Threshermen violated WWI law that wasn’t

“The Chapel Hill [town council’s post World War I] report commented that ‘No single thing showed the patriotic spirit of the people of Orange County during the war than the cheerful way in which they carried out the irksome rules and regulations of the Food Administration’….

“The report describes how the county food administration decided that no farmers would be allowed to thresh their wheat before July 1. Although most threshermen acceded to this directive, one or two did not. The report calls this a violation of the law and states that the men pled guilty but then voluntarily contributed to the Red Cross, so charges were dropped. Since not even Herbert Hoover, the head of the federal Food Administration, could issue edicts with the force of law, one wonders what exactly the two threshermen had been charged with….”

— From “Rich Man’s War, Poor Man’s Fight: Race, Class, and Power in the Rural South” by Jeanette Keith (2004)

The July 1 restriction surely has something to do with maximizing production — does anyone know exactly what?