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The Farm Crisis

Narrated by nationally-known news reporter Harry Smith, The Farm Crisis examines the tragic circumstances faced by farmers for most of the 1980s, when thousands were forced into bankruptcy, land values dropped by one-third nationally, and sky-high interest rates turned successes into failures seemingly overnight. 

The program features interviews with policymakers, business owners, economists, and farm families, including Gov. Terry Branstad, Sen. Charles Grassley, Sen. Tom Harkin, former Rep. Jim Leach, the late Mark Pearson, former Sen. Tom Daschle, economist Neil Harl, and recording artist and Farm Aid Founder Willie Nelson.

Funding for The Farm Crisis was provided by: Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company of Iowa; Humanities Iowa; John and Carole Lea Cotton and Tim and Wendy Haight.

Stories

The 1970s See Good Times in Agriculture

posted on March 25, 2014

The 1970s See Good Times in Agriculture
Sharp declines in agricultural supplies worldwide in the 1970s result in increased profits for producers, higher land values and low interest rates, all of which set the stage for the farm crisis of the 1980s. 02:05 Play Video

The Farm Crisis Impacts a Variety of Farmers

posted on March 25, 2014

The Farm Crisis Impacts a Variety of Farmers
Four different farm families each come to farming through different means. Each will is impacted by the 1980s farm crisis. 05:30 Play Video

Short-Lived Agriculture Boom Leads to the 1980s Farm Crisis

posted on March 25, 2014

Short-Lived Agriculture Boom Leads to the 1980s Farm Crisis
Extensive land loans, high land prices, and low interest rates combine in the 1970s to build the short-lived agricultural boom. 04:06 Play Video

Factors Leading to the Farm Crisis

posted on March 25, 2014

Factors Leading to the Farm Crisis
Changes in federal policy and international politics in the 1970s result in higher interest rates, increased agricultural commodity supply, and usher in the farm crisis of the 1980s. 03:34 Play Video

Farmers Lose Hope

posted on March 25, 2014

Farmers Lose Hope
Farmers and others involved in agriculture quickly lose hope and find themselves in overwhelming debt. 05:53 Play Video

Debating Farm Crisis Causes and Solutions

posted on March 25, 2014

Debating Farm Crisis Causes and Solutions
Politicians and policymakers debate the causes and solutions for the farm crisis. 03:15 Play Video

Activism During the Farm Crisis

posted on March 25, 2014

Activism During the Farm Crisis
Farmers, politicians, and activists rally around the farm crisis. 03:43 Play Video

Private Assistance During the Farm Crisis

posted on March 25, 2014

Private Assistance During the Farm Crisis
Rural community groups, clergy, and individuals support struggling farm families. 04:39 Play Video

Rural Advocacy Groups During the Farm Crisis

posted on March 25, 2014

Rural Advocacy Groups During the Farm Crisis
Advocacy groups lead protests and events to support farmers and draw attention to the farm crisis. 05:46 Play Video

Farmers Battle the Farm Crisis Alone

posted on March 25, 2014

Farmers Battle the Farm Crisis Alone
Farmers and farm families struggle, often alone, as the farm crisis continues. 02:12 Play Video

Farm Crisis Results in Suicide and Murder

posted on March 25, 2014

Farm Crisis Results in Suicide and Murder
Breaking under the stress of losing their farms, some farmers turn to suicide while others turn their rage on others committing murder during the farm crisis. 07:14 Play Video

The Farm Crisis Divides Rural Communities

posted on March 25, 2014

The Farm Crisis Divides Rural Communities
Communities face deep rifts because of the farm crisis, especially between farmers and their lenders. 03:29 Play Video

The Farm Crisis Has a Lasting Impact

posted on March 25, 2014

The Farm Crisis Has a Lasting Impact
The farm crisis hit farm families hard and has a lasting impact on their future. 05:46 Play Video

Farm Crisis Impact on Rural Communities

posted on March 25, 2014

Farm Crisis Impact on Rural Communities
The farm crisis affects more than farmers as it spreads to small town communities, rural businesses, and even cities where agricultural machinery plants are located. 03:40 Play Video

Federal Policy Changes During the Farm Crisis

posted on March 25, 2014

Federal Policy Changes During the Farm Crisis
New agricultural policy is developed and existing policy changed during the 1980s in reaction to the farm crisis. 03:27 Play Video

Agriculture Changes as a Result of the Farm Crisis

posted on March 25, 2014

Agriculture Changes as a Result of the Farm Crisis
Agriculture is changed as a result of the farm crisis and has became what it is today. 02:43 Play Video

Farm Families Changed by the Farm Crisis

posted on March 25, 2014

Farm Families Changed by the Farm Crisis
Farmers and their families are forever changed as a result of the farm crisis. 04:55 Play Video

Farming Today Still Impacted by the Farm Crisis

posted on March 25, 2014

Farming Today Still Impacted by the Farm Crisis
Farming today is still impacted by the 1980s farm crisis. 03:18 Play Video

The Farm Crisis

posted on September 6, 2013

The Farm Crisis
Full Program: Explore why the farm crisis of the 1980s happened, meet the farm families who struggled and the men and women who fought so long and so loyally to help them, and examine how agriculture changed as a result of the economic crisis. 89:00 Play Video

Lessons Learned from the Farm Crisis

posted on September 6, 2013

Lessons Learned from the Farm Crisis
Many lessons are learned from the farm crisis of the 1980s, while those lessons not learned leave open the possibilities of those events repeating. 01:23 Play Video

Farmer's Debts Increase

posted on September 6, 2013

Farmer's Debts Increase
Farmers problems increase during the late 1970s and through the 1980s as interest rates continue to skyrocket, land prices plummet, and farmers find themselves over-leveraged. 04:17 Play Video

Causes of the Farm Crisis

posted on September 5, 2013

Causes of the Farm Crisis
The 1980s farm crisis has a variety of causes, domestically and internationally. 04:15 Play Video

Overview of the Farm Crisis

posted on September 5, 2013

Overview of the Farm Crisis
The 1980s farm crisis impacts farmers, families, and communities throughout the country. 02:08 Play Video

The Farm Crisis (Extended Preview)

posted on June 24, 2013

The Farm Crisis (Extended Preview)
The Farm Crisis is a 90-minute film produced by Iowa Public Television that examines the economic and personal disasters that afflicted the agriculture sector in the 1980s. 05:41 Play Video

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