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Standing Their GroundSmall Farmers in North Carolina since the Civil War$
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Adrienne Monteith Petty

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199938520

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199938520.001.0001

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From Foxholes to Farms

From Foxholes to Farms

The GI Bill and the Enduring Agrarian Ideal

(p.125) 6 From Foxholes to Farms
Standing Their Ground

Adrienne Monteith Petty

Oxford University Press

The GI Bill established a broad and groundbreaking social safety net of educational and economic benefits and incentives for veterans returning from World War II. This chapter uncovers the history of two little-studied farm provisions of the GI Bill—farm loans and on-the-farm training—and shows that they helped set changes in motion that contributed to the demise of small farming by providing capital and technical assistance for progressive veterans to establish larger, more efficient farms. Interest in the farm provisions of the bill highlighted an abiding desire among landless farmers to own and operate farms, an ambition that had survived the war. Yet, the experience of veterans ultimately reveals that the agricultural components of the GI Bill contributed more to the capitalist transformation of southern agriculture than to fulfilling landless veterans’ hopes for acquiring family farms.

Keywords:   GI Bill, veterans, loans, on-the-farm training, on-the-job training, World War II, extension agents

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