FARMERS' HOME IMPROVEMENT SOCIETY

Lawrence D. Rice

FARMERS' HOME IMPROVEMENT SOCIETY. The Farmers' Home Improvement Society (also known as the Farmers' Improvement Society) was founded in 1890 by Robert Lloyd Smith at Oakland, Colorado County, as a farmers' association for African Americans. The purposes of the society were to abolish the share-cropping and credit system that ensnared poor farmers, encourage self-sufficiency, promote home and farm ownership, promote crop diversification and use of improved farming methods, foster cooperative buying and selling, provide sickness and health benefits, and encourage the social and moral elevation of members. By 1898 the society claimed 1,800 members; by 1900 it had grown to eighty-six branches and 2,340 members; and by 1909 it had 21,000 members spread over Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. In 1909 its cooperative business was estimated at $50,000 a year. In 1912 the membership owned 75,000 acres of land valued at considerably over $1 million. The society sponsored agricultural fairs to demonstrate the effectiveness of its programs. In addition to the cooperative business, it established the Farmers' Improvement Agricultural College at Wolfe City in 1906 and, to implement the overall program, the Farmers' Bank at Waco in 1911. During the late teens and early 1920s the society gradually declined, but for more than twenty years it contributed more than any other organization to elevating the status of blacks in Texas.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Robert Carroll, Robert Lloyd Smith and the Farmers' Improvement Society of Texas (M.A. thesis, Baylor University, 1974).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Lawrence D. Rice, "FARMERS' HOME IMPROVEMENT SOCIETY," accessed September 21, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/aaf03.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on September 4, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...