Farm Security Administration (FSA)

Fiddlin' Bill Hensley, mountain fiddler, Asheville, North Carolina (photo by Ben Shahn, taken as part of the Farm Security Administration).

The Farm Security Administration (FSA), created in 1937 under the Department of Agriculture, helped with rural rehabilitation, farm loans, and subsistence homestead programs. The FSA was not a relief agency, but instead it relied on a network of cooperation between states and county offices to determine which clients needed loans that could not get this credit somewhere else. Farmers could use these loans to buy land, equipment, livestock, or seeds. Additionally, the FSA assisted families by providing healthcare, education, and training programs for participating families. The goal of these measures was to help families become self-sustaining.

One of the most memorable programs of the FSA is the collection of photographs that document the rural conditions from the Information Division of the Resettlement Administration. These photos helped to not only promote the programs of the RA, but to also show the people, cultures, and landscapes of rural America.

“Farm Security Administration,” Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture. Oklahoma Historical Society.