THE NATIONAL FOOD ESTATE
By Walther Darré
Reich Minister of Food and Agriculture, Reich Farmers’ Leader, Reichsleiter
of the National Socialist Party
When the National Socialist party acquired power on January 30th, 1933, German agriculture was on the brink of ruin. Some 12,000,000,000 reichsmarks of new debt had been contracted by farmers between 1924 (when the currency was stabilised) and 1932. The area covered by the farmsteads sold by auction during that period was about equal to that of Thuringia. The proceeds derived from the sale of farm produce decreased from some 10,000,000,000 reichsmarks in 1928-9 to 6,400,000,000 reichsmarks in 1932/3 – an amount insufficient to recover the cost of production. On the other hand, farmers had to pay high rates of taxes and interest and heavy social charges. As early as 1930, the National Socialist party directed public attention to the desperate state of the farming industry and asked that the country’s agricultural policy should pay increased attention to these matters, more especially by creating new legislation dealing with farm property, by regulating markets and by setting up a corporate system of self-administration. These demands have now been satisfied under the National Socialist regime. Some 700,000 hereditary farms (Erbhöfe) have been created and about 40 per cent. of the soil used for agricultural purposes has thus been liberated from the arbitrary interference of professional speculators in real estate. The law enacted to that end has strengthened the farmer’s connection with the soil he tills and has secured his rights of possession. Besides, the charges on farm property have been reduced to a reasonable level, partly by lowering the rates of interest and facilitating the repayment of debts and partly by granting tax abatement.