The essay takes into account an essential aspect of the agricultural production, that of cereals for human consumption: a sector in which Italy was not able to cover its needs and was forced to resort to massive imports, which had become very difficult during the war. Starting from the basic data the author examines the measures undertaken by the State to try to boost grain production. The focus of the analysis, however, is represented by the attitude taken by the agrarian lobbies towards these demands. The essay underlines how the margins for an effective action were always very close: the landlords were not ready to sacrifice the high income produced by specialized crops to the production of less valuable cereal, while the peasants’ trade unions did not intend to give up their freedom of action in terms of labor relations and wage demands. The Italian rural areas, the most affected by calls to arms, became more and more the stage of strong protests against the war, paving the way towards the harsh political and social confrontation of the post-war years.
Keywords: First World War, Italy, Emilia Romagna, War economy, Agriculture, Agrarian press (Agrarian lobbies).