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Abstract

The depressed prices of agricultural commodities and the decline in farm incomes in the 1930s destroyed farmers' and governments' belief in a free market for a generation. In spite of the rapid development and introduction of new farming techniques after the Second World War, and the consequent increases in productivity, farmers were unwilling to allow demand and supply to determine product prices and insisted on government intervention in the market for agricultural commodities, credit and some inputs. The supply of agricultural services in the first two post-war decades was dominated by such intervention, and in the next two decades by attempts by the state to reduce its intervention in the market, a process which was not completed by 1990. Although the range of services available for farmers increased in the post-war period, improvements in communications led to an increasing number of them being supplied by a few large firms with branches in the larger country towns.

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