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Full text of "The farm market"

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Cornell University Library 
HD 1765 1918 

The farm market. 



3 1924 013 737 949 




New York 

State College of Agriculture 

At Cornell University 

Ithaca, N. Y. 



Library 



rhe Farm Market 




Cornell University 
Library 



The original of tliis book is in 
tlie Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924013737949 



The Farm Market 



THE CURTIS PUBLISHING COMPANY i / 
* THE COUNTRY GENTLEMAN 
THE LADIES' HOME JOURNAL 
THE SATURDAY EVENING POST 

PHILADELPHIA 

1918 



Prepared by 

The Advertising Department 

Division of Commercial Research 

Charles Coolidge Parlin, Manager 



Copyright, 1918 
"the Curtis Publishing Company 



Foreword 



THE world war has made us conscious, as never 
before, of our dependence upon agriculture. 

Farming is and always has been the basic American 
industry and the industry of predominant impor- 
tance. 

War-time conditions have greatly, accelerated the 
agricultural progress which has been in evidence for 
many years. 

The farming population has now reached a new and 
a higher level of earning and spending. 

In a word, the farm market offers a vast and in- 
creasing opportunity to American manufacturers. 

A study has been made by The Curtis Publishing 
Company, through its Division of Commercial Re- 
search, in order to visualize the market opportunity 
in the farm field. 

The report, in two volumes of about eleven hun- 
dred pages, illustrated by more than fifty maps and 
charts, is on file in the branch offices of the Advertis- 
ing Department of The Curtis Publishing Company; 
and the volume containing the general conclusions is 
available for the use of manufacturers and advertising 
agencies. 

Since the completion of the investigation more 
than two hundred conferences have been held with 
manufacturers and advertising agencies. It is in re- 
sponse to numerous requests that this brief summary 
has been prepared. 

The Curtis Publishing Company. 



Branch Offices of the Advertising Department of 
THE CURTIS PUBLISHING COMPANY 
Metropolitan Tower, New York City 
Home Insurance Building, Chicago 
Independence Square, Philadelphia 
Merchants National Bank Building, Boston 
First National Bank Building, San Francisco 



The Farm Market 

Farming the Predominant American Industry 

THE importance of the farm market is commen- 
surate with the importance of agriculture — the 
greatest American industry. Nearly one-third 
of the people in the United States, or over thirty mil- 
lion, Uve on farms. About twenty milhon more live 
in cities and villages of under 2,500. That is, approxi- 
mately one-half of the population is included in the 
farm and small-town market. 

However, the true farm market extends much 
farther than the small town. Nearly forty per cent 
of the farms in the United States are rented, and a 
large proportion of the owners hve in cities and 
villages. It is estimated that 2,000,000 acres of land 
are "farmed" out of the city of Chicago — that is, the 
land is owned by residents of the city and operated 
directly or rented. This is more or less typical of 
other great cities. In most minor cities in agricul- 
txiral sections one or more officials of the various 
banks, several of the members of the board of bank 
directors, merchants, lawyers, doctors, real estate 
operators and others own farms. In many instances 
they are directly interested in the operation of the 
farm and are purchasers of farm equipment. A manu- 
facturer of a farm-lighting plant advertised his plant 
in a high grade farm paper. He received sixteen 
inquiries from residents of the city of New York. On 
investigation it was found that eleven of these city 
inquirers owned farms, one managed a farm, two 

[7] 



FARMING 

AND OTHER INDUSTRIES 




Tokcl - *ao,6n,94+,55a 



were planning to buy one and two had friends owning 
farms. All were potential purchasers of lighting 
plants, and three had bought plants after they made 
inquiry and before the investigator called on them. 
That is, the true farm market extends all the way 
from the forty-acre farm in the isolated rural district 
to the top of the highest office buildings in our great 
cities. 

Farming and Other Industries 

The importance of the farm market is also indi- 
cated by the vast and rapidly increasing amount of 
capital invested in farming as indicated in Chart 1. 
The value of all farm property in 1910 amounted to 
approximately forty -one billions of dollars, which was 
more than the capital of all the manufacturing 
establishments, railways, mines and quarries of the 
United States as reported by the Census. In 1918 the 
value of farm property, conservatively estimated, is 
at least one-fourth more or fifty-one billions of dol- 
lars. Some estimates place the figure much higher. 

Increasing Value of Farm Property 

In the period from 1860 to 1900 the value of farm 
property steadily increased at each census period as 
indicated in Chart 2. But in the decade 1900 to 1910 
the value of farm property more than doubled. That 
is, the increase in farm property in this decade was 
more than the entire accumulation of farm property 
in aU the preceding years of our history. The increas- 
ing capital invested in farming is of great significance, 
for it indicates a profound change in farming meth- 
ods, a great increase in buying power, and a funda- 
mental change in the ideals and standards of the farm 
family. 

[9] 



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Changes in Farming 

In the earlier years of this period the farm was pri- 
marily a home. It was largely a self-contained unit — 
that is, the farm family raised and manufactured 
most of what they needed. They had but a small 
amount of capital invested. They had a low buying 
power. The farmer and his family were essentially 
manual laborers. Their profit was made mostly on 
the rise in the value of the land. Gradually this con- 
dition has changed. The farm is still and always will 
be a home, but it is now far more largely a commercial 
establishment. More of the farm work is done by 
machinery. Relatively little manufacturing is now 
done on the farm. The farm family is now a business 
unit selling its output in the market and buying there 
what the family needs. They have a considerable 
amount of capital invested. To illustrate, a county 
agricultural agent in one of the prosperous corn-belt 
counties in the Middle West said: "There are 250 
farmers in our farm bureau. They are the leading 
farmers in the county. How much capital do you 
suppose they have invested? It amounts to $60,000 
on the average." That is, the modem leadership farm 
family is operating a manufacturing establishment 
with considerable capital invested. 

To succeed, the farmer and his family must read, 
think, get expert assistance, and apply business 
principles to farming. Such a family demands m 
the home the same modern conveniences as are gen- 
erally found in city homes. They demand far more 
power machinery besides expensive farm implements. 
They ride in a good automobile, wear good clothes, 
buy good furniture and house furnishings, and con- 
sume a great variety of manufactured foods. Briefly, 
the leadership farm family of today buys a larger 

[11] 



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volume, a better quality and a greater variety of mer- 
chandise. 

Farming of Basic Importance 

Farming is the industry of basic importance. To 
illustrate, in normal times about forty per cent of the 
cost of manufacturing is wages. Over forty per cent 
of the average city family expenditure is for food. 
In other words, nearly half of the cost of production 
is labor, and about half of the cost of maintenance of 
labor is food. Hence, in that nation and in that sec- 
tion in which agriculture is backward and the cost of 
production of food is high, manufacturing is carried 
on at a disadvantage. Conversely, in those sections 
where more efficient -agriculture keeps down the cost 
of food production, manufacturing can be carried on 
more advantageously. 

Until recent years the United States has only to a 
small extent exported manufactured articles. Its 
exports have consisted primarily of food and raw 
materials. The greater portion, therefore, of our 
manufacturing superstructure has rested upon the 
markets furnished by the products of the land. What- 
ever, therefore, affects the prosperity of the basic 
markets soon affects the prosperity of the secondary 
markets. If, therefore, it can be determined what 
the conditions are likely to be in the farm market 
following the war, it will ftu-nish the best basis on 
which to estimate future merchandising possibilities 
in both the farm and the city market. 

The Upward Trend of the Farm Market 

The story of the farm market is a story of the 
struggle of a market upward. The farm output of the 
United States in 1879 was about $1,500,000,000. See 
Chart 3. For the next eighteen years its growth was 

[13] 



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slow, but in the ten years that followed 1897 it in- 
creased about 100 per cent. In the next eight years 
it increased about 50 per cent. From 1915 to 1917 
under the stimulus of war conditions farm output 
again increased 100 per cent, reaching a total gross 
income of approximately sixteen billion dollars. * 

Acreage of Improved Land and Population 

The upward trend of the farm market has been 
vitally affected by the relation between the growth of 
population and the increase in the amount of im- 
proved land under cultivation. For some years after 
the close of the war between the states, the acreage of 
improved land under cultivation increased more 
rapidly than the population. See Chart 4. From 
1870 to 1880, while the population of the United 
States increased 30 per cent, the acreage of improved 
land increased more than 50 per cent, or in other 
words, about 96,000,000 acres of land were put xmder 
cultivation. In the next decade the population in- 
creased 26 per cent and acreage of improved land 
kept pace, also increasing 26 per cent, or in other 
words, some 73,000,000 acres more were added. But 
from 1890 to 1900 population increased 21 per cent 
and cultivated land acreage but 16 per cent. Ap- 
proximately the same was true in the decade from 
1900 to 1910. That is, about 1890, population began 
to increase materially faster than cultivated acreage. 
At the same time much of the fertihty of the land put 
under the plow in the earUer period has been slowly 
depleted by continued cropping. 

*The sum of the value of crops and of animal products as given in the 
Census indicates a total farm output, or wealth produced annually on 
farms, of about $19,500,000,000, but this includes duplication, as hay and 
other crops are in part fed to the animals included in the estimate. It 
seems conservative to estimate the gross farm output, exclusive of dupli- 
cation, as exceeding sixteen biUions. 

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1900-1 



1909 AT 
1899 PRIC£» 



Changes in Farm Machinery 

During the period following 1870 there was also a 
revolution in farm machinery. Before the Civil War 
a man did well in a day to cut two acres of grain with 
a cradle and another man did well to follow after and 
bind the grain by hand. Then came the mower, the 
reaper, the harvester and the self-binder. It is esti- 
mated that in the 90's, the so-called "machine 
period" in American agriculture, four men on the 
farm did as much work as fourteen men in the 40's, 
the "hand period" of agriculture. The combination 
of increased acreage and improved farm machinery 
resulted in overproduction of farm products. Prices 
were forced doAvn and farming was unprofitable. It 
was in the 90's that in some of the western states com 
was used for fuel because it was cheaper than coal. 

Population and Crop Output 1900 and 1910 

However, in 1897 the farm income began to 
struggle upward. This was about the time when the 
population began to increase more rapidly than land 
acreage. The situation as to farm output and increase 
in population is further visualized in Chart 5. In the 
decade 1899 to 1909 the total volume of farm-crop 
output increased but 10 per cent, while the population 
increased 21 per cent, or twice as rapidly. Prices rose 
so that the total value of farm crops, that is quantity 
multiplied by price, increased 83 per cent. When de- 
mand as represented by population increases more 
rapidly than quantity of food produced, there is a dis- 
proportionate increase in price with a corresponding 
increase in the value of crops. This tends to produce 
on the one hand a higher level of food prices for con- 
sumers and on the other hand a longer margin of 
profit for the farmer. 

[17] 



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Growth of Cities 

The upward trend of the farm market has been 
profoundly influenced by the rapid growth of cities. 
Not only is the total population increasing more 
rapidly than acreage of improved land, but city popu- 
lation is increasing more rapidly than rural. In 1880 
30 per cent of the population of the United States 
Kved in cities and incorporated villages, while 70 per 
cent lived on farms and in unincorporated villages. 
But as shown on Chart 6, the city population in- 
creased more rapidly than the rural until in 1910 it 
made up 55 per cent of the total. As a matter of fact, 
if from the 45 per cent representing the rural the 
number of families living in unincorporated villages 
is subtracted, it will be found that less than one-third 
of the population of the United States is now living on 
farms. That is, in 1880 one farm family needed to 
raise enough food to sustain itself and a fraction of 
another family, while in 1910 one farm family needed 
to raise enough food to sustain itself and two other 
families. 

Population Gainfully Employed 

The same situation is portrayed by the chart of 
population gainfully employed. See Chart T^ While 
the number of people gainfully employed on the farm 
has increased from decade to decade, it has fallen be- 
hind in proportion to the total from 44 per cent in 
1880 to 33 per cent in 1910. On the other hand the 
population gainfully employed in manufacturing in- 
creased from 22 per cent to 28 per cent, and in trans- 
portation' from 11 per cent to 20 per cent. In other 
words, in 1910 one-third of the population gainfully 
employed on the farms had to raise enough food 
and raw materials to sustain itself and the two-thirds 
of the population gainfully employed elsewhere. 

[19] 



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Sources and Significance of Urban Growth 

The increase in urban population in 1900 to 1910 
amounted to nearly twelve million. Estimates of 
the so\irces of this urban growth indicate that 41 per 
cent came from immigration, 7 per cent was due to 
the incorporation of new city territory, 21 per cent 
was natural increase, while approximately 30 per cent 
or 3,500,000 was migration from rural to urban dis- 
tricts. See Chart 8. Economic opportunity has 
been greater in the city. There, work can be obtained 
throughout the year. The hours of work are shorter. 
In many lines wages in the city are better. Perhaps 
even more important, life is more pleasant in the city. 
Few if any city families in comfortable circumstances 
will consent to live in a house without modem con- 
veniences — water, bath, indoor toilet, finnace heat, 
gas or electric Ughts. Only a small proportion of the 
farm homes, as yet, have these conveniences. Su- 
perior schools in cities and vUlages attract many from 
the farm. Those in middle hfe prefer to move to the 
city because a better church is more conveniently 
located. The picture show is just around the corner. 
The doctor is nearer at hand. 

It seems human nature to desire to hve in the city. 
The Greek preferred to hve in Athens rather than in 
the nn-al district. The Roman loved the Circus 
rather than the farm. In both France and England, 
prior to the opening of the war, there was serious 
discussion on the relative decline of the rural popu- 
lation. In Germany also this same problem was 
receiving attention. It is customary to deplore the 
rapid growth of cities. But if the cities had not grown 
there would not be a market for farm products at 
prices which enable the American farmer and his 
family to maintain an American standard of hving. 

[21] 



URBAM GROWTH"'" UMITED STATES 

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In other words, there would be no great farm market 
for manufactured products. 

City Growth Likely to Continue 

Summarized, the situation is as follows : The total 
volume of food and other farm products required in- 
creases with the growth of our population. Increased 
eflficiency of farm labor, through the use of more 
power machinery and better methods of farming, 
makes it possible for a relatively smaller number of 
people to produce the food and raw materials re- 
quired by our population. 

It is generally agreed that in the near future, by 
employing better methods in farming and improved 
machinery, each farm family on the average will 
produce a larger volume of food — perhaps the food 
required for five or six families, or possibly even more, 
rather than for three families as at present. Hence, 
a relatively smaller number of f amiHes will be required 
on farms. 

Each farm family produces more and has greater 
buying power. A rapidly rising standard of hving 
inevitably follows. 

Naturally this change means a vastly larger de- 
mand on the part of farm families for a great variety 
of merchandise. At the same time a larger city popu- 
lation is likely to be required to produce this in- 
creased output of manufactured products. Hence, 
the cities are likely to continue to grow more rapidly, 
than the rural population. 

In other words, the farming population had per- 
manently passed to a new standard of earning and 
spending even before the war opened. However, 
with war prices the upward movement of farm in- 
comes proceeded far more rapidly. 

[23] 



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The War and the Farmer 

The gross farm income increased over 100 per cent 
after the war opened. The significance of this to the 
individual farmer is portrayed in Chart 9. In the three 
oldest of the middle western states — Ohio, Indiana 
and Illinois — the average gross value of the thir- 
teen principal crops per farm in 1917 was $2,288, as 
compared with $964 on the average for the pre-war 
period of 1911 to 1915 — an increase of 137 per cent. 
It is estimated that farm costs increased 50 per cent 
during the war. At this estimate the $964 received in 
the pre-war period had merely covered the cost of 
production; one-half of this amount or $482, would 
represent the increase in cost of production in 1917. 
Subtracting this from the total increase of $1,324, 
it leaves an increased net profit of $842, an amount 
comparable with the gross earnings on a pre-war 
basis. In Georgia, North Carolina and South Caro- 
hna the increase per farm was less, while the per- 
centage increase, 129 per cent, was about the same. 
But in this section the average amount of improved 
land per farm was but 37 acres, whereas in the three 
middle western states it was 86 acres. 

The true increase in farm prosperity was therefore 
not very different in the two sections. In the typical. 
Middle Atlantic states the average increase was some- 
what less. 

The average output per farm is significant in com- 
paring the condition of farming during the war with 
that of the pre-war period. Obviously this aver- 
age is not an index of the buying power of the efficient 
farmer in either period. In averaging farmers to- 
gether, as in averaging lawyers or doctors, so many 
are included who have made failures that the average 
is far below that for the successful. The efficient 

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leadership farmer had an income in both periods far 
above the figures which are indicated on the chart. 

Every section of the country showed a marked 
increase in the value of the farm crops. The advance 
was least in New England (see Map I), where the in- 
crease of 48 per cent was only about enough to cover 
the increase in cost. It was highest in the great agri- 
cultural belt of the central portion of the United 
States, showing an increase of 123 per cent in the Cen- 
tral West and South and an increase of 125 per cent in 
the area between the Mississippi and Rocky Moun- 
tains. 

Better Business Methods on the Farm 

The war profoundly affected farming in many 
ways. It promoted better farming and better busi- 
ness methods on the farm. To illustrate, large num- 
bers of farmers, especially those of the leadership 
type, must now make an income-tax return. Hence, 
it is now necessary to keep farm records. Farmers 
now far more generally recognize the necessity of 
keeping farm accounts. Agricultural colleges and 
other agencies have prepared farm business record 
books. County agents and bankers are distributing 
these books and instructing farmers in their use. 
Naturally this emphasizes the importance of knowing 
costs. 

Nearly every survey of hundreds and even thou- 
sands of farms shows that a considerable propor- 
tion of farmers get nothing for their own labor and 
managerial ability. They barely make interest on 
their investment. When this fact is brought home to 
the farmer in a written record he will naturally be 
stimulated to get expert assistance, to improve his 
farm methods — in a word, to become a more efficient 
farmer with a larger income. 

[27] 



In all sections it is reported that the war has 
aroused a more open-minded attitude on the part of 
the farmers. They were never before so ready to vote 
money to hire a county agent, to listen to his advice, 
and to seek advice from agricultural experts. They 
have cooperated with city people in Liberty Bond, 
Red Cross, Young Men's Christian Association and 
other campaigns. They have been taken out of their 
rural isolation as never before. Further, when it costs 
50 per cent more to operate a farm, when the hired 
man is getting $50 to $60 a month or even more, it 
costs more to be an inefficient farmer. On the other 
hand, when wheat is $2.20 a bushel and many other 
farm products proportionally high, it pays better 
to be an efficient farmer. 

Greater Financial Independence for the Farmer 

During the war large numbers of farmers paid 
off their debts and accumulated money. In all 
agricultural sections the banker reports: "Many 
farmers whom we have been carrying for years now 
have a comfortable bank balance." That is, the 
farmer is gaining a more independent financial 
position. He is not obhged to buy on credit and pay 
the merchant an abnormally large profit, but is in a 
position to pay cash and trade with whom he pleases. 
He is not obliged to sell his crops as soon as they are 
harvested, but can hold them for better prices. He is 
a better credit risk. Hence, the banker can afford to 
loan the farmer more money at a lower rate. At the 
same time the farmer is in a position to demand better 
terms. The net result is that the farmer is now able to 
make the farm pay him a larger net income. Stated 
briefly, the war has lifted farming to a new and higher 
plane of efficiency. 

[28] 



A Permanently Larger Farm Income 

Apparently agriculture has permanently passed to 
a position in which it will yield a larger net income to 
the farmer. The basic economic forces affecting agri- 
culture seem to assure the maintenance of relatively 
high prices for farm products and the maintenance 
of a larger margin of profit in farming. As food prices 
and land values rise, there will naturally be a stronger 
incentive to bring additional land under cidtivation. 
Something can be done in this line. It is estimated 
that there are still some thirty million acres of land 
that can be irrigated, sixty million that can be made 
fertile by drainage, and roughly about two hundred 
milhon acres of fertile cut-over timberland. On great 
numbers of farms there is still waste land, some of 
which can be made productive. In the aggregate this 
is a large acreage. But these increases in acreage re- 
quire capital, effort and time. The era of free land is 
practically past. 

Nowhere does there exist land which as in the 
earlier days can be rapidly thrown under cultivation 
in a way to break food prices and make farming un- 
profitable. 

Factors Promoting Agricultural Progress 

Not only has agricultural income permanently 
reached a new and a higher level, but many factors 
are promoting further agricultural progress . In other 
words, agricultural incomes and farm standards of 
Uving seem destined in the near future to reach a still 
higher level. 

Apparently the fundamental problem is to increase 
Ihe yield per acre and the output per domestic 
animal, and at the same time to increase the net in- 
come per farmer. 

[29] 



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More Efficient Production 

More efl5cient production is a vital element in 
solving this problem. "When the yield per acre is in- 
creased above our present yields, the cost of produc- 
tion per luiit of output, that is per bushel, bale or 
ton, tends to decrease. It costs about the same to 
plow, plant, cultivate and harvest an acre of corn 
whether the yield is 30 or 60 bushels per acre. Chart 
10 illustrates a study of a number of farms in Ohio 
made by the Ohio State Agricultural College. On 
those farms where the yield of corn was 36 bushels per 
acre, the labor cost of producing it was 34 cents a 
bushel. But where the yield was 59 bushels, the labor 
cost of production was but 21 cents a bushel. In the 
latter instance the price of corn or pork might mate- 
rially drop and still leave a net profit to the farmer. 
But with a 36-bushel yield a slight drop in price would 
mean a net loss to the farmer. 

The same typical situation is true of all other 
crops. The average yield of wheat in the United States 
is approximately 15 bushels per acre. But the efiicient 
farmer easily raises twenty-five and materially reduces 
his cost of production. The same is true in the pro- 
duction of dairy products. Large numbers of milch 
cows on the farms of the United States are "board- 
ers." Gradually these are being displaced with cows 
which give a far larger yield at a lower cost of pro- 
duction per pound of butter fat. The same principle 
applies in the production of meat and poultry prod- 
ucts. All that is included under the general term 
" good farming," such as rotation of crops, better seed, 
growing more legumes, raising crops on land best 
suited to the crop, keeping more and better stock, the 
judicious use of commercial fertilizer — all tend to in- 
crease yields and lower costs of production. 

[31] 



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Motorizing the Farm 

Another vital element in increasing the output of 
food and raw materials is the motorizing or mech- 
anizing of the farm. This is perhaps the most far- 
reaching change now taking place in farming. 

The tractor is of fundamental importance in the 
motorizing of the farm. Plowing requires more power 
than any other one job on the average farm. On a 
farm for which the tractor is adapted the plowing can 
be done better with a tractor and in much shorter 
time. The man who plows with horses starts out 
doing a good piece of work in the morning. As the 
day wears on he gradually lifts the plow to save the 
horses, and by afternoon is doing less efficient work. 
But he who plows with the tractor can plow at exactly 
the depth best suited to the soil throughout the entire 
day, for the tractor will plow all day, and all night, 
too, without getting tired. Further, with the tractor 
he can plow in a single day nearly as much as he could 
in a week with two or three horses. He can therefore 
plow his ground quickly and when it is in the best 
condition for plowing. 

Conservation of food makes it desirable that the 
tractor shoidd replace part of the horses on American 
farms, for it is estimated that each horse or mule con- 
sumes about one-fourth of what it produces. The 
number of horses on the farms continued to increase 
up to 1910 at about the same rate as the acreage of 
improved land. See Chart 11. Contrary to the com- 
mon impression, the number did not decrease ma- 
terially after the outbreak of the war, but in 1917 the 
number of horses and mules on American farms stood 
at the highest point in our history, exceeding twenty- 
five million. With rising prices it is more advantage- 
ous to feed an engine with gasoline or even alcohol 

[33] 



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than to allow horses to consume so much food— part 
of which might be converted to human use. 

At first the tractor industry developed slowly, with 
' a production m 1912 of 11,500. See Chart 12. Two 
years later the output was 15,000, then 21,000, then 
35,000, and then 55,000 in 1917. In 1918 the output 
is estimated at about 100,000. It appears likely that 
the output will amount to 250,000 by 1920, if mate- 
rial and labor are available. 

It is estimated conservatively that the potential 
tractor market will exceed 1,250,000. Some estimates 
place the number much larger. If the average life of 
a tractor be estimated at five years, it would indicate 
an annual replacement market of 250,000. This, to- 
gether with the necessity of filling the original market, 
makes it seem quite possible that 400,000 or even 
500,000 tractors may eventually be sold in a year. It 
is interesting to note that 250,000 tractors at $1,000 
each means a market of $250,000,000, which is about 
as large as the entire annual output of the agricultural 
implement industry before the war, which amounted 
to $164,000,000 in 1914 at manufactiu-ers' prices. 
The tractor industry in itself seems to offer greater 
possibilities than did the entire agricultural imple- 
ment industry before the war. 

It is estimated that there are on the farms of the 
United States from 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 auto- 
mobiles. In every agricultural section dealers report 
that prior to the opening of the war they were selling 
more automobiles to farmers than to the city popula- 
tion. With the return of normal times the number of 
automobiles on farms is likely to materially increase, 
for the automobile is increasingly essential to the 
eflficient operation of the farm. 

It is estimated that in normal times farmers buy 
annually 250,000 gasoline engmes. It is reported that 

[35] 



POWER ON AMERICAN FARMS 




Totav - aT.aoo.ooo H.P. 



Used, on Farms 



Used in, rianufcLCturinoEstab'sl 



2.7,000,000 H.R 



aa,5oo,ooo h.p. 



100,000 electric power plants will be sold to farmers 
in 1918. They are used not only for lighting farm 
homes and barns but also for supplying the mechan- 
ical power for a great variety of minor operations. 
Further, it is estimated that 60,000 water systems 
will be sold on farms in 1918. The number of milking 
machiaes sold annually is steadily increasing. Nat- 
urally this means that more dairy cows can be kept on 
farms, for one man can milk more cows, and at less cost. 

The motor truck seems destined to have a wide 
sale on farms. In many sections, rural motor ex- 
press routes are being established, operating out of 
large cities as centers. In many instances farmers 
ship produce into town on these trucks in the morn- 
ing and have their purchases delivered in the after- 
noon. The Post Office Department is steadily 
increasing the number of trucks on the parcel post 
delivery routes. The farm family now orders goods 
by telephone and has goods delivered either by parcel 
post or rural truck express routes. Obviously, less 
time is then consumed by the farmer than in driving 
to town and more time is available for farm work on 
the mechanized farm: 

The possession of these motor vehicles will neces- 
sitate a service station on many farms, for timeliness 
of operation is a large factor in the value of any of 
these motor vehicles. The man who must depend 
upon a^garage man coming out for service work "day 
after tomorrow" is likely to lose a large part of the 
margin of profit on his investment. In a word, farm- 
ing is increasingly a great power-using industry. 

Usually we do not think of the farm as a power- 
using industry. But at a conservative estimate the 
horses on farms represent about fifteen million horse 
power. To this we must add six million for gasoline 
engines, three million for gasoline tractors and three 

[37] 



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million for steam tractors. We have a total of twentv- 
seven million horse power on farms, whic]j^j|^|]&E|^j 
cent more than was accredited by the Census of 1914 
to all manufacturing establishments in the United 
States. See Chart 13. 

Trend to Larger Farms 

The motorization of the farm is likely to mean 
larger farms, especially in sections devoted to general 
farming. It takes about the same investment in 
buildings, the same self-binder, automobile and trac- 
tor for a 100 as for a 160 acre farm. Grantiag that 
some implements must be duphcated, the overhead 
cost is usually greater on a smaller farm. With 
equally efficient management it costs more to raise 
a bushel of wheat, a pound of meat or a quart of milk 
on a small farm. This will be increasingly true as 
farms are more generally motorized. Surveys of large 
numbers of farms show that the farmer's labor income 
steadily rises up to at least a four or five hundred acre 
farm. On these farms the farmer is using his time, his 
ability and his investment more efficiently. 

The tendency to larger farms was in evidence 
before the tractor became a factor in the Central 
West. See Chart 14. Comparing the Census of 1910 
with the Census of 1900 we find that farms under 
20 acres tended to increase, due probably to the 
development of truck and fruit farming. But the 
number of farms in the classification of smaller acre- 
age, from 20 to 100 acres, tended to decrease. The 
farms from 100 to 175 acres in size remained about 
stationary, while the farms with larger acreage, at 
least up to 1,000 acres, showed a marked tendency to 
increase. The more general use of the tractor and 
other power machinery is likely to accelerate this, 
movement. 

[39] 



FARMS IN UNITED STATES 



BY SIZE 
1910 



fl8% 



175 Acres & 0«-«,i" 



J, 153.000 



IQO- 114- Acres 



Under 50 ftci-es 



Z,i53.00Q 



1516,00C 



50-99 ftcrcs 



S5%/ 



.24% 



1.436,000 
Total- e,561.000 Faftns 



This does not necessarily mean a few very large 
farms, for agricultural experts tell us that at the 
present time when a farm exceeds 500 acres the in- 
creased cost of supervision more than equals the 
advantages of larger size. Possibly with a motorized 
farm the maximum number of acres for eflficient han- 
dling as a unit may be larger. Obviously, there is 
some unit of maximum advantage in farming, and the 
man who utihzes this unit, while he operates at an 
advantage over the farmer with a smaller acreage, 
does not compete at a disadvantage with the producer 
who controls a larger acreage. 

The tendency to larger farms, then, does not 
necessarily mean a few great landowners, but it ap- 
parently does mean that the 1,150,000 farms of over 
175 acres are likely to be increased in number. See 
Chart 15. Stated otherwise, it means that there will 
be a larger number of leadership farm families who 
more efficiently apply business principles to farming, 
who have more wants, and who have the income 
necessary to buy the merchandise required to satisfy 
these wants. 

Commercial Fertilizer 

It is likely that the output on the farm and the 
farm income will be materially increased by the more 
general and judicious use of commercial fertilizers. 
The experience of leading farmers in all agricultural 
sections and a multitude of experiments prove that 
increased yields of most farm crops, and at a lower 
cost of production, can be secured by the use of com- 
mercial fertilizer. To illustrate, in Indiana the use of 
commercial fertilizer on wheat land by representative 
farmers in ten counties showed an average net profit 
of 180 per cent over and above the cost of the fer- 
tilizer. Stated otherwise, the average expenditure for 

[41] 



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fertilizer per acre was about four dollars. The in- 
creased yield was a little over eleven bushels. The 
increased net profit was over seven dollars an acre 
when wheat sold at one dollar a bushel. In 1917, 
under wartime prices for both fertilizer and wheat, the 
net profit would have been 285 per cent. See Chart 16. 
Similar experiments in corn land in the Middle West, 
hay land in the East, fruit and truck land show fully 
as startUng results. Not only is the yield increased, 
but usually the quality of the crop is much improved. 
It is matured earlier. The yield is more certain. Looked 
at from another angle, commercial fertilizer is a means 
of making farm labor more eft'ective — that is, it re- 
duces the amount of labor required to produce a 
bushel, bale, pound, ton or quart of output. 

Thus far we have used commercial fertilizer for 
cotton, truck and fruit crops in regions of specialized 
farming, and more or less on farming lands in the 
East. In the great Central West the use of commer- 
cial fertihzer has mcreased but slowly. The middle 
western farmer has not yet felt obliged to use it to keep 
up his yields. At present he is likely to consider its 
use a reflection on his land. He is prejudiced against 
it. However, it is the consensus of opinion of those 
who are best mf ormed that the general use of commer- 
cial fertilizer in the United States is but a question of 
time and education. In the leading nations of Western 
Europe the crop yields per acre in normal times are 
approximately double those of the United States. 
European agricultural experts estimate that in get- 
ting the mcreased yield, commercial fertilizer is at 
least a 75 per cent factor. It might not be profitable 
for American farmers to attempt to equal European 
yields, for the point of diminishing returns might be 
reached, and our aim in the United States is and must 
continue to be the maximum income per farmer. But 

[43] 



FARM INDEBTEDNESS 



ESTIMATED 

MORTGAGES 



4!S, 




$3,600,000,000 



PERSONAL 




$2,-4oo.oao.ooo 

CHnRTiT Total $6,0OO.0QO,00a 



a multitude of experiments and the experience of 
great numbers of successful farmers prove that farm 
income can be materially increased by using com- 
mercial fertilizer to increase our yields considerably 
above our present level. 

Farm Financing 

The income of large numbers of farmers will be 
materially increased by better farm financing. The 
total farm indebtedness in the United States is esti- 
mated at approximately $6,000,000,000, of which a 
little less than two-thirds is mortgage indebtedness. 
See Chart 17. While $6,000,000,000 is avast sum, it is 
only 12 per cent of the value of all farm property. It is 
estimated that the average interest rate on the total 
farm indebtedness — both mortgage and personal — -is 
8}4 per cent. On mortgages the interest rate varies 
from 5 per cent on farnis in the most highly devel- 
oped sections to from 15 to 20 per cent, including 
commissions for renewals, in the West and South. On 
personal indebtedness the interest rates, especially 
for tenant farmers, often run far higher than this. 

Many influences are operating to reduce this in- 
terest rate. In the past few years banks have done 
much to develop farming, by more liberal loans, by 
financing the purchase of high-grade stock, and by 
offering prizes to stimulate calf, pig and corn clubs. 
Several banks employ agricultural agents. As the 
farmer becomes more efficient he is a better credit 
risk. As he keeps farm accounts he is able to make a 
financial statement and get a larger line of credit at 
the bank. The Farm Loan Act was passed in July, 
1916. On August 31, 1918, there were over three thou- 
sand farm-loan associations which have placed 88,000 
approved loans aggregating $186,000,000. On this, 
farmers now pay 5}4 per cent interest or 6}^ per 

[45] 



cent including amortization payments. Previous to 
the opening of the war the interest was 5 per cent. 
That is, there is the equivalent of a farm-loan associa- 
tion for each agricultural county in the United States, 
although as yet they are located mostly in the West 
and South, where interest rates are, higher. 

The effect of farm-loan associations is far greater 
than the number of farmers who belong to them or 
the amount of money they have borrowed. The 
effect of these associations is to stabilize other farm 
mortgage loans at about the same rate. Bills have 
been introduced in Congress to improve farm-credit 
facilities on personal-credit loans. It has been well 
said: "In the past, money has been loaned the farmer 
primarily from the viewpoint of profit to the money 
lender. In the future, farming will be financed more 
largely from the standpoint of developing agriculture." 

If interest rates on farm loans can now be reduced 
to an average of 5 per cent, as seems probable, it 
would mean a net saving in annual interest charges 
to farmers in the United States of $200,000,000. 
That is, the farmer's net profits would be increased 
by this amount which in itself would represent a vast 
market. It would buy 200,000 tractors at $1,000 
each. It would buy nearly a half million lighting 
plants or several hundred thousand water systems. 
This addition to net profits would permit the installa- 
tion of nearly a million furnaces in farm homes. It 
would buy many thousands of automobiles for farm 
families. It would buy a vast amount of additional 
furniture and house furnishings and better clothes. 

However, better financing of the farm means far 
more than a vast saving in interest charges. Thou- 
sands of farms should have more and better stock, 
silos, and better barns. Thousands of acres can be 
made more productive by tiling. A vast area of land 

[46] 



would be made more productive by a liberal applica- 
tion of lime. Farm efficiency would be improved by 
better farm homes. More power machinery would 
increase farm output. In a word, under efficient man- 
agement, more liberal financing of the farm would 
greatly increase the income of the farm family. 

Better Farm Marketing and Buying 

The farm income is steadily being increased by the 
more efficient marketing of farm crops and the more 
advantageous purchase of farm supplies. To illustrate, 
in California about 8,000 citrus growers marketed* a 
crop valued at about $50,000,000 in 1917. The selling 
expense was but 1.55 per cent. That is, they saved in 
the aggregate several million dollars in lower selling 
expenses. On the average they save about one million 
dollars a year through cooperative purchasing of sup- 
phes in larger volume. But the advantages of the 
citrus growers' exchange are far greater than lower 
selling expenses. They have used national advertising 
effectively to develop a larger market for citrus fruit. 
More efficient selling methods are now used. The 
fruit is now distributed far more advantageously. 
The quaUty of the output has been greatly improved. 
The net result is a handsome addition to the net in- 
come of 8,000 growers. 

In a somewhat less marked degree cooperative 
selling and buying is now used by many lines of farm- 
ers, such as the potato growers, as well as by produc- 
ers of truck and fruit in several regions of specialized 
production. The cranberry growers have a strong 
selling organization. There are over two thousand 
farmer-owned grain elevators, about the same num- 
ber of farmer-owned creameries, and several hundred 
cooperative stock-marketing associations. Several of 
the great organizations of farmers have been instru- 

[47] 



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mental in organizing a large number of local marketing 
and buying organizations of farmers. In the aggre- 
gate the number of farmers' cooperative marketing 
associations is estimated at 10,000, which market 
products valued at one billion dollars a year. Some 
failures are inevitable. But gradually the farmers in 
all sections are learning to apply better business 
methods in marketing and buying. This does not nec- 
essarily mean the elimination of the retail dealer. 
Where the dealer renders the same service on equally 
advantageous terms he is likely to do most of the busi- 
ness. In a word, he must do a larger volume at a lower 
percentage of gross profit. 

More efficient methods of distribution, which in- 
crease the farmer's net income, naturally make farm- 
ing more attractive and help to keep a larger number 
of more efficient men on the farms. More capable 
farmers produce a larger volume at a lower cost, 
tending in a measure to check rising food prices and 
at the same time provide a more satisfactory net in- 
come for the farm family. 

Government'al Agencies 

Governmental agencies — national, state and lo- 
cal — are doing a vast amount to promote progress in 
agriculture. The United States Department of Agri- 
culture is a great and interesting factor in agricultural 
progress. In 1904 the Department of Agriculture 
received appropriations of a little over $6,000,000. 
This amount has been increased from time to time 
imtil in 1918 imder war conditions the appropriations 
were $68,000,000. Agricultural colleges everywhere 
are the backbone of agricultural progress. The aggre- 
gate amount voted to support the agricultural colleges 
in 1917 was nearly four times what it was in 1904. 
See Chart 18. Even more important, we now employ 

[49] 



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experts to take the improved methods in agriculture 
worked out by the State Colleges of Agriculture and 
the United States Department of Agriculture out to 
the farmer. Leading farmers are induced to try new 
methods. Other farmers follow their example. That 
is, these agencies are now dynamic, whereas formerly 
they were more largely static. 

One of the most important forces in improving 
agriculture today is the county agent. There are 
2,920 agricultural counties in the United States. In 
over three-fourths of the counties a county agent is 
now employed. See Map 11. In several counties one 
or more assistant agents are also hired. They take out 
to the farmer better methods in farming, help him to 
produce more efficiently and to market his crops more 
advantageously — in a word, to earn more money. In 
addition to these county agents some of the large city 
banks employ county agents who guide the farmers in 
applying loans to uses that will increase net profits. 
In some instances railroads employ county agents. 
Banks, railroads and city chambers of commerce have 
actively promoted the county agent movement and 
have extended financial assistance. 

In approximately 1,700 counties a woman home- 
demonstration agent is employed to work with the 
farmers' wives and daughters. Not only are better 
methods of canning, care of poultry, etc., taught, but 
better sanitation and more home improvements are 
installed and more organizations of farm women are 
promoted. That is, home demonstration agents help^ 
farm women to add to the farm income and also to 
establish a higher standard of living on the farm.J 
This movement for more expert assistance on the 
farm is steadily growing, especially under the stimulus 
of war conditions. In the near future every agricul- 
tural county in the United States is likely to have 

[51] 



both a county agricultural agent and a home demon- 
stration agent. 

On June 30, 1918, over 600,000 boys and girls on 
the farm were enrolled in corn, calf, pig, poultry, 
home-garden and other clubs. It is estimated that 
the total enroUment for the year 1918 will reach well 
over one million. In the southern states, in 1917, the 
40,000 boys enrolled in com clubs raised on the aver- 
age nearly 50 bushels of com to the acre, or about 
twice the amount raised by their fathers. The same 
is also true in other sections. County agents generally 
report that next year the father "raises com the com 
club way." This is typical of the results in farm clubs 
in other Unes. Coimty agents generally report that 
the boy is the avenue through which in a very large 
number of instances the father is most effectively j 
reached and influenced. 

Education on the farm is improving. The one- 
room country school is slowly passing away. Its 
place is taken by the consohdated school, with a larger 
enrollment, better teachers and a more interesting 
school. In this school agriculture, domestic science 
and manual training are taught. That is, the school 
curriculum is more closely connected with the inter- 
ests of the boys and girls on the farm. About 3,000 
schools are now teaching agriculture. 

Farm Journals 

Farm journals were the first great educational 
agencies in American agriculture. They have been a 
potent factor in promoting the fundamentals of better 
farming, more efficient production, better marketing, 
better rtu-al education, farm home improvements and 
the encouragement of agriculture by governmental 
action. The better methods in agriculture worked out 
by agricultural colleges have been taken to great 

[53] 



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BASED DM A STUDV MA&C BV 
THE COL^KSC. OF naRICUl.TURE, 

WMiwcHBi-rv or wiscoHSitt* 



numbers of farmers by the agricultural journals. They 
have been the medium for the interchange of farm 
experiences. 

Agricultural joumiils which keep abreast of the 
times and which serve the needs of the modern scien- 
tific business farmer are playing a great and increas- 
ing part in raising agriculture to a new and higher 
level of income and of living. 

All of these influences, and many others, are doing 
two things of fundamental importance: They are in- 
creasing the buying power of the farm family, and they 
are raising the standard of living on the farm — that 
is, they are arousing in the farm family a desire for a 
greater variety and a better quality of merchandise. 

Rising Standard of Living on the Farm 

The first and fundamental factor in determining 
the amoimt and kind of merchandise which an indi- 
vidual or a group of people purchase is buying power — 
that is, the amount of money and credit they have to 
buy with. 

The second factor is the standard of hving. To 
illustrate, thousands of farm famUies are financially 
able to have a water system and a bathtub in the house 
who do not as yet have these conveniences. 

However, the standard of hving on the farm is 
rapidly rising. More farm homes are being provided 
with modern conveniences — furnaces, water and light- 
ing systems. These in turn stimulate a demand for 
better rugs and house furnishings and better clothes. 
A wider variety of food is now served on the farm table. 
Better .linen and china are used. More labor-saving 
equipment is being installed in farm homes. In al- 
most every line the taste of the farm family is being 
improved. 

[55] 



FARM HOME EftUIPMEMT 

ORAM6E TdWMSMrP. BLACK HAWK COUMTV. IOWA. 



TOTAL ND. OF HQUSCS 

ruRHACC. HOT Na/ATCR OR 
STCftM MtftT 

ELECTRIC fr GAS MSHT 
RUNNIN6 WATER 
BATH TUa 
SLEEPine PORCH 
INDOOR TOILET 

VACUUM CLEANER 
POWCR WASHER 
REFRIGERATOR 
OIL COOK »TQV£ 
ELECTRIC OR 6A» IRON 

TELCPMOME 

PIANO 

AUTOnOBILE 



zs sg 25 loo i£5 ISO 



^^^^^^^^^:rz% 






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^^^^^^3 5% 



^^^^25% 



333% 



«(H) OF Ta-TKl, nUMBCR or HOUSES 



BASKB DM DATA TKMEM PROM 

THE M»Ut.TS or MME RURAL SQCIAL SURVCVJ IN I0W4* 

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Education and Home Improvements 

The relation between education and home im- 
provements is illustrated by a study of 825 farm 
homes made by the Agricultural College of the 
University of Wisconsin. See Chart 19. The propor- 
tion having home improvements steadily increases 
with education. Where the parents had taken a short 
course in agriculture have or have had a high-school 
education, a larger number insisted on home improve- 
ments. But the proportion rises far more rapidly 
among those who have had a college education. — 

A study of all the farm homes in Orange Town- 
ship, Blackhawk County, Iowa, was made by the 
Iowa Agricultural College. Chart 20 illustrates the 
result of this study in graphic form. Half of all 
the farm homes in this township had furnaces, while 
the proportion having water, baths and electric or gas 
lights was somewhat less. Nearly half of the homes 
had such labor-saving conveniences as vacuum clean- 
ers, power washers and electric irons. Nearly all these 
homes had telephones, over half had pianos, and 
about half of them had automobiles. This is not a 
picture of the average conditions in farm homes 
throughout the United States, but it is a picture of a 
condition somewhat exceptional at present but to 
which we are rapidly approaching. Each home im- 
provement calls for others. 

Modernizing the Farm Home 

For example, it is the general experience of dis- 
tributors of electric Ughting plants that the purchase 
of a lighting plant is followed by the purchase of a 
considerable amoimt of better furniture and house 
furnishings. Better wall paper is required. More 
paint and varnish are used. When the electric lights 

[57] 



are turned on, the rugs, the furniture and other house 
furnishings, which seemed satisfactory when kerosene 
lamps were in use, are not now so attractive. The 
electric power plant makes it far easier to have a 
water system in the farm home, with indoor toilet 
and bath, and have the water system 100 per cent 
efficient. The power washer, the electrically operated 
ironing machine, the vacuum cleaner, the electric iron 
and the electric fan can bie utilized. The water can be 
pumped, the churn can be operated, the grindstone 
turned, the cream separated, and a variety of other 
minor operations performed in and about the farm 
home by electric power. 

The installation of a water system and a lighting 
plant raises the standard of sanitation in the farm 
home. More soap and cleaning compounds of all 
kinds are used. More frequent baths stimulate greater 
pride in personal appearance, leading not only to a 
demand for better clothes, but for more toilet prepa- 
rations and all the other lines that are found essential 
by the well-groomed man or woman. The furnace 
eliminates the necessity of rimning several stoves and 
the resulting labor and inconvenience. Briefly stated, 
the modernizing of the farm home is an influence of 
tremendous power in promoting a taste for more and 
better things on the farm. 

The Automobile on the Farm 

The automobile has probably done more to revo- 
lutionize the methods on the farm and the farm 
standards than any other one influence. With the 
automobile the farm family travels more. In the 
next township they see farms with well-painted homes, 
and barns and fences. A silo has been built. Plowing 
is done with a tractor. When they call on their friends 
they may find that they have modern conveniences in 

[58] 



their homes, that they milk their cows with a milking 
machine, separate then- cream, pump the water, do 
the washing, and perform much other more or less 
exhausting manual labor with a gasoline engine or with 
electric power. The farm family come home with a 
broader vision and more open minds. They go more 
frequently to the city trading center. They visit up- 
to-date city stores. They mingle with city people. 
They attend the moving-picture show or the theater. 
They patronize the ice-cream parlor. In a word, they 
gradually adopt city standards of living. 

The automobile promotes more efficient farming. 
If a part is needed in a machine, it is quickly secured 
and the machine put in working order again. If hog- 
cholera serum is needed or insecticides or fungicides 
to fight plant enemies, they are readily secured. More 
and more in the busy season the family do their shop- 
ping in the evening or in the noon hour. In a word, 
with the automobile, labor is more efficiently em- 
ployed on the farm. Also the automobile tends 
to raise the standard of farm family expenditures. 
Many a dealer reports that "whenever an unusually 
economical farmer has bought a car and paid a few 
automobile bills his standard of expenditure rises or 
he sells the car. He does not sell the car." 

Concentration of Farm Trade 

Not only is the buying power of the farm family 
steadily increasing and the standard of living rising, 
but the farm family is now more accessible than ever 
before. More and more the trade of farm families is 
concentrating in the county seat cities and in cities 
which are local trading centers. In all agricultural 
sections dealers generally report that their trade from 
the farms and villages covers a radius at least twice as 
large as a few years ago. Hence, the manufacturer 

[59] 



who has national distribution that adequately reaches 
the smaller cities is already reaching the farm market 
in all the more expensive or shopping lines. Also he is 
increasingly reaching the farm tra,de in less expensive 
lines, for when the family goes to the trading center to 
shop they naturally buy more or less of the cheaper 
articles. However, the village store does and is likely 
to continue to do a large volume of business in con- 
venience lines, such as groceries, toilet preparations, 
notions, overalls and other work clothes, and staple 
lines of hardware. Hence, an adequate distribution 
of these convenience lines necessitates jobber co- 
operation, involving at most simply an extension 
rather than a change in seUing methods. 

The automobile has been the largest single factor 
in this concentration of trade. This is likely to be 
even more marked with the improvement of country 
roads. However, other factors have contributed to 
this concentration of trade. There are over three mil- 
lion telephones on the farm — that is, approximately 
one-half of all farm families now have the telephone. 
Over one-half of aU farm families now have the rural 
free delivery. Briefly stated, the improvement in the 
means of communication and transportation has in 
fact moved the farm family nearer to the city. 

Not only is the farm family physically more ac- 
cessible. They are also more accessible to the message 
conveyed by the printed page, far more and more farm 
families read high grade farm publications, leading 
periodicals, daily papers and other literatm-e deliv- 
ered to the farm family each morning by rural free 
deUvery. 

At the same time the merchant in the small city 
is steadily improving. The up-to-date rural merchant 
now carries a well-selected stock of nationally known 
products. He runs an attractive store. He aggres- 

[60] 



siyely goes after the trade in the farming territory- 
tributary to the city. That is, he goes out with his 
message to the people. The concentration of trade in 
local trading centers affords to the merchant a larger 
opportunity. This attracts a more' capable man to 
utiHze the opportunity. The old-time merchants are 
gradually eliminated or are stimulated to growth and 
improvement. In brief, a race of far more eJEcient 
merchants in small cities is in process of evolution. 

The Influence of Leadership 

The problem of reaching any group of people is 
largely a problem of reaching the leaders. The retail 
merchant says: "I carry what my customers want." 
Analyzed, he means that he carries what a relatively 
small number of leading customers want. If he satis- 
fies them he is certain to please the great majority of 
his customers. A few people in every community are 
aggressive, know what they want, and insist upon 
getting it. The great majority more or less meekly 
take what is handed out to them. Hence, a relatively 
small number of leadership f amiHes largely determines 
what the merchant carries and what will be bought by 
the majority of his customers. Hence, it is of vital 
importance to reach and influence these leadership 
families. 

The influence of leadership is one of the most 
striking facts in the farm field. County agents 
and home demonstration agents in all sections work 
largely with leadership farm families. Their success 
depends largely upon securing the cooperation of 
these leaders. To illustrate, one of the ablest county 
agents in the United States says : "My problem is one 
of reaching a few leading farmers in the county. I 
depend largely on about twenty farmers of this type 
residing in different parts of the county. When I want 

[61] 



to put over a proposition, such as purchasing better 
seed, treating seed for smut, the more efficient com- 
bating of hog cholera, selling Liberty Bonds, or any 
other important matter, I call up these twenty men 
on the telephone. Each of these in turn gets in touch 
with a few of his neighbors and we put over our pro- 
position." This is typical of the experience of county 
agents in all parts of the United States. The agricul- 
tural expert reaches a few farmers, and through these 
few influences the many. 

A merchant in a middle western city says: "For 
several years I have owned a farm. I hired an expert 
frdm the agricultural college to put in the first field 
of alfalfa in the neighborhood. Other farmers and 
their sons looked on and said sarcastically, 'College 
alfalfa.' Within three years most of my neighbors 
had put in alfalfa, and all were exceedingly careful to 
put it in in the same way. I was the first farmer in 
the neighborhood to paint my fences white. Within 
a short time most of the fences in the neighborhood 
were painted white. I bought the first gasoline engine 
to pump water. Within a short time gasoline engines 
were in use on most of the farms in the neighborhood." 

The same principle of leadership applies in mer- 
chandising to farm as well as city families. In the 
words of an Ohio merchant: "In normal times, when 
I have sold a $6 hat or a $35 overcoat or a $2 tie to 
the right farmer in a locality, I have assured the sale 
of several more in the same neighborhood." Every 
live retail merchant effectively uses this principle of 
leadership. The problem of selling to six million farm 
families is a problem of selling to the comparatively 
small proportion of those families who are the leaders 
in the various communities. 

Almost invariably agricultural experts and others 
who are in direct touch with farmers estimate the 

[62] 



number of leadership farmers at from 5 to 10 per cent 
of the total number, depending, upon how closely one 
defines leadership. This is but a rough estimate. 
However, certain facts seem to indicate that this may 
be approximately correct. Usually about 10 per cent 
of the farmers m a county belong to the farm bureau. 
It is estimated that about 10 per cent of the farmers 
in the United States belong to the various coopera- 
tive organizations. To the leadership families on the 
farms must, of course, be added city people who 
own farms and who are in many instances leaders 
among the farmers in the community. Thus the 
consensus of opinion seems to indicate that there may 
be from 500,000 to 1,000,000 families included in the 
farm leadership group in the farm market. It is to be 
noted, however, that with agricultural progress the 
number of leaders is steadily increasing and the 
influence of these leaders is steadily growing. 

Farming Influenced by National Forces 

The forces which are transforming farming are 
national in their operation. Farms in all sections are 
being motorized. In all parts of the United States 
modem improvements are being installed in farm 
homes. The county agent and the home demonstra- 
tion agent movement is national in its extent. In all 
parts of the United States more efficient methods of 
marketing farm crops are being adopted. The more 
adequate financing of the farm is a national problem. 
Local influences are becoming relatively less effective, 
while national forces are of more vital importance. 
The farmer is now more conscious that he is influ- 
enced by national forces. Since the war opened he has 
cooperated as never before with other farmers and 
with city people in the various war activities — Lib- 
erty Loan, Red Cross and Young Men's Christian 

[63] 



Association. His son is how in the Army in France. 
The farm family is, therefore, taken out of its former 
isolation and made keenly conscious that even what 
happens on the other side of the Atlantic directly 
affects it. 

The farm family is now more clearly conscious 
that its prosperity depends directly on forces which 
it, acting alone, cannot control. It is the general 
experience of county agents and all who have to do 
with farming that the farmer was never before so 
conscious of the great national forces which now so 
largely determine his success or failure. 

The war also profoundly affected established 
habits. To illustrate, in the words of a farm imple- 
ment and tractor distributor in a great middle western 
city: "Three years ago before the war opened three 
farmers out of four were skeptical about the tractor. 
Now three out of four are thoroughly convinced that 
the tractor is the coming thing on the farm. 'Why 
the change?' The scarcity of labor has compelled 
farmers to seriously consider the problem of motor- 
izing the farm." That is, in ordinary times the farmer 
would be far more likely to keep on plowing with 
horses — his accustomed method. The change to trac- 
tor plowing would have come far more slowly. 

The wartime prices of stock feed have greatly 
stimulated the movement to eliminate scrub stock. 
More cow-testing associations are formed — more 
farmers now test the milk and eliminate the cows 
which are "boarders." Methods of stock feeding are 
changing. In one of the wealthiest agricultural coun- 
ties in the East dealers report that prior to the war 
farmers had for years bought mostly wheat bran. 
The war and high prices stimulated them to study 
feeds and to get expert advice. The result is that 
other feeds are now more largely bought, because at 

[64] 



present they furnish the food elements needed at a 
lower price. That is, the war has compelled farmers 
to think and to act as the result of conscious thinking 
instead of proceeding in their habitual way. 

In our own diet we are now compelled in many , 
instances to substitute other articles of food. Prices I 
of many foods are much higher, so we are giving more 
thought to the buying of foods. We seek information 
from the printed pages of periodicals, books and 
newspapers. The same principle is now operative 
more or less in many lines. Hence, the message of the 
printed page has far more attention-value than in 
ordinary times. Therefore, the manufacturer seeking 
to break into a market with a new line or to establish 
his product under his own name and brand has an 
unusually favorable opportunity. At the same time7 
he who is already established in the market needs to 
be more keenly alert, for he can now rely less on 
habit to hold his market. 

Advertising to the Farm Market 

National advertising to the farm market is likely 
to prove unusually effective at the present time and 
to be increasingly effective in the future. The farm 
market offers a vast and constantly growing oppor- 
tunity for the sale of a great variety of merchandise. 
Farming is the industry of predominant importance 
in the United States. Farm income or buying power 
has vastly increased. It is likely to further increase 
in the futm-e. The standard of living on the farm is 
rapidly rising. The family on the farm increasingly 
demand a far greater amount and variety of machin- 
ery and merchandise. They exercise much finer taste 
in selecting. Farm families are now far more accessi- 
ble and trade is concentrated over a much wider area 
in local shopping cities. The farming population is 

[65] 



served by retailers in rural trading centers, who in- 
creasingly compare favorably with merchants in the 
larger city. Retailers in each locality are guided 
largely in the selection of merchandise by the prefer- 
ence of the leading families among their patrons. 
That is, on the farm as well as in the city the prefer- 
ences of a comparatively small number of leaders 
determine what will be carried by the merchants and 
what will be sold in the community. 

Obviously, those manufacturers who secure the 
good will of the leadership families occupy a position 
of great strategic advantage. They obtain a larger 
proportion of the business in their line. This has been 
one of the most powerful forces promoting concentra- 
tion in the manufacture of products used in the farm 
market as well as in other fields. The agricultural 
implement indjistry is typical. The capital invested 
in this industry increased fivefold in the period from 
1880 to 1914. But the number of establishments in 
1914 was but one-third what it was in 1880. See 
Chart 21. Further, of the 600 establishments manu-i 
facturing agricultural implements in 1914 a small pro- 
portion did the bulk of the business. This is not ex- 
ceptional. It is the story of industry. In the early 
history of an industry many firms enter. But mortality 
sets in. The number of firms is steadily reduced. A 
few persist to the end. The experience of the farm 
implement industry is likely to be duplicated in many 
lines of manufacture supplying the farm market. 
Apparently, the tendency toward concentration is 
likely to be even more rapid in the future, due largely 
to the more effective use of national advertising to 
reach the leadership families in the farm field and to 
the increasing influence of these families. 

Methods in farming as well as the views and stand- 
ards of the farm family are being transformed by 



national forces which are taking the farm family out 
of their isolation and giving them a national view- 
point. These national forces influence first the leader- 
ship t5T)e of farm families in each locality. Through 
their influence the whole farming population is raised 
to a new and higher level. Leadership farm families 
have on the average quite as large an income as the 
average city family. They furnish their homes in sub- 
stantially the same way as the corresponding city fam- 
ilies. They dress in the same way. The same variety 
of food is served on their tables. They have equally 
cultivated tastes in the selection of merchandise. 
^ The leadership farm families read intelligently 
both the editorial and the advertising pages of the 
farm journals which serve the needs of the progressive, 
scientific, business farmer. Their needs and interests 
cover a wide range. They include not only the meth- 
ods, equipment and supplies used in the operation of 
the farm. They include also the great variety of 
equipment and merchandise used in the farm home 
and by the individual members of the family. Each 
member of the family is interested in the advertising 
message of the manufacturer who uses the pages of 
his favorite agricviltural journal. This journal touches 
that in which they are most keenly interested — farm- 
ing. They read its pages from the farm viewpoint. 

But the modern leadership families on the farm 
are also citizens of the world, with national and even 
international interests. They read and are influenced 
by the editorial and advertising message in all those 
periodicals in which they have confidence. They act 
more largely as a result of information and less from 
habit. Hence, he who effectively uses national adver- 
tising to gain for his product the favor of the leaders 
on the farm will win his way into a vast and stable 
market among the millions of farm families. 

[68] 



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