Abstract

During World War II, American agriculture grappled with labor shortages while being expected to produce more for the military and the home front. Historians have studied the use of labor sources such as migrant workers and the Women's Land Army during this time, but the Victory Farm Volunteers, a program of the federal US Crop Corps, have been largely overlooked, despite the numbers of urban youth who participated. This study examines the program as it was carried out in the states of the Great Plains, particularly its relationship to 4-H and its impact on farm production goals during the war and in the immediate postwar era.

“Join us on the farm front,” “Work on a Farm This Summer,” “Going Our Way?” During World War II, a parade of slogan-covered posters and pamphlets urged teenagers living in towns and cities to join the Victory Farm Volunteers (VFV). It was the patriotic thing to do, and American agriculture desperately needed these workers to shore up an increasing shortage in the farm labor sector. Despite bucolic poster images of a young woman holding an overflowing basket of produce or a boy happily hoisting garden implements over his shoulder, the work was demanding and as varied as the regions and types of food production that represented American agriculture. For this study, the VFV program will be examined as it relates to agriculture on the Great Plains and the role teenage boys and girls played as part of the nation's farm front.

During the war years, agricultural workers were a diverse lot. Historians have studied the use of migrant labor—particularly the bracero program—the use of prisoners of war, Japanese American internees' labor, and the Women's Land Army (WLA). Little attention, however, has been given to the Victory Farm Volunteers program, although its membership was double that of the WLA. In part, it has been overlooked because the participants were children and teenagers whose home-front activities such as collecting scrap metal or milkweed pods are often referred to collectively, without any special attention to youngsters' VFV involvement. Its lack of notice also rests on the nonfarm background of the volunteers. It stands in conflict with the public's idealized image of farm-reared children and adolescents working alongside parents. This conception, firmly fixed in the nineteenth century, held true into the twentieth, despite a changing rural landscape.1

Farm communities dwindled in population in the early 1900s as the United States became more industrial and urban. Homesteads were abandoned during the Dust Bowl years. World War II further reconfigured agriculture and rural communities. Men and women left for the service or migrated to jobs in war plants, leaving a greatly reduced labor force to carry out the federal government's call for more acreage put into production and higher yields. Teenagers in towns and cities were asked to step up and fill the labor gap. They were inexperienced and knew little if anything about farming or ranching, but they could lend a hand. In fact, these teenagers were essential, but they have become a passing reference or footnote in the history of American agriculture during World War II.

One of the few reminders today of the VFV are the recruitment posters. Their images suggest that youngsters were simply taking their summer vacation in the country, enjoying fresh air and sunshine while they did a little hoeing or gathered garden vegetables. The work they performed was far more than that. Although the volunteers may not have fully understood what awaited them when they signed on for farm work, they heard the message that food was essential to the war effort and that severe shortages were a continuing possibility. Everyone experienced rationing, but beyond that fact of life, the agricultural and popular media made it clear that a dire situation faced farmers, fruit and vegetable growers, livestock, and dairy producers. Everyone in agriculture was told to produce more, not only for the military and for home-front consumption but also for America's Lend-Lease allies. In fact, one-third of US food production in 1943 was scheduled to go overseas to America's fighting forces and to England, Russia, China, and “a few lesser countries.” A commentator in Kansas warned of a “food shortage that will cripple the war program and threaten the stability of the Nation.” Agriculturists around the country agreed. If all sectors of agriculture did not increase production, the failure would create a “catastrophe” at home and abroad.2

An obstacle to expanding production was finding enough workers. During the 1942 harvest season, “the air was full of reports of farm labor shortages.” In South Dakota, one hundred boys left their classrooms to help save the sugar beet crop near Belle Fourche, and in the eastern part of the state, city residents took time off from their jobs and businesses to work the corn harvest. In neighboring Montana, sugar beet field labor was in such short supply that Governor Sam C. Ford asked President Franklin D. Roosevelt to send two thousand US Army troops to bring in the crop; when that was refused, about twenty-five hundred men, women, and children from businesses, factories, and schools volunteered. Shortages experienced on the Great Plains in 1942 were a sign of things to come.3

During the years of the Great Depression there were too many unemployed farmworkers. Now, there were not enough to supply the demand. “My Kingdom for a Good Hired Hand,” cried a Kansas Farmer article. Between December 1941 and December 1942, an estimated 1.6 million men and women left agriculture for military service or for higher-paying jobs in war industries. Government officials expected another 1.5 million would be lost in 1943. Draft deferments kept some men home, but many who could have taken a deferment enlisted instead. Few were influenced by the spate of Hollywood movies addressing the labor shortage, including Song of the Open Road (1944), in which teenage actress Jane Powell helped young people harvest crops in California, or The Eve of St. Mark (1944), which portrayed young farmers who planned to enlist but were persuaded to stay home where they were most needed. It is also unlikely that propaganda posters picturing muscular young farmers as “soldiers of the soil” had an impact. Despite being told that farming was as important as military service, enlistment was chosen over the farm front. Joining a branch of the service made them feel truly in the fight, and many a young man worried about what “the neighbors would think” if they did not sign up. In rural communities, families' reputations and status came from how they were regarded by those around them. Hard feelings or suspicions about a family whose sons had deferments during World War I lingered and were not forgotten in the 1940s when young men made the decision to stay or join the military.4

Certainly not every man had a choice. In fact, both state officials and leaders in agriculture complained that the Selective Service Bureau failed to allow enough deferments and too easily changed a man's status to draft eligible. After the harvest of 1943, Kansas draft boards began to review more than sixty-five thousand farm deferments with the intention of reassigning men, especially if they were under the age of twenty-six. Colorado governor John C. Vivian was so concerned with the loss of farm labor in his state that he attempted to halt induction of all Colorado farm laborers. The idea caught on in Texas where the National Agricultural Council organized to support “blanket” deferments covering all farm labor. Meanwhile, Vivian appealed to Secretary of War Henry Stimson to release Colorado farmworkers already in the military and still in the United States. Stimpson refused, although the military did sometimes furlough soldiers for short periods in places where their help was needed during spring planting and fall harvest.5

This was not enough. Nor were the thousands of conscientious objectors who took up farm work rather than serve in the military or the migrant workers brought in each year from Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, Barbados, and the Bahamas. In a plan to alleviate the shortages, Kansas, New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota were among the twelve western states to support a farm labor draft and issue men uniforms “to show they are as important in total war as the Marines at Guadalcanal.” Secretary of Agriculture Claude R. Wickard rejected the idea, but that failed to stop Kansas governor Payne Ratner from proposing that if the government would not draft men into agricultural work, it should conscript high school and college students. Ratner found support from other governors and from agricultural leaders, but Paul V. McNutt, head of the War Manpower Commission, told the House Agricultural Committee that he disliked terms such as labor draft and labor conscription. The entire idea raised “certain constitutional questions” when most of the potential draftees were minors still in school and under the legal guardianship of parents or a court-appointed adult. There was also an unpleasant whiff of Japanese and German forced-labor camps about the suggestion. No one wanted comparisons made to Japanese work camps holding Allied prisoners of war or German labor camps filled with civilians from occupied countries. (A year earlier Russia's hard-labor camps staffed by Soviet citizens might have been included in this list, but in 1942, the Soviet Union was America's ally and receiving Lend-Lease aid.)6

The idea of bringing young people into the farm labor market was not entirely off the mark. It was a question of how to do it in a democratic society. By 1942 a few states already had some youth organizations providing intermittent farm labor, and the federal government had begun to formulate a plan based on the model of the Volunteer Land Corps in Vermont. The corps was organized by American journalist and radio broadcaster Dorothy Thompson, a well-known and influential figure expelled from Nazi Germany in 1934 for her articles denouncing Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist party. Thompson's idea for the Vermont corps has been attributed to what she knew about the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) of the 1930s, but it is just as likely that she borrowed from the British, who formulated several “unofficial and semi-official schemes for engagement of schoolchildren and undergraduates in agricultural work.” A number of schools “adopted” local farms, sending pupils to help during critical periods or on weekends for gardening, chicken-plucking, and rat-killing chores. One special farm-training school opened for teenage boys evacuated from the bombing in London, and the government's Schoolboy Harvest Camps Advisory Committee established camps for teenage workers.7

Keenly aware of what was happening in Europe as well as Great Britain's determined resistance to German invasion, Thompson expressed deep concerns that the United States was not ready militarily or on the home front. Ironically, on the same day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, bringing America into the war, the New York Times carried an article in which Thompson outlined her plan for “youth to work in [the] fields of Vermont.” The following summer, the plan went into action with 610 students working on farms in Vermont and a few in New Hampshire. The pay was twenty-one dollars a month, with room and board, and Thompson stressed that these “American youths . . . aren't regimented or drafted into Nazi-style labor battalions.” Thompson hoped to see the plan adopted nationally, but the corps was privately funded and its “dynamic possibilities,” said Thompson, would be realized only if the federal government took over funding and organization.8

On April 29, 1943, Congress passed Public Law 45, establishing the Emergency Farm Labor Program and giving the Extension Service under the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) the responsibility of recruiting, transporting, and placing adult workers such as the migrant labor force. As importantly, the Extension Service was directed to work with the US Office of Education to recruit workers for the new US Crop Corps and its programs, the Women's Land Army and the Victory Farm Volunteers. The VFV was for boys and girls living in towns and cities. They would work in the country for the three summer months—and a fourth if their high schools agreed to push back school starting dates in the fall. Officially, the program accepted volunteers from fourteen to eighteen years of age, but a handful of states lowered the age limit to as young as nine. Unlike Thompson's Vermont corps, whose members were white and mostly from a socially and economically privileged group of college students enrolled in schools such as Vassar, Columbia University, and New York University, VFV welcomed workers of all races, ethnicities, and social classes. Following guidelines from the US Children's Bureau, an agency under the US Department of Labor, officials discouraged racial and ethnic discrimination, but recruitment posters featured only white teenagers, and extension agents anticipated prejudices, sometimes asking farmers if they objected to hiring African American, Jewish, or female workers. Scout troops and members of church youth organizations were encouraged to join as a group. This not only increased recruitment numbers but also gave youngsters a sense of the familiar when working beside people they knew. Parents or guardians had to give their consent, and the teenage laborers were promised pay that varied widely based on prevailing wages in a local area, the type of job being done, and farmers' desperation for help. The US Crop Corps hoped to have five hundred thousand volunteers in 1943.9

Putting the Extension Service in charge was a logical choice. Each of the forty-eight states and territories of Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico had a director of extension, and almost every county in the United States had an extension office with a local agent. Since state and county extension offices knew the needs of their respective states, they were charged with coordinating with local branches of the US Employment Service, area schools, and farmers for recruitment, placement, and supervision. Frederic B. Knight, director of the School of Education and Applied Psychology at Purdue University, agreed to serve as acting director of the VFV during its organizational phase. When that was completed, Knight turned over the reins to Irvin H. Schmitt, one-time superintendent of schools in Davenport, Iowa. Assisting Schmitt at the national level was Kenneth W. Ingwalson, 4-H state club leader for New Jersey; Nancy Blaine, a one-time staff member of the Volunteer Land Corps in Vermont; and three men who traveled in assigned regions helping states get programs underway.10

The federal Extension Service worked with private organizations such as the Boy and Girl Scouts, the YMCA and YWCA, the National Catholic Welfare Conference, and National Jewish Welfare Board. The service hoped that these groups would act as recruiters and allow the VFV use of any campgrounds they owned. The Chicago Board of Jewish Education, for example, allowed Jewish volunteers use of one of its summer camps while the teenagers worked on farms around Des Plaines, Illinois, and scouting groups preferred that their members stay in scout-owned camps. The Extension Service also consulted with federal entities, including the Office of Education and the US Children's Bureau. For the Children's Bureau, this was an opportunity to have a voice in an area where it had been unable to overcome congressional resistance to labor legislation and unable to counter the farm lobby's argument that child labor laws aimed at migrant workers adversely affected youngsters working on the family farm with their parents. The bureau could not hope to change attitudes when the country was at war and needed youngsters in the fields, but it saw a way to insert itself and influence the VFV program. As a result, the Extension Service and US Crop Corps accepted the bureau's guidelines recommending the number of hours in a workday (six hours for fourteen- and fifteen-year-olds, eight hours for sixteen- to eighteen-year-olds, and no more than ten hours for combined work and transportation), provisions for break times, and access to toilet facilities and a clean water supply. The bureau asked that state and local child welfare and health officers inspect work sites to ensure that workers were not exploited and that health standards were upheld. Neither the Extension Service nor the US Crop Corps could promise that the guidelines would be followed on state or local levels, and the bureau conceded that the “standards developed for urban youth in agriculture have no legal status.” Yet there was general compliance, as the bureau learned from its investigators who also noted that the guidelines were not applied to non-VFV youth such as migratory child workers. Their substandard living and working conditions remained much the same as when the bureau began studying these workers in the 1920s.11

In preparation for their jobs as VFV recruiters, county extension agents received posters, pamphlets, and a kit of materials containing generic news stories, radio scripts, and advertisements that could be adapted for local circumstances as agents saw fit. Agents were told to give informational talks at schools, churches, civic clubs, and women's organizations. The primary points of these presentations were the importance of agriculture and patriotic duty, made all the more essential when “our fathers, sons and hired men have been called to fight.” A secondary message addressed the side benefits associated with the VFV. Youngsters would be in the fresh country air. They would develop “a deeper appreciation for farm people,” learn self-sufficiency, and develop a strong work ethic. Youngsters usefully occupied in farm work would be less likely to engage in acts of juvenile delinquency, which the Children's Bureau warned was on the rise as “a natural function of war.” These public presentations made the point that both rural communities and town youths stood to benefit from VFV involvement.12

Newspaper stories reiterated the message along with articles bemoaning the continuing labor shortage. Advertisers picked up the refrain as companies found ways to connect themselves and their products to patriotic support of the war effort. Advertisements for the Storz Brewery in Omaha, for instance, asked, “Won't you aid in relieving the farm labor shortage?” This was not a direct appeal to boys and girls, but it highlighted the need for workers, as did a Campbell Soup Company advertisement that thanked “the many high school students who pitched in to help pick and pack the 1944 food crop.” The Campbell advertisement did not specifically mention the VFV, but Pillsbury Flour pointedly tied its product to VFV participation with an advertisement carrying the message, “Plan your vacation now—work on a farm this summer.”13

The Extension Service used print and radio to get out the word. To supplement public presentations, extension offices could request as an audiovisual aid the film Youth Farm Volunteers (1943). Produced by the Office of War Information with Dorothy Thompson as a film consultant, the movie managed to be part documentary and part propaganda. It explained the need for laborers and how the Extension Service placed youngsters, but along with facts, there was a good dose of happy farm scenes in which smiling, determined youngsters fed chickens, milked cows, oiled farm machinery, hitched horses to plows, and built fences. In one scene, a teacher tells her students: “Since we all want to win the war, perhaps taking a farm job may be the best thing you can do.” The film ended with patriotic music as the words “See Your Principal” flashed on the screen. Besides its use by extension agents, the film was distributed to movie theaters and shown along with war news and home-front “shorts.”14

Responses to the VFV plan varied. The Pierce County, Nebraska, newspaper enthusiastically announced formation of the volunteers and urged young people to “offer your services now.” On the other hand, reaction was cautious among the folks around Paris, Texas. That town's newspaper made it clear farmers would rather the government import more migrant workers but conceded that in some Texas counties “where the need justifies and it is desired by farmers” the VFV would be recruited and trained. Local needs—not federal officials—would decide, said the paper.15 A North Platte, Nebraska, newspaper was matter-of-fact when it summed up the new federal answer to the labor shortage and the skepticism both WLA and VFV volunteers faced:

A recruitment program rivaling that of the armed services will soon be in full swing. Its purpose is to raise an army of farm workers—three and a half million strong. A half million of these volunteers in the battle of food production will be high school and college students. . . . Farmers don't like to have amateurs under foot but a great many of them know that much depends this year on the volunteer army.16

It was no surprise that farmers resisted the VFV program. Eighty-five percent of the five thousand farmers and farm leaders queried by a national survey in 1943 believed that it was a mistake to encourage town dwellers to work on farms. They would be “useless,” damage equipment and crops, endanger livestock, injure themselves, and leave when the work became too strenuous. Rural versus town prejudices rose to the surface. From the rural perspective, town kids were soft, unwilling to learn, and very possibly juvenile delinquents who would bring nothing but trouble to farm communities. Only the desperate need for labor swayed some farmers to take VFV youth. Others showed more acceptance after they had assurances that there would be some pre-training and after they saw the volunteers actually at work. In 1944 the Consumers' Guide, published by the War Food Administration, noted that “the good work that boys and girls have done has tended to overcome this prejudice” against inexperienced workers.17

VFV organizers had expected some reluctance on the part of farmers, but agricultural leaders were blindsided by the “hornet's nest of opposition among educators and parents” that appeared in Denver and surrounding towns. It was not the fact that untrained youngsters were being recruited; a year earlier, a locally organized Junior Victory Army, aged fourteen and older, were paid to leave their town neighborhoods and work on farms near Denver. The criticism in 1943 was aimed at what adults saw as “a direct copy of Hitler's schemes for regimenting the youth of Axis countries.” One school principal emphatically insisted that his school would not cooperate, and other principals made little effort to recruit students, especially after it became known that a local organizer wanted to distribute symbolic armbands. This was too much for adults who saw the armbands as a replication of the swastika-emblazoned armbands worn by Hitler Youth. This did not completely derail the program in the Denver area, however. “The youth labor of Denver responded mostly on their own initiative,” reported A. J. Hamman, state supervisor of the Emergency Farm Labor Program, and the controversy had little impact on the rest of the state, which by the end of 1943 had 8,696 VFV members.18

Occasionally, students expressed reluctance too. Working on a farm or in the harvest fields might be the patriotic thing to do, but there were other employment opportunities. A survey of students in Oklahoma City found that most said they would not go to the country when they could earn up to one hundred dollars a month at jobs in town. In the absence of adult men and women who joined the military or took jobs in war plants, teenagers nationwide found full or part-time employment in retail and service sectors that offered shorter hours and bigger paychecks than farm labor. Between 1940 and 1944, the number of working teenagers rose from 1 million to 2.9 million. In both Oklahoma and Kansas, agricultural leaders reported difficulties attracting harvest workers when wages were only $10 a day with room and board; and near Dallas, school officials refused to release students from class to pick cotton. While it was true that cotton was an essential fiber for both the military and home-front consumer, allowing students time off to earn only five dollars a day in backbreaking work hardly seemed worth taking them away from their studies.19

Farm work was not for everyone, but tens of thousands of youngsters answered the VFV call. Their assignments fell into three categories. There were the “live-ins” who stayed in the homes of farm families, working side by side with the farm family. Only about one in five volunteers were in this category; the boys did jobs expected of a hired man, and the girls did domestic chores that presumably freed experienced farm women to work in the fields. Live-in help was the only alternative for isolated farms and ranches that could not be reached with “day-hauls.” This second category of workers made up almost 80 percent of the VFV workforce, which was transported daily by buses or farm trucks to a work site and then returned to their homes in town at night. One day-haul, Maydelle Meier, spent two summers being picked up, along with about thirty other volunteers in Portales, New Mexico. Transported to various sites, they worked eight- to ten-hour days pulling broom corn, digging sweet potatoes, and windrowing peanuts. Meier and her coworkers received twenty-five cents a day, and thirty-five cents when the produce was tomatoes. Despite the long days and little pay, Meier later said that she did it because it “felt good to support the war effort.”20

Camps were the last category of placement. They were set up in a number of places—school gymnasiums, former CCC camps, Grange halls, Scout and church campgrounds, and camps intended only for migrant workers. A Colorado camp consisted of old tents discovered in a Farm Security Administration warehouse. Operating more like youth summer camps than the military-style Depression-era CCC camps, VFV camps were not widely used. Between 1943 and 1945, only about 4 percent of all VFV lived in them. The number further dwindled between 1946 and 1947, the year the program ended. Camps were costly and difficult to maintain, and those with both boys and girls required extra supervision. North Dakota and Wyoming never opened camps, and the remaining Plains states mirrored the national average with low overall placements. For some states, camps were unsuccessful experiments. Kansas, for instance, closed its camps after the first year, and other states reduced the number of “campers” until the facilities closed altogether. Nebraska was a good example of this decline. In 1943 there were 227 boys and 49 girls in Nebraska camps. In 1944 there were only ten boys in a camp, and by 1947 the state had no camps.21

To the casual observer it might seem that youngsters were plopped down in the country without any preparation. Some were, but organizers knew that the VFV would fail if there was no training and no thought given to safety measures. Agricultural work was one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States, and mechanization made it more so. By 1945 the annual rate of accidental farm deaths was between fifteen thousand and seventeen thousand. Machinery most responsible for injury accidents and accidental deaths were tractors, combines, and corn pickers. Of course, mechanization could not be blamed for every accident. Even experienced workers might accidently fall off a wagon, get kicked by a horse, chop toes with a hoe, or tumble off a ladder.22

The Extension Service was acutely aware of safety issues. Some states had laws regarding the safe transportation of day workers and inspection of work camps by state boards of health. In a few states, day-hauls employed by commercial growers were automatically insured under worker compensation. While these statutes were intended to apply to migrant workers, they applied equally to VFV labor. Some states required both employees and employers to carry insurance; others did not. Farmers were cautioned to make sure they had liability insurance because a VFV worker was “no different from that of other workers whom he employs.” If a youngster was hurt or killed, as was a fourteen-year-old Illinois VFV boy who died after falling from a farmer's truck, the employer was liable. At the same time, youngsters were encouraged, but not forced, to buy insurance. In the spring of 1943, there were sixty-five insurance companies working with the government to offer special accident policies to VFV members. For a cost of $4 for three months, policies would pay up to $250 for an accident claim, $500 for loss of life, and up to $1,000 for loss of limb or sight. The number of accidental injuries or deaths is unknown. Workers, or more accurately their parents, did not purchase policies in significant numbers, and without claims to report, there was no way to gain some sense of how many youngsters were hurt or killed other than local reports that might or might not find their way to the national VFV office. A 1951 history of the Emergency Farm Labor Supply Program rather tersely noted, “On the whole, the accident-prevention record [for VFV] . . . was excellent [and] probably due to the safety education program, supervision, and training” students received.23

A report from Greeley, Colorado, agreed, observing that “painstaking preparations and supervision” resulted in “no accidents or ill effects from this work.” In fact, training and supervision were essential if problems, including such occupational hazards as sunburn and strained muscles, were to be avoided. Farmers were the backbone of on-site supervision, but foremen at large commercial sites, WLA supervisors, and both male and female extension agents were known to act as supervisors. They were expected to step in if they thought workers were being exploited or if youngsters were careless in their work. In this last regard, supervisors might also be involved in training that generally fit into five categories: (1) on-the-job training provided after youngsters arrived at a work site; (2) pre-placement visits with a general orientation regarding the volunteers' duties; (3) classes provided by extension agents; (4) basic home economics classes provided by home extension agents for girls going to live in farm homes; and (5) formal classes in schools. The High School Victory Corps (HSVC), developed by the Office of Education in collaboration with other federal agencies, offered in-school training for military, manufacturing, and agricultural service. In 1943 US Commissioner of Education John W. Studebaker urged the HSVC chapters to stress the VFV. HSVC students choosing this option would receive physical fitness training and vocational/agricultural instruction from school-employed teachers. Physical conditioning, noted one instructor, would “harden the workers . . . so that their breaking-in period will be less difficult and shorter.” In schools without an HSVC, similar instruction occurred. Both boys and girls were taught safe practices around farm animals, correct use of farm tools, and how to operate farm machinery. Local newspapers underscored the training with stories like that published in a Montana newspaper that told of boys and girls learning to operate equipment through “actual field training.” Although there was training of “varying degrees and quality,” ultimately the farmers “will necessarily be the Master Craftsman who will instruct amateurs in the different skilled operations that go into farming,” noted a Nebraska newspaper, adding an assurance that such training was proving to be successful in the British Women's Land Army.24

To supplement their training, volunteers might be provided with informational booklets published by the US Extension Service in Washington or by state agencies. Some such as Safety First in Kansas Farming dealt with a specific topic, while others such as Living and Working on a Farm, published by the University of Illinois College of Agriculture and adopted by fifteen other states, gave would-be volunteers a broad idea of what to expect. Classroom instruction or on-site training, along with reading material, would have to do. There was not enough time, wrote C. Ward Crampton, a physician, scientist, and regular contributor to Boys' Life magazine, to “harden up and prepare” volunteers with weeks of basic training as done in the military. Young people, he added, had to take responsibility for their physical fitness and mental readiness. Crampton advised that their preparations be “quick, straight and scientific.”25

The VFV program did not include youngsters working on their own family's farms or ranches. It did not cover migrant child laborers or town students who lent a hand in the fields for a few days. Nor did it count rural youngsters enrolled in 4-H or Future Farmers of America (FFA) or New Farmers of America (NFA), an organization much like FFA but meant for African American youngsters in segregated America. Members of 4-H, FFA, and NFA provided much-needed labor in fields, orchards, and gardens while they also participated in their organizations' sponsored war bond sales, scrap drives, and food and clothing conservation programs. The national 4-H campaign to “Feed a Fighter” pushed club members to expand their projects in livestock, poultry, and gardening with the goal of every 4-H'er feeding one person in the armed services for a year. It was an almost unobtainable goal, but data from twenty-three south and southeastern Kansas counties showed that 4-H members managed to produce enough to feed twenty-seven hundred soldiers in one year. Some state campaigns like that in Texas broadened the challenge with a slogan encouraging 4-H'ers to “Feed and Clothe a Fighter and Myself.” FFA and NFA chapters went in another direction by using their studies in vocational training to repair farm machinery at a time when parts were difficult to find and buying new equipment was near impossible after the USDA ordered farm equipment rationing in 1942. Factories were geared to build planes and tanks, not tractors and combines.26

Despite the organizational boundaries between the VFV and other rural-related programs, the lines sometimes blurred. In Colorado the state 4-H leader C. W. Ferguson also headed up the VFV program, as did Montana's state 4-H leader, R. E. “Scotty” Cameron, and New Mexico's W. W. Wilson. Four-H made a good VFV partner. Club leaders had experience working with young people and knew rural living. Many state and county 4-H leaders around the nation cooperated with the US Crop Corps by either personally taking a role in supervision and recruitment or approving policies that encouraged local 4-H clubs to train town kids and allowed VFV youngsters to participate in 4-H activities that gave them a sense of being part of the local community. Many FFA and NFA chapters also assumed the role of educators, helping VFV members “become acquainted with farm life.” In its 1943 annual report, the Kansas Association of the FFA noted that its members had helped acclimate VFV youngsters on 720 Kansas farms. The Hiawatha, Kansas, FFA chapter explained its role: “We have school on Saturday for town boys. They are taught work on the farm, such as harnessing horses, driving a tractor, milking cows and many other jobs.” By war's end in 1945, the national FFA association reported that a total of 41,804 VFV workers nationwide were assisted by FFA chapters. NFA members, according to one report, trained twenty-two thousand while another report placed the number at just over thirty thousand. The majority were in the southern states, but with chapters in Oklahoma and Texas, an unspecified number of African American high schoolers received instruction from NFA members in those states.27

VFV youth could purchase shirts, jackets, and overalls bearing the VFV emblem from the same service that supplied 4-H'ers their gear, but workers were not required to buy or wear identifying clothing. This made it difficult to know who was a VFV worker and who had simply come out to help in an emergency, as when “several hundred youths” in Scotts Bluff County, Nebraska, “most of them without farm experience,” rushed to the fields and in a few short days “saved” thousands of acres of beans. How many were VFV workers was not recorded, as they labored side by side with nonmembers. It was the same in North Dakota when the harvest of 1943 required all able-bodied persons to head for the fields. There were 27,780 VFV youngsters in the state, with almost an equal number of boys and girls not in the VFV, but these were not enough. In every county, businessmen and storekeepers, homemakers living in towns, and students were urged to “to drop whatever” they were doing and help in the North Dakota harvest. VFV workers were not distinguishable from the youngsters who came with their parents or teachers, and in many situations, they were outnumbered. As one example, VFV boys and girls were in the minority when compared to the number of other students (including children of grade-school age) who picked tomatoes near Rocky Ford, Colorado, saving the 1943 harvest, which then translated into “thousands of quarts of tomato juice and canned tomatoes” for home- front and military use.28

In its evaluation of the VFV program after its first year of operation, the Extension Service concluded: “Not all communities have employed youth labor successfully, and sometimes farmers, as well as youth, have been dissatisfied.” There was room for improvement. The service wanted to see more pre-training after it became clear that too many volunteers received instruction only after placement. The selection process also required a closer look. In its push to recruit volunteers, the service asked students to complete questionnaires but too often skimmed over their answers about health, skills, job experiences, and reasons for joining. Too often recruiters overlooked VFV recommendations that volunteers have a medical examination before going to work. Young people who should have been disqualified at the beginning were not. Everyone involved in the VFV, including farmers, learned as they went along. Dissatisfaction was bound to happen. On the other hand, said the service, “many farmers have found youth as efficient as their usual hired help.” Citing one example, it noted: “Farmers in New Mexico . . . say they do not know what they would have done without youth in 1943.” This was the overall consensus. Whether farmers grudgingly accepted VFV workers or wholeheartedly welcomed them, speaking “highly of their spirit and their industry,’’ there was no doubt that produce and crops would have been left in the field if not for the teenage volunteers.29

During the 1943 harvest season, the VFV on the Great Plains made noticeable contributions. Kansas boys and girls harvested 10 percent of the almost 145 million bushels of wheat brought in that year, and VFV workers in Nebraska shocked 110,000 acres of grain. In Montrose County, Colorado, VFV took care of practically all the onion harvest, brought in bean and fruit crops, and did a “good share of potato picking.” Reports from Las Animas County, Colorado, noted that 145 VFV boys and girls “did an exceptionally fine job” in the sugar beet fields after which about 80 of the workers were transported daily by the Sugar Company to New Mexico to work the sugar beets in the Maxwell area. Enthusiastically, the USDA celebrated these “soldiers of the soil . . . [who,] wearing dungarees, overalls, or just plain old clothes as their uniforms[,] went to war against the farm labor shortage.”30

In 1943 the US Crop Corps, under the Extension Service, got the five-hundred thousand youth volunteers it hoped for, but it wanted more in 1944. It called for 1.4 million young people to join the VFV because production goals for 1944 had risen. The War Food Administration's monthly magazine Consumers' Guide announced in May 1944 that the new goal for agriculture was to have 380 million acres in production, an increase of 19 million acres above the 1943 amount. Again, the VFV was badly needed, but the program could not rely on getting back all workers from the previous year, despite positive press coverage and VFV testimonials like that from a Montana boy who said he would gladly volunteer at the same farm again “if the farmer's wife will promise to continue making . . . huge stacks of pancakes with plenty of syrup.” In the broader scheme of things, older teenagers aged out of the program, and there were an untold number who were still eligible but had done their patriotic bit and would not return for a repeat. Some young people found the work too difficult and the physical demands too great, while others, primarily the live-ins, did not adjust well to rural living or missed their homes and families. Another obstacle to VFV recruitment occurred in state and county extension offices. When county agents were called up for military service, their positions were left vacant, occasionally filled by people with no experience, or filled by home demonstration agents who, noted a Kansas commentator, did “double duty” as both home and farm extension agents.31

Despite circumstances that might have adversely affected the VFV program, 1944 marked the peak of VFV enrollment, totaling 903,794. This was more than double the number of volunteers in the WLA that year (413,083). It was greater than the number of foreign migrant workers (84,340) and the number of prisoner-of-war laborers (102,000), although the latter would increase in 1945 when more prisoners arrived in American camps. In the Plains states, VFV numbers were mixed, not always reflecting the upward trend seen elsewhere. Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming had fewer VFVs in 1944. With the exception of Texas, which had about 40,000 less (going from over 115,000 in 1943 to 76,370 in 1944), the decrease in the other states was anywhere from about 10 to 1,000. Only Kansas and Oklahoma experienced an increase. Kansas saw a modest rise from 5,466 to 6,768, but Oklahoma's surge from 19,686 in 1943 to 34,188 in 1944 was staggering, with little to explain the rise, although it is possible that youngsters whose families enrolled in Oklahoma's Victory Food Production Program were counted as VFV participants. All numbers must be viewed with some caution, especially when trying to make comparisons from state to state. A state's size, diversity in agricultural products, and population numbers were all factors affecting the number of available workers. So too was the way in which workers were counted and reported by state authorities. Some numbers represented actual counts, but some were estimates or represented all youth, not just VFV workers. Montana, for example, reported in Education for Victory magazine that the state had 22,000 VFV workers in 1943, but the Emergency Farm Labor Supply Program placed the number at 7,477. In the first instance, Montana officials counted not just VFV members but every student released from classes during planting and harvest seasons. The same sort of discrepancy was seen in Kansas. While federal accounting listed 5,466 VFV workers in 1943, Kansas Farmer magazine noted that the state extension office reported over 10,000 “nonfarm youths” employed that year. Both numbers may have been correct, but only one reflected VFV members.32

With liberation of Europe underway in 1944, Americans were told by government officials, particularly those in the USDA, that the nation's food production was “more important than ever.” The United States had to feed not only its citizens and military forces but also the starving people in countries being liberated by the Allies. President Harry S. Truman looked to the future and began to plan for food aid to Europe. The United States was one of the few countries situated to offer relief. The message that the United States had an obligation to feed the world reverberated after the war ended. Food and most everything else were rationed in Great Britain (rationing did not completely end until 1954). Tens of thousands of displaced persons in Europe had to be fed. People everywhere were starving, but the “worst situation . . . in every respect,” said former president Herbert Hoover, head of the Famine Emergency Committee, on his tour of twenty-three countries, was to be found in Poland. Famine threatened areas of the Far East. The Soviet Union experienced drought and famine in 1946–47. It would take time for countries to rebuild after the war, and until farm land was reclaimed and supply chains reestablished, it was up to the United States to step in.33

Tired of rationing, Americans were unsettled by the idea that they would be asked to “eat less to feed the world's hungry.” Not all supported the president's vision of food relief to foreign countries. Farmers and ranchers were in what the Extension Service called a “peculiar” period of transition. They were asked to keep up production numbers, but finding farm labor was still a problem. Not enough veterans and farmworkers returned to agriculture. The VFV was still needed. Recruitment materials praised boys and girls for helping “win the war by doing farm work.” Now, they could “help clinch the peace.” The VFV would continue but in a somewhat modified form. In 1943 and 1944, recruitment was based largely on a patriotic appeal to help with the war effort. In the immediate postwar period, the emphasis shifted to fighting world hunger and an emphasis on the benefits of farm work as a way to earn money and develop skills for a vocation. Using funds allocated through the Smith-Hughes Act (1917) and the George-Deen Act (1936)—both of which sought to boost vocational education—the VFV's focus became vocational/agricultural training with an eye to creating a new generation of skilled farmworkers from the ranks of town and city youths who wanted to stay in agriculture after their VFV experiences. As one teenage boy explained it, “Being on a farm, I learned that you don't necessarily have to have a city job or be a clerk or be a mechanic to be happy.”34

The number of VFV workers declined after the war. This can be seen in all the Plains states, where, for example, Kansas had 3,309 volunteers in 1947, compared to almost 6,800 in 1944, and where Oklahoma's numbers dropped from 34,188 in 1944 to 10,631 in 1947. Although the numbers were down nationally, the program still attracted over 1 million teenagers across the span of 1946 and 1947. Irvin H. Schmitt, national VFV director, described VFV workers as a “convenient and important labor source,” and it was suggested in US Senate hearings that the volunteers, who proved their value in wartime, could make a “worthwhile contribution” as part of a permanent postwar labor program. Schmitt was doubtful, cautioning that VFV could not be sustained. It was not because young people had entirely lost interest. The VFV's support structure was fading. The program had relied on schools and youth-oriented organizations for recruitment and training, but with American agriculture no longer on a wartime footing, high schools discontinued their Victory Corps, and private youth organizations returned to their familiar club activities. The USDA Extension Service also redirected efforts toward extensions' original intent of educating and working with farmers and ranchers as farming methods evolved in mid-century.35

In the final analysis, the VFV program was born out of necessity. It had its drawbacks, but it was not a slap-dash operation. It was an option for dealing with the nation's critical shortage in farm labor. Federal agencies and their officials gave a great deal of thought to organizing and promoting the VFV. Otherwise, it would have failed in its first year. The Extension Service, US Crop Corps, and the farmers involved with the VFV generally agreed that youngsters in the VFV learned valuable life lessons, contributed “efficient help” to farmers, and “succeeded far beyond expectations.”36 Children and teenagers participated in almost every activity considered important to the war effort. They collected scrap metal and rubber, gathered milkweed pods, planted victory gardens, and bought war stamps and bonds. Members of the VFV probably did many of those things, but their participation on the farm front set them apart. Their contributions were considerable and came at a critical time. For three to four months every year, they weeded, topped, boxed, bundled, and harvested millions of bushels of agricultural produce that otherwise would have gone to ruin. Their farm-front work translated into food for the troops, Allies, and American consumers when it was so badly needed.

Notes

1.

The Victory Farm Volunteer program is briefly discussed in Hurt, Great Plains during World War II; and Litoff and Smith, “‘To the Rescue of the Crops.’” Stephanie A. Carpenter's On the Farm Front notes Dorothy Thompson's Vermont program in relation to its employment of young women but not its connection to VFV. References to Japanese American farmworkers may be found intermittently in numerous articles and books devoted to internment; for work detailing agriculture within the camps, see Lillquist, “Farming the Desert”; and Chiang, Nature behind Barbed Wire. Examples of the many studies of bracero and prisoner of war (POW) farm labor include Cohen, Braceros; Mize, Invisible Workers; Coronado Gamboa and Leonard, Mexican Labor and World War II; Heisler, “‘Other Braceros’”; and Ward, “‘Nazis Hoe Cotton.’” 

2.

“An Inkling of What We'll Pay,” Kansas Farmer, February 6, 1943, 7; Hurt, Problems of Plenty, 101–2; “Power and the Plow: Material to Be Utilized by Farm Labor Speakers in Kansas Talks, 1943,” in “The Great Plains during World War II,” http://plainshumanities.unl.edu/homefront/ (accessed August 9, 2021).

3.

Harry Schwartz, “Hired Farm Labor in World War II,” Journal of Farm Economics 24 (November 1942): 826; Karolevitz, “Life on the Home Front,” 410; Loken, “Montana during World War II,” 36.

4.

Walter W. Wilson, “The Wartime Use of Manpower on Farms,” Journal of Farm Economics 28 (August 1946): 723; “Farmers Must Perform a Miracle If Food Goals Are Met,” Kansas Farmer, March 4, 1944, 1; “Victory Farm Volunteers Announced,” Clearing House 17 (March 1943): 411; Shull and Witt, Hollywood War Films, 262; Jellison, “Get Your Farm in the Fight.” 

5.

“Farmers Must Perform a Miracle,” 1, 17; Hurt, Great Plains during World War II, 203; Litoff and Smith, “‘To the Rescue of the Crops.’” The author's father, who grew up on an Illinois farm, was furloughed while stationed at Pratt (KS) Army Airfield to help with the wheat harvest.

7.

Terry, “Century of Denying,” 69; “Youths Worked as Volunteers,” in Twenty-Ninth Annual Report of Cooperative Extension Work in Agriculture and Home Economics, State of Vermont, for the Year Ending June 30, 1944 (Burlington, VT: Agricultural Extension Service, University of Vermont and State Agricultural College, 1944), 5–7; Bushnell, “Dorothy Thompson's Army”; Moore-Colyer, “Kids in the Corn,” 186 (quotation), 190, 193–94. Thompson chose Vermont because she had a home there.

8.

“Farm ‘Land Corps’ of Students Urged: Dorothy Thompson Outlines Plan for Youth to Work in Fields of Vermont,” New York Times, December 7, 1941; “Making Hay for Uncle Sam,” American Magazine, October 1942, 92.

10.

Hurt, Great Plains during World War II, 204; 1946 Supplement to the Code of the Federal Regulations of the United States of America (Washington, DC: Division of the Federal Register, National Archives, 1947), 1324–25; Rasmussen, History of the Emergency Farm Labor Program, 113–14, 135; “New VFV Members,” National 4-H Club News, September 1943, 20.

11.

Youth Lend a Hand: Victory Farm Volunteers, USDA, Agricultural War Information no. 116 (August 1945), 3; Terry, “Century of Denying,” 74; “Youth-Serving Agencies Cooperate in Safeguarding Nonfarm Youth in Agriculture,” The Child 8 (May 1944): 175; Thirty-Fourth Annual Report of the Chief, Children's Bureau to the Secretary of Labor, for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1946 (Washington, DC: Children's Bureau, US Department of Labor, 1946), 95 (quotation). Guidelines are detailed in Policies on Recruitment of Young Workers for Wartime Agriculture, US Children's Bureau, policy paper no. 6 (March 1942). For the Jewish summer camp, see Roth, Looking Backward, 121; and “Chicago Jewish Boys,” Jewish Post, November 19, 1943. The Children's Bureau paid particular attention to migrant child labor in the nation's beet fields. For one discussion of this concern, see Mapes, Sweet Tyranny, 166–70.

12.

Farm Work for City Youth, USDA Extension Service Program Aid No. 27 (April 1947), 24; Sheflin, Legacies of Dust, 207; Federal Housing Authority, Youth Programs for FPHA Projects, National Housing Bulletin, May 15, 1943; Gilbert, Cycle of Outrage, 27.

13.

Jones, All-Out for Victory!, 95. Storz Brewing Co. ads appeared in several Nebraska newspapers; for one example, see “The Storz Brewing Company, Omaha, Nebraska,” North Platte (NE) Daily Bulletin, October 12, 1943.

14.

Youth Farm Volunteers, 1943, motion picture, Propaganda, Information, and Documentary Motion Picture Series, 1942–1945, Records of the Office of War Information, 1926–1951, RG 208, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, MD.

15.

“Wanted: Farm Volunteers for Victory!,” Pierce County (NE) Call, June 24, 1943; “Confer on Texas Farm Labor Plan,” Paris (TX) News, May 16, 1943.

16.

“Farm Labor Recruiting Starting Soon,” North Platte (NE) Daily Bulletin, March 25, 1943.

17.

“Farmers Fear Crop Shortages: Bare Reasons,” Stromberg (NE) Headlight, May 6, 1943; Lee Marshall, “Action on the Home Front,” Consumers' Guide, May 1944, 2.

18.

Hurt, Great Plains during World War II, 198; “Denver Area Fights U.S. Plan for Youth Farming Battalions,” Denver Post, May 5, 1942, http://plainshumanities.unl.edu/homefront/; Annual Report of A. J. Hamman, State Supervisor, Emergency Farm Labor Program, February 15, 1943 to December 15, 1943 (Fort Collins: Colorado State College and USDA, 1944), 43; Rasmussen, History of the Emergency Farm Labor Program, 143.

19.

“Teen-Age Youth in the Wartime Labor Force: Summary,” Monthly Labor Review 60 (January 1945): 5; Collins, Children, War and Propaganda, 47; “Agriculture,” in “The Great Plains during World War II,” http://plainshumanities.unl.edu.homefront.agriculture/ (accessed August 9, 2021).

20.

Irvin H. Schmitt, “VFV Showed Value of Farm Experience for Urban Youth,” Extension Service Review 17 (February 1946): 29; Maydelle Meier interview, November 21, 2009, Rural Living Project, New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, Research and Collections, http://oralhistory.frhm.org (accessed August 9, 2021).

21.

Terry, “Century of Denying,” 80; Annual Report of A. J. Hamman, 48; Rasmussen, History of Emergency Farm Labor Program, 125, 127, 130, 143.

23.

Farm Labor Program, 1943, Hearing before the Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Senate, 78th Cong. 1st sess, on H.J. Res. 96 . . . on Appropriations . . . Providing a Supply and Distribution of Farm Labor for the Calendar Year of 1943 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1943), 31; Rasmussen, History of Emergency Farm Labor Program, 131–32; “Victory Farm Workers Can Get Low Cost Insurance,” Creighton (NE) News, June 17, 1943; “Victory Farm Hand Killed,” Riverdale (IL) Pointer, September 2, 1943; “Reduction in Workers' Compensation Insurance Premiums for Farmers, Sept. 1943,” USDA file A 362.1943, box 2, University of Florida Digital Collections, George A. Smithers Libraries, ufdc.ufl.edu; Mr. Farmer Can You Use This Boy: He Is a Victory Farm Volunteer, Emergency Farm Labor Program Circular no. 571 (University of Illinois College of Agriculture, March 2, 1944), 6. The farm fatality was a boy from a Chicago neighborhood who joined VFV with other members of his Catholic Youth Organization.

24.

Colorado State Department of Public Welfare, Child Welfare Monthly News Letter, no. 82 (May 1944): 7; John W. Studebaker, “The Victory Farm Volunteers: A Plan for School Youth to Aid the War Program,” National Association of Secondary School Principals, March 1, 1943, 3; Farm Work for City Youth, 6, 16; F. W. Lathrop, “Non-farm Youth in Wartime Food Production,” Agricultural Education 15 (April 1943): 197; Rasmussen, History of Emergency Farm Labor Program, 135; Frances W. Valentine, Successful Practices in the Employment of Nonfarm Women on Farms in the Northeastern States, 1943, US Women's Bureau Bulletin no. 199 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1944): 16, 35; High School Victory Corps, Victory Corps Series pamphlet no. 1 (Federal Security Agency, US Office of Education, June 21, 1944), x; “Life on the Homefront: Oregon Responds to World War II,” http://sos.oregon.gov/archives/exhibits/ww2/Pages/default.aspx (accessed August 9, 2021); Terry, “Century of Denying,” 69; “Victory Digest,” Stromberg (NE) Headlight, March 18, 1943.

25.

“Information Exchange Announces,” Education for Victory, March 3, 1944, 10; Kansas Safety Council, Safety First in Kansas Farming (Topeka: Kansas Safety Council, Farm Accident Prevention Committee, ca. 1942); University of Illinois College of Agriculture, Living and Working on a Farm: For High School Boys and Girls, in Cities and Towns (Springfield: Illinois Council for Defense, 1943); C. Ward Crampton, “Arms and the Farm,” Boys' Life, May 1943, 14.

26.

Sundgren, “Feeding Victory.” 7–10, 12–13, 16; “Wartime 4-H Support, World War II” and “Feed a Fighter,” http://4-hhistorypreservation.com (accessed August 9, 2021); “Agriculture,” in “Great Plains during World War II”; “Annual Report of the Kansas Association to the Sixteenth National Convention of Future Farmers of America, Kansas City, Mo., October 10–14, 1943,” in Kansas Future Farmer (N.p.: Kansas Association of Future Farmers of America, 1943), 13.

27.

“Many Youth Volunteer for Land Army,” National 4-H Club News, July 1943, 17; “Hold Two District Labor Conferences,” New Mexico Extension News, June 1943, 1; M. L. Wilson, “Pay Tribute to 4-H for Noble Deeds on the Home Front,” National 4-H Club News, December 1943, 12; “Annual Report of the Kansas Association,” 20; “Hiawatha,” in Kansas Future Farmer (N.p.: Kansas Association, Future Farmers of America, 1942), 14; Wolf and Connors, “Winning the War,” 117; “Young Farmers Help Nation's War Programs” and “Negro Youths Join Victory Farmers to Save War Crops,” Indianapolis Recorder, July 7, 1945; “Agricultural Services,” Education for Victory 3 (February 1945): 21. Education for Victory, published by the US Office of Education under the Federal Security Agency, replaced School Life magazine for duration of the war.

28.

“Victory Farm Volunteers and US Crop Corps,” http://4-hhistorypreservation.com (accessed August 9, 2021); “High School Youths Save Beans,” North Platte (NE) Telegraph, July 16, 1943; “Great Army Being Mobilized for Harvest,” Denver Post, June 6, 1943, in “The Great Plains during World War II”; Rasmussen, History of Emergency Farm Labor Supply Program, 127; Annual Report of A. J. Hamman, 48.

29.

VFV on the Farm Front, Extension Service miscellaneous pamphlet no. 542 (May 1944), 2; “Youth Lends a Hand,” Extension Service Review 18 (July 1947): 83; Colorado State Department of Public Welfare, Child Welfare Monthly News Letter, 7.

30.

Youth Lends a Hand, pamphlet no. 116, 1, 6; Report of Cooperative Extension Work in Agriculture and Home Economics (Washington, DC: USDA, War Food Administration, Extension Service, 1944), 4; Annual Report of A. J. Hamman, 49–50.

31.

Marshall, “Action on the Home Front,” 2; Terry, “Century of Denying,” 76; “Victory Farm Volunteers: Its Purpose and Functions,” Education for Victory, March 1, 1943, 4; Teagarden, History of Kansas Extension Service, 192.

32.

Terry, “Century of Denying,” 71; Rasmussen, History of Emergency Farm Labor Supply Program, 125, 127, 143; Nickels, “A Look Back”; “Curriculum Additions and Changes of Emphasis in Montana,” Education for Victory, September 1944, 3; “Farmers Must Perform a Miracle,” 17. Terry also notes on 71 that specific figures for Japanese American internee laborers were not available beginning in 1944 because some were released through “seasonal leave” programs and counted as part of the local labor supply.

33.

“Volunteer for Farm Work,” Pierce County (NE) Call, June 15, 1944; “Conquering World Hunger, 1946–1948,” National Archives and Records Administration, http://artsandculture.google.com; Ossian, “Grimmest Spectre.” 

34.

“Conquering World Hunger,” artsandculture.google.com; Schmitt, “VFV Showed Value of Farm Experience,” 29; Terry, “Century of Denying,” 82; Rasmussen, History of Emergency Farm Labor Supply Program, 133, 135; Farm Work for City Youth, 10.

35.

Terry, “Century of Denying,” 82; Rasmussen, History of Emergency Farm Labor Supply Program, 127, 130, 135; Schmitt, “VFV Showed Value of Farm Experience,” 29; Permanent Farm Labor Program, Hearing before the Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, United States Senate, Eightieth Congress, 1st sess. on S. 1334 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1947), 48.

36.

Farm Work for City Youth, 6, 29.

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