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Iowa Farmers Strike
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Iowa Public Television
In December 1929, three million Americans were out of work. By the following winter the figure had risen from between four and five million without jobs. And this figure didn’t include farmers who, despite their toiling from sunup to sunset, were unable to make a decent living from their crops. Iowa farmers began to think their only solution would be to go on strike. On May 3, 1932 a group of disgruntled farmers met at the fairgrounds in Des Moines to form the Farm Holiday Association. They were led by a fiery orator named Milo Reno who had begun the push for a strike five years earlier. When he said,
If we cannot obtain justice by legislation, then the time will have arrived when no other course remains then organized refusal to deliver products of the farm at less than production costs.
By 1932 the time had come and farmers near Sioux City went on strike to demonstrate their plight. Picket lines were set up on the city limits to stop delivery of milk products into the city. Many farmers would give their milk away or dump it on the road rather then expect the ridiculously low payment for their goods. Their cause quickly gained attention as those dependent on milk felt the pinch.
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