Lessons from American agriculture?

Motorisation and soil conservation concerns under the French Fourth Republic
By Céline Pessis

The adoption in France of the American model of agricultural modernisation has been particularly well studied in terms of agricultural motorisation policies. This paper aims to shed light on the ambivalence of these “lessons from American agriculture” by studying the fears of soil deterioration that coincided with the widespread use of tractors under the French Fourth Republic. By highlighting the circulation of these warnings among rural specialists and the ’agricultural profession’ that was then taking shape, we show how, from the Chambers of Agriculture to the Commissariat général au Plan, concern for soil conservation became part of the definition of good farming policy.

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