One hundred years ago, World War I had begun in Europe but the United States was not yet involved. The war meant that farmers had lost European markets for their crops. Here's what Washington was going to do to help farmers. From the Aug. 13, 1914 issue of The High Point Review.
Farmers Need Aid….Government Urges Consumption of As Much Cotton As Possible at Home….It Is Not Making Promises….Situation Looks Very Dark, But Special Efforts Will Be Made to Dispose of All the Crops
Washington—The Washington Government is going to appeal to the cotton manufacturers of this country to start up every spindle and loom available and consume as much of the cotton crop now ripening as possible. If the European war gets in full swing the one class of farmers in this country likely to suffer most are the cotton growers, for the mills in foreign countries involved in the war will be shut down. The following figures on the consumption of cotton show the situation.
The aggregate supply of cotton in 1913 was 16,225,734 bales, distributed as follows: Exported, 8,800,966, and consumed at home, 5,786,330, with a balance on hand and some burned and otherwise disposed of.
Foreign countries exported from this country cotton as follows:
United Kingdom, 3,653,216; Germany, 2,350,761; France, 1,014,834; Italy, 478,894; Spain, 298,435; Belgium, 214,245; Russia, 70,625; Austria-Hungary, 109,202; Japan, 374,802; Canada, 148,292; and Mexico, 19,995. Small lots went to other countries.
Up to this time the countries involved in the war are Austria-Hungary, Servia, Russia, Germany, France and Great Britain. These are the countries that use most of our cotton. Therefore, it is readily seen that the cotton planter will be hit a hard blow unless the American mills can take care of the crop.
The situation is not promising, but the Government is going to make special efforts to get all the mills in the United States going.
The home mill will prove a god-send to the American cotton grower in this great crisis.
The following from the last annual report of the Bureau of Census on cotton, for the year ending August 31, tells the story in plain language:
For the year ending August 31, 193, the supply of cotton in the United States amounted to 16,225,734 bales. The largest amount shown for any year covered by the table was 17,896,226 bales for 1912, and the smallest amount was 12,188,021 bales for 1910. The large supply for 1912 was due to the magnitude of the crop of 1911, while that for 1913 was due to the size of the crop in 1912, which the second largest in the history of the country. It was also due to some extent to the increased stocks carried forward from the preceding year. The differences in the supply of cotton for the years shown practically represent the variations in the crops produced in the United States, since the differences in the stocks carried forward and in the imports are too small to affect the total materially.