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Farmer Dilemma

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1. Railroads- Railroads in each area were often controlled by one company, enabling those railroads to charge what they wanted. Railroads were the only way for many western farmers to get their produce to market and high prices were always charged. Railroads controlled storage, elevators, and warehouses so the prices the farmers paid were very high.

Middlemen- Middlemen set the price of the produce low when they sold because the market price was unpredictable.

Bankers- High interest rates caused the farmers to pay even more when they didn't have the money to pay.

Trusts- Trusts such as McCormick, makers of farm machinery, set the price for the farm machinery. Many farmers relied on McCormick farm machinery to grow crops, so the price depended on whatever McCormick charged. Trusts formed in the railroad industry as well, which enabled the railroad companies to set a high price.

2. Railroads- Railroad companies would say that farmers could find an alternate route of transportation if they were dissatisfied with the prices. Additionally, railroad companies could say in front of a court that they have to charge less (or not charge at all) business, congressmen, and other people who support the railroad system and must make up for the losses by overcharging the farmers.

Middlemen- Middlemen would say that they set the prices low because the market is unpredictable.

Bankers- Bankers would say they charged a higher rate because farming is a high risk and if something were to happen (i.e. a natural disaster) they couldn't be sure that their money was returned.

Trusts- they have a right to charge high rates, and they would be producing at a cheaper rate and make more profits. [????????????????????????????]

Government Officials- Government officials would say that they cared about the farmers but over-production took the matter out of their hands. They would also say they passed legislation and tried to help farmers through the Timber Culture Act and Desert Land Act.

3. To a rather small extent do the documents suggest that farmers were responsible for their own problems. Indeed, Document A states that farmers overproduced which caused prices to fall, but it is very evident and far more explanation is given for reasons such as railroads,



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