In the mid-twentieth century, both public and private US development agencies organized a variety of global agricultural development programs based on various interpretations of modernization theory. In much of the existing historical literature about modernization theory and practice, these public and private agencies are often seen as closely coordinating with each other to achieve both development goals and US global hegemony. This article questions how closely coordinated such efforts were through an analysis of Rockefeller Foundation interactions with other US-based agricultural modernization programs and activities in Colombia in the 1950s and 1960s. Where the Rockefeller Foundation promoted Colombian wheat production, the USDA and other US-based agencies criticized that production and instead promoted the importation of US-grown wheat through the PL 480 program. The article utilizes Rockefeller Foundation records to examine how disparate meanings of modernization manifested themselves in mundane conflicts. Seemingly petty squabbles among US development actors in Colombia reveal the contours of their distinct views of modernization and demonstrate the need for more analysis of the practice of modernization and development programs rather than just the theories that underlay them.

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