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Gain in Other Crops Equally feasible is a 50-per cent increase in the crops per acre of oats, barley, rye, and buckwheat. Potatoes, instead of growing less than one hundred bushels per acre, should double their production. Wherever only six hundred to eight hundred pounds of tobacco are got from an acre, three fourths of a ton is the prospect.
Fruits, berries, and vegetables have a future too large to estimate. The cannery and the railway fast freight and refrigerator car have overcome obstacles of latitude, of longitude, and of season, and there is every indication that the farmer can supply any possible demand for these foods at home or abroad.
Farmers will learn how to feed more prolific breeds and strains of swine than the ones which they are now chiefly raising, and thus will pork and its products be increased per individual of the permanent stock of hogs. One fourth of the dairy cows of the country do not pay for their feed, and more than half of them do not return any profit; in proportion as the dairyman weighs the milk of each cow and applies the Babcock test will he increase the supply of milk, butter, and cheese. It is merely a matter of education.
Poultry is one of the steady and helpful sources of farm income. Movements are already on foot which may be expected to increase the egg production per hen by at least a dozen per year within a generation; and there are poultrymen, who are not enthusiasts, who foretell double that increase. If the hens of this year had each laid a dozen eggs more than they did, the increased value of this product would have been possibly fifty million dollars.
A Matter of Education
The farmer will not fail the nation if the nation does not fail the farmer. He will need education to know the powers of the soil which are now hidden from him. The prospective yearly
expenditure of ten million dollars for educational and research work by nation and states, with such increases as may come from time to time, must have enormous effects. There may be agricultural schools for the small children and agricultural high schools for the larger ones, and their education will be continued in the colleges.
The work of the Department of Agriculture has already had results which are valued at hundreds of millions of dollars annually, and yet the department feels that it has barely crossed the threshold of its mission of discovery and education. Coöperating to the same ends are sixty experiment stations in fifty-one states and territories, the sixty-three agricultural colleges, thousands of farmers' institute meetings yearly, many excellent agricultural periodical publications, and new instructive books. Then there is a new line of work which is so productive of results that it is constantly extending, and that is the demonstration farm, the encouragement of individual farmers to change their agriculture so as to multiply their yields and their profits, and thus afford object lessons to other farmers.
Thus it appears that forces are now at work which will very considerably increase the production of the farms within a generation, and which promise to continue the increase
1 The following facts concerning agricultural education were presented in the Yearbook of the Department of Agriculture for 1902 :
It may be justly claimed that the United States has in its National Department of Agriculture and the state agricultural experiment stations the most complete system of agricultural research in the world, and that the results obtained through these agencies have had a wider application and have influenced to a greater extent the masses of farmers than has been the case in any other country. Agricultural experiment stations are now in operation in every state and territory of the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii, and Porto Rico, and steps have been taken under government auspices to establish agencies for agricultural investigation in the Philippine Islands. There are sixty such stations, employing nearly a thousand trained scientific and practical men in their work.
The annual income of these stations in 1902 was $1,328,847.37, of which sum $720,000 came from the federal government and $608,847.37 from state appropriations and other sources. During the fourteen years of their existence as a national enterprise there has been expended in their maintenance about $14,000,000, of which $10,000,000 came from the national Treasury and about $4,000,000 from state sources. – ED.
indefinitely. He who would write the last chapter of the prog. ress of the agriculture of this country must await the procession of the centuries.
Opening of a New Era The farmer is financially in a position now to do what he could not have done previous to the recent years of his prosperity. National welfare has been promoted by few revolutions in agricultural economics to the extent that it has been and will be promoted by ten-cent cotton. The greater part of the cotton planters are out of their former bondage to future maintenance, and they are paying no enormous rates of interest for advancements, rates which were estimated fifteen years ago to average 40 per cent a year.
In the Middle West the prosperity of the farmers during the last half dozen years and more has advanced in such mass and with such speed that no parallel can be found in the economic history of agriculture. One of the great changes that have come over this region is the conversion of a million agricultural debtors, paying high rates of interest and finding great difficulty in procuring the wherewithal out of prices much too low, into financially independent farmers, debt free and begging the banks to receive their savings at as small a rate of interest as 2 per cent.
Power of the Farmers' New Capital
Farmers are using their new capital to abolish the waste places of the land. The river is leveed and alluvial bottoms subject to overflow become worth hundreds of dollars per acre for vegetables; a marsh is drained by ditches and tiles, and celery makes it the most valuable land in the county; semi-arid land is constantly cultivated so as to make a mulch of finely pulverized earth on the surface, and the crops that it will grow make the farmer prosperous ; durum wheat or alfalfa is introduced and again the semi-arid wastes are made to do the will of the cultivator ; leguminous plants give humus and nitrogen
to the sandy waste, to the use and profit of the farmer ; the unused rocky, stony field or mountain side, offensive both to the economic and to the aesthetic eye, blossoms with the apple, the peach, the pear, and the plum, and adds to the evidences that every square foot of the land may be made productive unless it is arid; and even then irrigation works, as far as water is available, swell the evidence. Along all of these lines of production farmers are using their newly acquired capital and are progressing as never before in their prosperity.
Formerly there was an abundance of farm labor and a dearth of farming capital; now these conditions are reversed, and labor is scarce and capital abundant. Notwithstanding the farmers' inability to do some things for want of labor, the new situation is a great improvement upon the old one. The farmer can now employ every labor-saving device and thus reduce both the labor and the cost of production; he can raise his land to a higher state of fertility than can be made by chemical fertilizers alone, because he can advance the needed capital for permanent soil improvement and is in a position to await results ; he can produce things that require years for the first crop, as in the case of fruits ; he can provide such capital as is needed to distribute his products, and thus coöperation is open to him to a greater extent than ever before; he can secure a better education for his children to the end, among other things, that they may do better with the old farm than he did.
THE ORGANIZATION OF PRODUCTION BEFORE AND
AFTER THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
1. Adam Smith's Criticism of the Policy of the Gilds ?
The policy of Europe occasions a very important inequality in the whole of the advantages and disadvantages of the different employments of labour and stock, by restraining the competition to a smaller number than might otherwise be disposed to enter into them.
The exclusive privileges of corporations are the principal means it makes use of for this purpose.
The exclusive privilege of an incorporated trade necessarily restrains the competition, in the town where it is established, to those who are free of the trade. To have served an apprenticeship in the town, under a master properly qualified, is commonly the necessary requisite for obtaining this freedom. The bye-laws of the corporation regulate sometimes the number of apprentices which any master is allowed to have, and almost always the number of years which each apprentice is obliged to serve. The intention of both regulations is to restrain the competition to a much smaller number than might otherwise be disposed to enter into the trade. The limitation of the number of apprentices restrains it directly. A long term of apprenticeship restrains it indirectly, but as effectually, by increasing the expense of education.
In Sheffield no master cutler can have more than one apprentice at a time, by a bye-law of the corporation. In Norfolk and
1 Wealth of Nations, Bk. I, chap. x, Part II.
2 Smith is discussing in this chapter “ Wages and Profit in the Different Employments of Labor and Stock.” He treats of the gilds, accordingly, as one of the causes which produce differences in the wages and profits derived from different employments. — Ev.