United States Department of Agriculture Rural Information Center

Federal Rural Development Policy in the Twentieth Century

Dennis Roth, Anne B. W. Effland, Douglas E. Bowers
United States Department of Agriculture - Economic Research Service, 2002
Links modified July, 2013

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  • Summary .pdf [20 KB]

  • Introduction -- Douglas E. Bowers .pdf [47 KB]

  • Section I. From the Country Life Movement Through Passage of the 1972 Rural Development Act -- Dennis Roth

    • Chapter 1. The Country Life Movement .pdf [38 KB]
    • Chapter 2. The New Deal .pdf [91 KB]
    • Chapter 3. True D. Morse and the Beginnings of Postwar Rural Development Work .pdf [63 KB]
    • Chapter 4. The Kennedy Administration Picks Up the Pace .pdf [57 KB]
    • Chapter 5. The Johnson Administration and the Great Society .pdf [78 KB]
    • Chapter 6. The Nixon Administration Through Passage of the Rural Development Act of 1972 .pdf [42 KB]

  • Section II. From the Rural Development Act to the 21st Century
    Anne B. W. Effland

    • Chapter 7. Shared Goals, Opposing Strategies: The Nixon and Ford Administrations and the Rural Development Act of 1972 .pdf [43 KB]
    • Chapter 8. Rural Renaissance: New Policy Questions for the Carter Administration .pdf [60 KB]
    • Chapter 9. Federalism in the 1980s: Fiscal and Policy Restraint by the Reagan Administration .pdf [73 KB]
    • Chapter 10. Cooperation, Innovation, and Information: The Bush Administration Renews the Federal Commitment .pdf [51 KB]
    • Chapter 11. Rural Amenities, Global Economy, and the Environment: The Clinton Administration Confronts the New Paradigms .pdf [97 KB]

  • Conclusion: One Hundred Years of Rural Development Policy
    Anne B. W. Effland
    .pdf [42 KB]

  • Appendix Table: 100 Years of Federal Programs for Rural Development Anne B. W. Effland .pdf [41 KB]


Photo: Rural Community Development

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  • The report describes and assesses Federal rural development policy and programs during the 20th century, focusing on trends of change and continuity. Definitions of rurality and characteristics of rural populations and economies changed dramatically over these years. Yet policy challenges such as chronic rural poverty, structural change in agriculture, and increasingly competitive global trade marked debate and program development throughout the century. Administratively, although programs relied heavily on Federal funding throughout the period, leadership and initiative in program development progressively devolved to a partnership among public and private enterprises and multiple levels of government.

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