“Make Your Own Mattress:” served as a program developed by the United States Department of Agriculture in the Fall 1940 to eliminate a cotton surplus from the South. The USDA targeted Sherburne County as a potential location to benefit from the program. Although small in economic impact, it provided some aid to local families.
According to reports from Washington. D. C., an over-abundance of cotton hit the market in the fall of 1940. The Agriculture Adjustment Administration, a depression era program to help farmers, created the “Make Your Own Mattress” program to reduce the cotton surplus.
The preliminary plans reported by the Sherburne County Star News, noted an undisclosed warehouse will store cotton and “good grade ticking” so that individuals might sew their own mattresses. The government developed the program for low income, rural families in Minnesota. Income could not exceed $500 for a family of four and households received one mattress for two household members, not to exceed three of the mattresses.
Adult family members paid a fee of one dollar to cover the cost of needles and thread, the newspaper reported. The families worked in the warehouse as a team to sew their own mattresses and take them home. The County Extension Office and the Agricultural Adjustment Administration provided trained instructors to supervise the manufacturing process.
Although a minor event in the greater activities of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, the “Make Your Own Mattress” program serves as another example of the multitude of Depression Era economic experiments to aid Sherburne County. Although smaller than the WPA or the CCC, “Make Your Own Mattress” and other AAA projects certainly provided significant aid to the county.