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Role of the US Reclamation Service and Bureau of Reclamation in the early 20th century \the crop revenue of the first five projects \

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  • Takuro Hidaka

    () (Graduate School of Economics, Osaka University)

Abstract

The US Reclamation Service (1902-1923) and Bureau of Reclamation (1923 - ) of the Department of Interior conducted many reclamation projects in the west. This paper examines the first five of them, with special focuses on the role played by this federal agency for the agricultural revenue per acre in each project area. The profitability seems to have been affected by (1) the profit from industrial crops, such as sugar beets and cotton, (2) national trends of agricultural prices, (3) local, geographical factors of each area (precipitation excluded). It should be borne in mind that the two agencies were reluctant to be directly involved in improvement of the agricultural conditions in the region, though they showed some interests in agriculture itself. As a result, choices of crops, solution of inundation damage, improvement of agricultural knowledge, and other challenges in the local agriculture were left to the private sector and other authorities. We can find some of their contributions, but their role was confined to irrigation for agricultural water supply partly because the officials were ill-prepared at the initial stage and mainly because of the small budget. However, the irrigation had fundamental importance for the future development in each region. It was the foundation for the mixed agriculture of fodder crops and animal husbandry, and cultivation of industry crops which brought in much higher cash income. Based on this foundation, later development projects, conducted by other Federal and local offices, private companies as well as individual farmers, were made possible. While the contributions made by the reclamation agencies were limited, their construction of water infrastructure had considerable significance.

Suggested Citation

  • Takuro Hidaka, 2017. "Role of the US Reclamation Service and Bureau of Reclamation in the early 20th century \the crop revenue of the first five projects \," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 17-32, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
  • Handle: RePEc:osk:wpaper:1732
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    File URL: http://www2.econ.osaka-u.ac.jp/library/global/dp/1732.pdf
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    Keywords

    Water resource development; Crops; Irrigation farming; Bureau of Reclamation; American history;

    JEL classification:

    • N41 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • N42 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • N51 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • N52 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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