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Economics established itself as a separate social science in Australia in the early decades of the twentieth century, but it was not until the 1950s that agricultural economics developed strongly in this country. There was considerable mistrust and disagreement between agricultural scientists, agricultural economists and economists in general. The most effective way to get some appreciation of the economic issues associated with agriculture was by public discussion and debate. This paper shows how the ideas of economists and agricultural economists gained prominence in academic journals and public forums throughout the 1920 - 1950 period. A wide range of issues, including land settlement, price stabilisation and industry assistance, were openly discussed. In this way the agricultural economics profession grew and became accepted as a legitimate discipline.


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