Wife of sharecropper, with baby in her lap, at sewing machine. Family will work under tenant purchase program. Near Caruthersville, Missouri

Russell Lee, 1939

As part of the New Deal’s rehabilitation efforts, the Farm Security Administration focused on efforts that would result in poor rural farmers becoming increasingly self-sufficient. The FSA sent farm and home supervisors to guide farm families in improving their subsistence farming instead of focusing on cash crops, such as cotton. Supervisors heavily promoted home production, giving loans to clients to purchase appliances including pressure cookers and sewing machines. If a family purchased a household sewing machine from the FSA’s Household Furniture and Domestic Equipment catalog, the FSA promised to arrange sewing instruction to the client without addition cost