Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA)

  1. gave “parity payments” to farmers who agreed to limit production. The Act was designed to correct the imbalance between farm and nonfarm products and return purchasing power to pre-World War I levels. It met with only limited success. Production fell as intended (aided by the severe drought of 1933–36) and prices rose in consequence; but the AAA was of more value to big farmers than to small family farmers, who often could not meet their expenses if they restricted their output. Thus, even before the Supreme Court invalidated the AAA in 1936, on the ground that Congress had exceeded its power to regulate commerce, support for it had diminished. A second, more limited Agricultural Adjustment Act, 7 U.S.C. § 1281 et seq. (1938), similarly produced mixed results, tending to boost commercial farming at the expense of small farmers.