farms were sold in order to pay the back taxes. If another person could pay the back taxes, he could often buy the farm.
In spite of all the farm foreclosures, many farm sales around the country were called off due to farmers’ protests. One such incident occurred at Plattsburg, where several hundred farmers from northern Missouri and southern Iowa arrived at the courthouse just prior to the foreclosure sale. A the marshal and three deputies made their way to the courthouse steps, revolvers were taken from two of the deputies.
After a few hours, the sale officials decided it would be in the best interest of all concerned if the sale was called off. The authorities were told if they tried to conduct other sales, similar protests would take place.
The riots, the mobs, and the hardships were not limited to Daviess County and Northwest Missouri. For instance in Julesburg, Colorado, over 500 farmers from eight Nebraska and three Colorado counties marched into the county in a military fashion. As a result, the protestors were able to restore $3,000 worth of machinery that had been repossessed by a loan company.
— researched and presented by Wilbur Bush, Gallatin, MO
This advice to farmers was given by an Arapahoe County (Colorado) extension agent. The article dealt with 10 important rules for “farm relief” that could also apply to the farmers of Daviess County, MO. They are:
- Milk a few good cows; feed recommended rations
- Fatten one pig for every two adult members of the family; cure the meat properly
- Keep at least 100 good hen, correctly housed and fed
- Raise a good garden; water from windmill if possible
- Plant cash crops only, which show little or no surplus
- Grow all your livestock feed
- Butcher fat cows and steers, and share with neighbors
- Raise your own living; keep your roof tight
- Get down to earth and do the best you can today
- Drive a horse until you can afford to buy gasoline