|About the Book|
In 1973 the federal government put into law the Agricultural and Consumer Protection Act establishing new guidelines for the operation of major commodity programs in the United States. Just over two years later, the federal government acted again andMoreIn 1973 the federal government put into law the Agricultural and Consumer Protection Act establishing new guidelines for the operation of major commodity programs in the United States. Just over two years later, the federal government acted again and passed the 1975 Rice Production Act. These new laws were the result of record commodity prices on the world market and the belief that demand would remain very strong. It also represented a leading move in a period of deregulation that dominated the 1970s. Combined they reversed twenty plus years of government intervention in the form of strict production controls on Americas food and fiber producers. For the first time in decades, farmers were encouraged to expand production.-As a result of the policy shift, Americas farmers cleared land for new production and experienced a tremendous rise in their incomes. Arkansass farmers were no different. The new wealth spilled over into rural farming communities, which had lagged in stagnation for many years. It is no surprise therefore, that these communities and their residents experienced significant advances in their quality of life. However, the same laws that allowed for the boom period of the mid to late 1970s also precipitated the devastating decline in prices and conditions that arrived in the early 1980s. Perhaps more important, the vast expansion that occurred dramatically altered the landscape of rural Arkansas and proved detrimental to the water supply needed to sustain agricultural production.-This thesis outlines the conditions surrounding the 1970s legislation and highlights the community level impact they had in Arkansass rice belt areas, specifically Poinsett County. It also emphasizes the current water level problems plaguing Arkansass producers.