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Victory Farm Volunteer Program

f -, ,,

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


Prepared by
In consultation with
and approved by these agencies


U n ite d States Governm ent Printing O ffice
W ashington, 1943
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Guides to Successful Employment
o f N o n 'F a r m Y o u t h in
W artim e A griculture
Young Workers Can Help on Farms.
American youth, who are eager to have a part in the war
effort, are needed to help the farmer get in the 1943 crops.
The American farmer is short of labor as never before and yet
must meet unprecedented food-production goals. Youth can
take part in the tremendous jo b that must be done on the farms
to achieve victory.
The experience of 1942 showed that young people from cities,
even when they are inexperienced in farm work, can help the
farmer, if they are well supervised on the job . In many places
last year boys and girls of high-school age took a big part in
getting in crops, like berries, fruit, and vegetables. They can
and will do much more in 1943.
School youth can be counted on especially for work during
vacations. Before boys and girls are taken out of school to
work it should be certain that there is no one else to do the job.
Education is important in wartime as in peacetime, and the
future manpower needs of the Nation would be endangered if
boys and girls were deprived of schooling for any considerable
period. When school youth must be called upon to help in
the emergency during the school term every effort should be
made to adjust the school program so that lost school work can
be made up.

The J^eed and Plans for Young Workers Will Vary.
The need for these young workers will vary in different parts
of the country. The types of crops vary, and so do the rate at
which labor has been drained into industry and the amount of
adult labor available for farm work in different areas. There­
fore plans to recruit city boys and girls for work on farms should
not be made until the official agencies have found that there
609954°— 13
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


will not be enough older workers available and that there is
need for the particular type of project under consideration.
In order to meet different needs provision will be made by
various public and private agencies, working together in local
communities, for three types of programs: day-hauls from urban
centers, individual placements on farms, and work camps. In
most cases the young workers will live at home and work by
the day, either on nearby farms or on farms at a greater dis­
tance to which they are taken daily. In other cases it will be
necessary for the young workers to live in the rural area where
they are to work. If they are to do general farm work through­
out the season, they will probably live in farm homes. If large
numbers of young workers are required from outside the area
for harvesting work, they will probably live in work camps.

Guides A re Essential to Success in Employing Young
Most of the boys and girls who will be drawn upon to take
the place of adult and experienced workers are both immature
and inexperienced in farm work. Many of them have lived
all their lives in cities and towns. Special care is therefore
needed in the use of these young people if they are to be able
to do the job . If the use of young people as emergency farm
workers is to be successful, it must not only give the farmers
efficient labor but at the same time give the young people an
experience that will hold their interest and contribute to their
educational growth and healthy development.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

These guides are offered as the essentials for programs that
will prove satisfying to the farmers, to the young people, and to
their parents.

Careful Selection o f Workers Is Better Than Haphazard
Limitation of recruitment to boys and girls old enough and
sufficiently well-developed physically to work efficiently and
without undue strain will help to give satisfactory results to
both farmers and young people. Consideration should be
given to whether age, sex, and individual growth and develop­
ment are suitable for the particular jo b to be done.
Experience has shown that the best results may be obtained
in employing non-farm youth, if the following requirements
are made the policy for selecting recruits for agricultural w ork:
M in im u m age o f 14 years,1 when the young workers live at home
and go to work by the day;
16 years when the young workers live away from their families in
families in farm homes or work camps,
Except that when the work is part of a cam p program conducted
by a recognized youth-serving agencjr that provides close super­
vision, a m inim um age o f 14 years is suitable.
A ge proved by documentary evidence of date of birth or school record.
W ritten consent of parents.
Physical fitness for the jo b .
wherever possible.

Physical examinations should be given

W h ere this is not possible, school health records

should be consulted.
Although resources for physical examinations m ay be limited,
every effort should be m ade to utilize whatever resources there
are or can be m ade available in the com m unity, such as private
physicians, public-health departments, clinics and health agen­
cies in urban centers, and school health facilities.

Care should be taken in recruitment to observe any State or
Federal legal standards affecting employment in agriculture.

Won^Farm Youth Weed Preparation for Wor\.
Young people who have had little or no previous experience
in doing farm work need special preparation and training
1 Under the Fair Labor Standards A ct, if the producer ships goods in interstate
commerce, a minim um age of 16 applies to minors employed in agriculture while legally
required to attend school; under this act also, a minim um o f 16 is established for work
in canneries or other' food-processing plants.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

for the work and continuing supervision on the jo b to enable
them to meet the farmer’s labor needs satisfactorily.
The young workers must be helped to understand the pur­
pose of the program and the importance of the contribution
they can make to the war effort. Preparation that builds
good attitudes, a sense of responsibility and respect for the
job will help to prevent carelessness, waste of time, accidents,
and destruction of crops and property.
The young workers need advance information on what to
expect in the work they are going to do. Misleading publicity
that advertises the jo b as a vacation seriously interferes with the
development of good work attitudes and should be avoided.
The recruits should be told what thé farmer will expect of them
and what will be the probable conditions of work. If they are
to live away from home, they should also be told about their
probable living arrangements. They should be shown how to
do the work efficiently and without injury to themselves or
other workers.
Such preparation for employment should be a part of the
_program of the schools from which recruits are drawn, and it
should reach out-of-school youth recruited for employment as
well as those in school. Activities to prepare youth for effective
participation in the farm program can also be conducted by
youth-serving agencies and by youth organizations.

Leadership Is Key to Successful Employment of Groups
of Young Workers.
Farmers who used inexperienced youth in 1942 agreed that
these boys and girls must be given close supervision. When
inexperienced young workers are employed in numbers, as
they usually are for harvesting work, they should be placed in
groups, each of which is in charge of a leader. The work
groups should be organized, wherever possible, around existing
groups, such as clubs and classes in schools, churches, and pub­
lic and private leisure-time agencies. Such a group can effec­
tively participate as a unit in training activities. Groups of
this kind under their regular leaders will work with greater
productivity and better morale than newly organized squads
of recruits under new leadership.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


Regardless of the character of the group, each group should
be under the direction of a leader.
These group leaders help to maintain good morale and in­
terest among the workers and to promote good work habits
and efficient and safe methods of work. They work along with
the group and carry forward any preemployment training that
has been given. They take care of individual problems of
members of the group. In addition, the group leader may
attend to arrangements regarding transportation, wage rates
and payments, rest periods, meals, and other working condi­
Such leaders serve under the direction of the farmers and
sometimes are employed by the farmers to serve as their field
foremen. They give the special leadership needed by imma­
ture and inexperienced workers to supplement the supervision
given by the farmer. Leaders can be recruited from among
teachers and older students in the schools, especially from those
in agricultural courses, and from youth-serving and youth
organizations as well as various other community groups.
The leaders need to be given special preparation for meeting
their responsibilities and should work under the direction of a
central supervisor with responsibility for the entire project to
employ non-farm youth.

Good Conditions o f Wor\ Help To Ma\e Good Wor\ers.
T o achieve good results in the employment of young workers
special care must be taken to insure working conditions suited •
to their immaturity. Agencies and persons responsible for
recruitment and placement of inexperienced boys and girls in
farm work are urged to observe the following standards:
N ot more than 8 hours o f work a day.
able for children of 14 and 15.)

(N ot more than 6 hours is desir­

Some variations m ay have to be allowed

under emergency conditions for older youth who live in farm homes and
are employed as general farm hands.
During the first few days o f work shorter hours are desirable to permit
inexperienced workers to become accustomed to the work.
N ot more than 6 days of work a week, except that young persons employed
as general farm hands m ay do morning and evening chores on the seventh
Lunch and rest periods.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Same wages— whether piece or hourly rates— as those paid to older
beginning workers for the same type and amount of work.
Payment of wages in cash and prompt payment at times agreed upon.

Sanitary toilet and washing facilities available to the young workers
while at work.

Adequate supply of drinking water from approved sources.

Protection against accidents on the jo b through—
Farm equipment in good working order;
Training in safe methods of work;
Assignment of work involving the handling of animals, tractors,
machinery, and dangerous tools and implements only to older youth
trained in their safe use;
Supervision on the job by persons trained in safe work methods;
Provision of first aid and medical care in case of injury while at work;
W herever practicable the field foremen or group leaders should
have had the Am erican R ed Cross First A id and H om e and
Farm Accident Prevention courses.
Payment of expenses in case of injury while at work.

Coverage by

workmen’ s compensation insurance should be encouraged wherever

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Transportation to and from work only in vehicles that are in safe mechan­
ical condition and maintained in full compliance with State laws and

Busses and automobiles should be used in preference to trucks.

W here trucks must be used, seats should be provided and sides and rear
should be enclosed.

T h e use o f steps in getting in and out of trucks will

also reduce accidents.


Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Vehicles driven by responsible licensed adults who follow safe driving
Avoidance of overcrowding in vehicles.
Coverage by adequate liability insurance.
Training of young workers in safe conduct while being transported to
and from work and supervision during transit to prevent accidents.

Careful observance of these conditions, essential to the pro­
tection and well-being of the young workers, will go far toward
gaining widespread community support and continued cooper­
ation of young people and their parents, thus helping to assure
the success of the program.

Good Living Conditions and Recreation for Ydung
Workers Away From Home Reduce Labor Turnover.
When boys and girls are employed at work requiring them
to live away from home, satisfactory living conditions and
good times outside of working hours become important to the
success of the program. The lack of them results in poor
morale, inefficient work, and excessive turnover.
Work camps.— Living accommodations in work camps should
conform to good camping standards of health, safety, sanitation,
staff, program, insurance, and administration. Desirable
standards, as developed by organizations with special experi­
ence in camping, are set forth in the American Camping
Association’s publication, Marks of Good Camping.2 This
publication will be found helpful by anyone responsible for the
operation of work camps.
The camp site and facilities should have the approval of the
appropriate public-health agency. In order to protect health
the camps should be careful to comply fully with State and
local laws and regulations regarding water and milk supply,
sewage disposal, and other sanitary conditions. Arrangements
must be made to have first aid, medical care, and hospitalization
readily available in case of illness or injury among the campers.
A diet adequate to the needs of youngsters doing heavy
outdoor work is essential. Home-demonstration agents, healthdepartment nutritionists, and home-economics teachers can
be helpful in planning meals. A leaflet on dietary allowances,
2 This publication may be obtained from the Association Press, 347 M adison Avenue,
N ew York City, for 75 cents.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

the Yardstick of Good Nutrition, published by the Committee
on Food and Nutrition of the National Research Council,
should be useful.3
Each camp should have a qualified director in charge, with
a sufficient number of assistants to give adequate supervision.
A good arrangement is for some of the camp staff to work in
the fields and also act as group leaders there, as well as to
give supervision in the living quarters. The supervisory staff
should have had leadership experience with young people in
group activities.
For the young people to benefit from the group living experi­
ence, the staff will need to know how to conduct the camp on
an informal, cooperative, and democratic basis. One of the
key responsibilities of the staff is to arrange for recreational
and social activities for the young people outside of working
hours and during days when weather or other conditions
make it impossible to work. Teachers, especially those famil­
iar with progressive educational methods and with vocational
training in agriculture, and staff members from organized
camps and leisure-time agencies, are a major resource for the
type of leadership needed.
The individual farm home.— Agencies placing young workers
in farm homes or in quarters provided by the farmer have a
responsibility for insuring the young people good living and
sanitary conditions. The farm family has responsibilities
similar to those of the work-camp director for enabling the
boy or girl who is placed with it to make friends and participate
in the church and social activities of the community. Qualified
field staff will be needed to assist in dealing with problems
that may arise and making the placement satisfactory both
to the farmer and to the young person. Consultation with
persons who have had experience in dealing with young people
and in making arrangements for young persons to live outside
their own homes, wherever such services are available, will be
found helpful. The responsibilities of the field staff will require
8 This publication m ay be obtained from the Nutrition and Food Conservation Branch,
Food Distribution Administration, Department of Agriculture, W ashington, D . C.
M arket lists for moderate-cost and liberal meals, available from the Bureau of H om e
Economics, U . S. Departm ent o f Agriculture, W ashington, D . C ., suggest kinds and
quantities of food for a week for boys and girls of different ages.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

a point of view that is concerned both with the individual boy
or girl and with meeting food-production goals. They also
will call for skill in dealing cooperatively with all parties

Good Results





The employment of inexperienced young people as emer­
gency farm workers involves a variety of problems. Many
kinds of services will have to be provided either in the city or
town from which the young people are recruited or in the farm
area in which they work. In most local communities a variety
of agencies and groups are interested in helping the farmer in
the Food for Victory program and are ready to offer their
services. If all needs are to be met and all community services
that can be of help in using non-farm youth on farms are to
be made available there must be joint planning by all interested
groups in the local community. Without careful planning un­
fortunate conditions will arise that will cause dissatisfaction to
the farmers, to the young people, and to their parents. Plan­
ning to provide preparation for employment, supervision, and
suitable working and living conditions is essential in order to
avoid inefficient work, preventable accidents, and excessive
labor turnover.
T o do this planning there needs to be a broadly representa­
tive committee in each local community where a need to
employ boys and girls has been determined. This committee
should be identified with whatever existing local committee is
taking responsibility for the emergency mobilization of all
sources and types of farm labor. When no such committee
exists which is adequately representative, the existing commit­
tee should be broadened or a new committee should be estab­
lished. The committee may be county-wide or may extend
over several counties to cover a crop area or to include both
recruitment and farm areas.
A broadly representative committee will obtain widespread
public support for the program. In addition to the major
public agencies with responsibilities for the operation of pro­
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

grams, this local committee should include representation from
farmers, parents, youth-serving agencies, and health, welfare,
church, labor, and other community agencies. T o avoid cum­
bersomeness in operation, a small committee composed of the
chief operating agencies with some representation from other
groups included in the general committee, may be set up to
carry out planning and coordinating functions in accordance
with the desires of the larger committee.
The local committee would provide a basis for coordination
of the activities of the various agencies and serve in an advisory
capacity to the constituent operating agencies. It should help
to see that plans include adequate provision for all aspects of
the program. The committee would also concern itself with
the setting up and maintenance of standards, in conformity
with those' set by State and National agencies, to cover all
aspects of programs to employ boys and girls as emergency
farm workers.
Relationship of local committees to State committee.— Local com ­
mittees should work in close relationship with a corresponding
State or regional committee. In all States that need to recruit
boys and girls for emergency farm work the State committee
on farm-labor supply should set up a subcommittee concerned
with the employment of youth. This committee would—
Assist in coordinating the activities of various State departments
and agencies;
Develop standards for the health and welfare of the young workers
in harmony with those of national and regional agencies to cover
all aspects of local programs;
Develop plans to insure maintenance of standards;
Stimulate the development of resources for training young workers
and for the recruitment, training, and supervision of supervisory staff
and group leaders;
Give service to local communities in setting up and conducting

The plan for the State committee should be integrated
with over-all plans as to labor supply.
The State committee, like the local committee, should be
representative of all the State departments, agencies, and
groups concerned with the employment of boys and girls
in agriculture.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Varied Agencies Can Contribute to Successful Employ­
ment of Youth.
The participation of all agencies, private as well as gov­
ernmental, that can contribute to the strengthening of
programs for the employment of young workers on farms is
needed to make these programs a success.
Because of differences in local communities, there may be
some variations as to agencies carrying specific responsibili­
ties. The following list, however, suggests some of the
responsibilities of the public and private agencies and the
organizations that should be called upon to give service in
these programs:
Agricultural agencies:
Determination of need.
Assistance to farmers in making effective use. o f immature and inex­
perienced workers.
Recruitment and placement.
Determination of prevailing rate of wages in area.
Supervision of farmer-worker relationship.
Arrangements for transportation and housing facilities.
Assistance in maintenance o f standards for working and living con­
Defense councils:
Assistance in coordinating plans and activities of all agencies concerned.
Recruitment and training of volunteers for supervision and youth
Assistance in recruitment of workers.
Interpretation o f the program to the community.
Registration and selection of youth.
Orientation o f youth toward understanding—
(a) T h e importance o f the program to the war effort.
(b) Rural community life.
(c) T h e conditions under which they will work.
Preemployment and on-the-job training in the tasks and skills required
on the local farms.
Assistance in giving physical examinations when other provision* is
not made.
Assistance in providing supervision of youth as part of a total plan.
Interpretation of the program to parents.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

H ealth and welfare agencies:
Formulation of standards to protect the health of young workers.
_ Inspection of health and sanitary conditions.
Provision of facilities for physical examination.
Provision o f medical care in case of illness or injury.
Assistance in determining the adequafcy of living facilities for young
workers living away from home.
Assistance in providing supervision for young workers living away
from hom e and in dealing with situations that require adjustment.
Cooperation with agricultural officials in preparing farmers for any
adaptations in working conditions needed in the interest of the
health and welfare o f the young workers.
Assistance in seeing that all available comm unity resources are utilized to safeguard the welfare o f the young workers.
Youth-serving and youth organizations and churches:
Provision o f training for older youth and adults who will assist in
leadership of young workers placed in groups from harvest camps
or on a day-haul basis.
Provision o f counseling and supervision for youth in their work experi­
ence and off-duty time.
Assistance in recruiting existing groups o f young people to serve as work
Supplying o f camp-director experience to insure full utilization of
camping skills and standards in group-living situations.
Provision o f cam p facilities and equipment.
Representation o f the interests o f the young workers.
Parents and citizen groups:
Representation of the interests o f parents and the community in safe­
guarding the well-being o f the young worker.

Careful, coordinated planning by all agencies concerned
to insure efficient service to the farmer and to safeguard the
interests of the boys and girls will achieve successful results.

Older boys and girls are being asked to give
generously of their spirit and energy in our
common effort to produce and harvest the
Nation’s food. Let us not use their labor
w astefully. Let us see that their contribu­
tion is made in ways consistent w ith their
health and welfare and w ith the fullest use
and development of their capacities.
Katharine F. Lenroot,
Chief Children’s Bureau.


Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis