Expanding Agriculture: Problems and Policies
When James Wilson of Iowa became Secretary of Agriculture in 1897, the department functioned through two bureaus and eighteen divisions, offices, or sections. The chief burden of agricultural education has rested primarily with the states through the agricultural colleges, but the Department of Agriculture contributed significantly. Agricultural cooperatives generally developed more rapidly during periods of economic distress, but the movement after 1903 came in a period of prosperity. As with other branches of government, both federal and state, the regulatory functions of the Department of Agriculture increased rapidly after 1905. Undoubtedly the increased interest in farm credits was in part inspired by the shift of emphasis in the Department of Agriculture from production to marketing and other problems of farm economics. The features of the Federal Reserve Act just described were undoubtedly of real benefit to farmers. To help the defects an effort was made with the Federal Farm Loan Act of 1916.