Agricultural export promotion and economic structure : an historical perspective Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/rx913s16v

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  • The United States has had a long history of promoting agricultural exports, and the return to conditions of extreme surplus in many agricultural markets in recent years has revived interest in this topic. Some products received imperial bounties during our colonial era, but the systematic collection of trade statistics for the purpose of investigating agricultural export opportunities did not begin until 1883. In the early 1890's, agents were sent to Europe to promote the use of corn as a human food. With the entry of the United States into World War I, massive government shipments for relief purposes were authorized, and the value of commodities exported under government programs reached a similar magnitude during World War II. Since World War II, numerous government programs such as Section 32 subsidies, soft currency sales, long-term dollar credits, barter, disaster relief and short-term credit sales have been used to increase agricultural exports. However, the long-run implications of these increases deserve consideration. Research in the field of international economic development has indicated that the emphasis of primary product exports may retard beneficial structural change in small primary product oriented economies. Research to test the applicability of these theories to farm states with small populations seems justified in light of recent interest in economic development. Patterns of income growth in the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, Idaho and Arkansas, as well as four other small manufacturing states and seven large states were studied for evidence of structural change in response to increased agricultural exports. The evidence indicates that the large increases in agricultural export values seen since 1958 have speeded, not delayed, the process of structural change in the farm states. Consequently, the fear that increased exports will encourage a heightened dependence on agriculture in these states seems not to be borne out.
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