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NITED STATES OF AMERICA
FEDERAL FARM BOARD MEMBERS
ALEXANDER LEGGE, Chairman WILLIAM F. SCHILLING
CHARLES S. WILSON
Member ex officio
The purpose of the agricultural marketing act is to place the industry of agriculture upon a basis of economic equality with other industries. One method suggested in section 1 (a) is by aiding in preventing and controlling surpluses in any agricultural commodity, through orderly production and distribution, so as to maintain advantageous domestic markets and prevent surpluses from causing undue and excessive fluctuations or depressions in prices for the commodity. The board is authorized and directed in section 5 (3) to keep advised from any available sources and make reports as to crop prices, experiences, prospects, supply, and demand at home and abroad, and by section 5 (4) to investigate conditions of overproduction of agricultural commodities and advise as to the prevention of such overproduction.
Unless practically all the growers of an agricultural product are organized so as to effectively control production, the initiative in making adjustments in production must necessarily be left to farmers as individuals. Cooperative associations, educa tional and extension agencies, bankers, local merchants, and the press can exert influence on the process of adjustment, through bringing home to farmers the facts as to the situation in their general as well as local applications. The outlook activities of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics and of the State colleges of agriculture and extension services are supplying to individual farmers, to cooperative associations and to other farmers' agencies, the best available economic information concerning the future supply, demand, and price of farm products. With this information, farmers may adjust their production plans so as to meet conditions as they are likely to be when the products come on the market.
It is the purpose of this publication to discuss the outlook for cotton in 1931, from a national and international standpoint, in order that cotton growers may adjust the acreage of their cotton crop and their production of livestock in 1931 Bo as to obtain the greatest possible net income.
The statistical and economic facts on which this statement is primarily based, as well as the outlook for other southern agricultural products, are treated much more comprehensively in Miscellaneous Publication No. 102, The Agricultural Outlook for the Southern States, and in Miscellaneous Publication No. 104, The World Cotton Situation, published by the United States Department of Agriculture in 1930, which may be obtained from county agents or vocational agricultural instructors, or by writing direct to the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, Washington, D. C. The charts which appear in this bulletin were prepared by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics.
ISSUED BY FEDERAL FARM BOARD
1300 E Street NW., Washington, D. C.
ADDITIONAL COPIES of this bulletin may be obtained free upon request.
Washington, D. C.
SUMMARY It is quite probable that the supply of cotton for 1931–32 will be at least as large if not larger than for 1930–31. Substantial improvement in the price for cotton of the 1931 crop depends, therefore, upon a recovery in business activity to normal, or better than normal by late 1931, unless farmers reduce the acreage of cotton next spring to a greater extent than they have done in any previous year of low cotton prices.
The greatest reduction in cotton acreage that has occurred in any single season during the last 30 years has been 15 per cent. World consumption of American cotton during the current year is not expected to be larger than in 1929–30. The yield per acre in 1931 is expected to be at least 5 per cent above that of 1930. If these expectations prove correct and the decrease in acreage next spring should be as much as 15 per cent, the total supply of American cotton next year will still be at least as much as this year. There is no indication yet, however, that farmers plan to decrease acreage more than 8 or 10 per cent. This is not sufficient to bring about the needed adjustment of supply to prospective demand next year.
Neither is there any positive assurance that business will return to normal levels by late in 1931. The outlook, therefore, is for a continuation of relatively low prices for the cotton crop of 1931, unless a drastic cut in acreage is made by farmers,
least 5 d the decotal supprear.
During the next 10 years the price of cotton may be expected to average considerably lower than during the last 10 years. Declining price levels for all commodities, increased use of machinery in cotton growing, increased production of cotton in Russia, all point to lower prices than have prevailed since the World War.
This prospect makes it imperative for many southern farmers permanently to readjust their farming programs so that cotton will not be their only source of cash income.