The reras Cotton Acreage Cotrol
KARL E. ASHBURN
FOLLOWING the low prices paid for cotton in 1931, there
immediately arose an outcry from Southern farmers, poli-
ticians, and agriculturists in favor of curtailing cotton
acreage.1 Finally, significant action was taken by the Southern
Cotton Conference held at Austin on August 4, 1931. The con-
ference recognized the dependence of the Southern cotton
farmer on conditions in Europe and endorsed a proposal to re-
strict cotton acreage by law and to unite the South in a program
of industrial development. During the meeting speakers stressed
that the export market for cotton had probably been reduced
permanently, that even if cotton production were cut in half it
would require three or four years to reach a stable condition,
and that an important part of the problem involved the pro-
ducing of other commodities of value to take the place of cotton.
The conference was disappointing to some degree, because only
five other states besides Texas-Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas,
Tennessee, and New Mexico-were represented. Governmental
control of acreage, however, was advocated by practically every
speaker before the conference. The representatives from the
other states declared that if Texas would take the lead and enact
a cotton acreage control law, their state governments would do
likewise. The remarkable thing about the meeting was the fact
that the proposal to cut drastically the cotton acreage was taken
as a matter of course.2
The demand for a legal curtailment of the acreage planted in
cotton in Texas resulted in the enactment on September 22, 1931,
of what is known as the Texas Cotton Acreage Control Law by
the Second Called Session of the Forty-second Legislature of
iTexas raised 5,320o,ooo five-hundred-pound bales of cotton in 1931.
2Texas Weekly, VII, No. 35 (August 8, 1931), 1-3.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101164/. Accessed December 21, 2013.