Document Type



The Federal Extension Service (FES) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) was segregated during the Jim Crow era. FES farm agents provided agricultural education and outreach; they answered questions in office, hosted meetings, and made farm visits. Agents also ran 4-H, which educated youth about agriculture through camps, and demonstrated farming activities carried out by participants. This study investigated whether segregation of services led to disparities between white and non-white (mostly African American) farm operators and families among four South Carolina regions. We compared the level of service provided to white and non-white operators and youth based on data from the federal extension reports of 1947 as well as the South Carolina census of agriculture from 1945 and 1950. The difference in acreage operated by white and non-white farm operators was accounted for in analyses. We found disparities between white and non-white farm operators in some of the services provided, including calls and telephone calls, farm visits, meetings, and meeting attendance. However, there were no significant differences in 4-H participation or demonstrations between white and non-white youth. In conclusion, the study demonstrated differences in services provided to white and non-white operators. The degree of disparity of services for white versus non-white operators was similar among the four South Carolina regions. Racial disparities in 4-H-related participation or level of engagement were not detected. Reduced levels of FES service to non-white farmers may have limited opportunities for agricultural production and income.