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Snead again took up his confidential ‘A man with the woods full of hogs tone. 'I ain't a man fer makin' trouble, is in a pretty good fix, is n't he?' an' there ain't anybody in a hundred “Jest about fat rich, Mis' Dolly.' miles o' me can swear I ever accused “Then you and Len are rich. The him o' sellin' other folks' hogs; but I hog-claim is yours. wish you'd a gone by Ham Copp's They thought it a joke at first, and I next day an' seed what he had in his labored to convince them; then they pen. I ain't sayin' what, an' I never insisted on my keeping half of it. will say what, in court er out, but I 'low 'No, boys,' I persisted generously. you'd know yer own mark.
'That would mix up our calculations. Sam and Len had hastily entered As it is, you'll know what you've got, upon a subdued conference of their and I'll know what I've got.' own, and just then Sam called to 'You're right about that,' said Sam. Snead.
'I want to say too, that this deal 'Wha'd you say, Uncle Ag, ef we works backward. If there's anybody don't he'p ye to-morr', an' call it square owing for hogs, the debt is yours, and about them shotes you ain't paid fer you need n't ever bother me about it.'
'An' if any meddlin' ol' loafer comes He was staggered, taken in the open, tellin' ye 'bout seein' hogs here, there, but rallied jauntily.
an' yander, in other folks' pens, from ‘All right, boys; jest as you say. time back,' said Sam, with the dignity
Sam turned to me. “We did n't tell of righteousness, “it won't be wuth a ye 'bout them shotes Uncle Ag got, blue bean to him. 'cause he was in sech a hole 'bout payin' 'I'll send him to you and Len. It fer 'em, an' nacherly we did n't want to will be your affair, not mine.' worry ye till we got it fixed. Now he At that, Len came over to me. His gits our part o' the shotes fer he'ppin' face was serious but glowing. 'I us to-day, an' we're willin' to take yore knowed you's white,' he said, 'but I part fer the markin' you owes us, an' did n't know jest how white you wuz. wait on Uncle Ag fer it, seein' we made Abe Siler's beggin' me underhand to sech a slow trade fer ye.'
leave you an' work on his place. Next By then I was in a position to foretell time he asts me, I'm goin' to bust my just the amount of revenue that in all knuckles on them two big front teeth time to come I was going to derive from o’hisn. my claim.
Len, who was noted as a “clean'We don't want to take any down- crop-man,' was the most coveted tenright money from ye, Mis Dolly, ant within three townships. I had explained Sam. “You've never been bought his loyalty cheap. hard on us, an' we kain't afford to be Sam, of coarser but shrewder mind, hard on you. An' by fixin' it the way spared me any disconcerting gratitude. I said, ever'body'll be satisfied, an' Before their early bedtime I was to you won't be out nothin' but a few hear his comment to Coretta, who was shotes.'
shedding grateful tears. ‘And a few shotes, Sam, don't ‘Aw, shet up, K'rettie. I reckon matter when I've got the woods full of she's got sense enough to know that them.'
the woods full o’ hogs ain't wuth much “That's what I wuz goin' to say to a woman.'
Begited me any discom
se out nothinatisfied, an
A FARMER SPEAKS OUT
BY GLENN W. BIRKETT
TEN days after being discharged from essential parts of many of the cure-alls, the army, in October 1919, I began but their proponents ignore the fact farming here in southeastern Wiscon- that American farmers never, even sin, stocking and equipping this 240. when short-handed during the war, acre farm for the diversified agriculture have failed to keep the market supplied. of this region. I have had horses, cat- Over two years ago Babson mentle, hogs, sheep, and chickens during tioned that none of the conferences the entire period. Except for changing called to solve the problem of agriculfrom strictly dairy cows to dual-pur- ture pointed out the real trouble — pose shorthorns my general farming- ten per cent too many farmers. That plan has remained the same. I bought surplus is disappearing and with the all stock and equipment at peak prices. disappearance are coming better times. In addition to the usual yearly loss City papers speak of the increased common to farmers the last three or millions to the farmer as a result of the four years, my first eighteen months recent sharp advances in grain and hog saw a sixty-per-cent shrinkage in the prices. However, it is not long since value of my investment.
the same papers emphasized huge proNaturally I have been intensely duction as a sign of the farmer's prosinterested in the various proposals to perity. But the present turn for the make farming a profitable business better is due to a shortage, not a proposition. But most of the proposed surplus. remedies are ridiculous and many are In spite of the surplus of farm prodvicious. Properly labeled, they would ucts, the federal government has been be known as agencies or legislation for using millions of tax money to cause the aggravation of agricultural prob- still greater production. To push irrilems. Proposed by visionaries and gation and drainage projects in regions politicians, they run counter to the law far from markets at a time when more of supply and demand, attack our food is not needed is no aid to farmers natural allies, depress our mental atti- or to the United States as a whole. tude, and increase our tax burden. Such undertakings are a valuable
If one accepted at face value all he means of distributing political patronhears and reads, he might conclude age and, like most paternalistic propothat the trouble with agriculture is sitions, the profit is for the few, the shortage of production. Help for farm- burden is on the many. The governers as expounded by politicians and ment should let waste land alone, at some educators usually resolves itself least until there is sufficient market for into a scheme which would increase products from land now under cultioutput. Price-fixing and subsidies are vation. Even then the government
need not interfere, for if the venture is collapse of any great industry — such sound from the business standpoint as mining, transportation, banking, private capital will undertake the and agriculture — would wreck civilizaenterprise.
tion. The argument that production of The federal government is copied food is all-important applies only to a in this misuse of public funds by state primitive people. The farmer is in disand county units. County agents, tress, not because he is hungry, but bedemonstration farms, experiment sta- cause he is unable to get a fair proportions, expensive equipment and person- tion of the advantages of civilization. nel, all have aided in the uneconomic oversupply of farm products. I am not
II arguing for the abolition of all of these offices, but like most active farmers Disregard of natural markets and, I believe that there are far too many even worse, the creation of artificial of them even for prosperous times, and markets are no less illogical than the that in the last three years they have attitude we are encouraged to have done us more harm than good. This toward our natural allies. Consider the phase of our trouble has received little railroads. Some reformers would make publicity because many of the people farmers prosperous by lowering freight claiming to represent farmers are hold- rates. To begin with, it was paternaling political jobs which should be abol- istic legislation in 1917 which helped to ished. The millennium will arrive be- raise them. Blithely forgetting the refore any number of public officials will sults of the Adamson law, some people give up their sinecures voluntarily for argue for more interference. Even the public good.
government ownership and the transMany of the schemes propose not fer of freight charges from the direct only to help us overproduce but to users of transportation to the taxpayer ignore the market. In some instances appeal to many. Of course cheaper it may be a potential market, which, transportation, if economic, not artifiit has been pointed out, was one of the cial, would be beneficial. Yet it must causes of Henry Ford's success. The not be forgotten that to certain regions people of the United States could transportation costs act as a satisfacafford and wanted an inexpensive auto- tory tariff. Two years ago there was a mobile. Whether Ford had lived or milk strike of the producers of the not that want would have been sup- Chicago dairy district, comprising the plied. From the standpoint of the pro- region in northwestern Indiana, northducer, a buyer is as important as some eastern Illinois, and southeastern Wis
helps not at all if there is no market. area do not send milk to Chicago, all Businesses other than farming, by are affected by Chicago prices. means of advertising or curtailment of Although we had a fairly close orproduction, or both, keep the market ganization of milk-producers the strike in condition to receive the output. was not won, — a compromise was
Our advisers have failed to help us made, — partly because the railroads because of the naïve assumption that had tank cars ready to import milk agriculture comes first. I challenge from northern Wisconsin and even from that statement. In modern civilization Iowa. We thought we owned the none of the essential industries comes Chicago market, but the efficiency first. They come abreast. The total and comparative cheapness of express
mud modern sthe packers' poficient. If
service gave farmers hundreds of miles food is valuable, not according to the away enough of an interest in the mar- calories and vitamines it contains, but ket to prevent our control. Our loss according to the demand for it. Middle was their gain. The lesson of that service, whether performed by middle strike for us is the folly of encouraging men or by ourselves, transforms a food Iowa to go into dairying.
value into a market value. Meat-packers are the subject of The general agitation against midmuch expensive investigation. They dlemen is not so great as it was several and modern stock-raisers are mutually years ago. Instead of fighting them and dependent. The packers' part in the looking upon them as robbers — I handling of meat is highly efficient. If don't say they never are — we are benot, why is it more profitable for a ginning to look on them as a middle butcher to buy local cattle and sell service and an agency which assists in them in the Chicago or Milwaukee creating a market value for our prodyards and then get his dressed meats ucts. One valuable result of coöperafrom the packers in these places? Most tive selling is the realization that there of us are familiar with the attractive is a middle service and that it is exadvertising of beef, pork, and lamb by pensive. When we join a 'coöp' we the big packers. They are not doing it think that now we are about to overfor the benefit of us who raise stock, come our production losses by making but, in so far as a surplus of meat is the middleman's profit. At least that removed from the market, we benefit. is the way I felt, and naturally I was removed from the markets we benent,
Recently I have noticed an unusual disappointed when the prospective amount of advertising of milk by profit turned into an actual loss. In manufacturers of bottles, paper straws, the coöp to which I belonged we learned breakfast foods, and baby foods. These that middle service in regard to milk manufacturers, in the interests of their costs more than production. own business, find it desirable to em One of the panaceas widely adverphasize the value of a farm product. tised is that of diversification. How They may not be our personal friends, long, by the way, since we were told but certainly they are our allies. that this is an age of specialization for
I do not suppose the Metropolitan farmers as well as for other people? Life Insurance Company is particularly Diversification depends upon a number favorable to dairymen. For all I know, of factors, including climate, soil, and, it may be classed with Wall Street, most of all, markets. Of course, pracwhich is supposed to be plotting against tically all farmers should have their us farmers continuously. But not long own milk, meat, eggs, poultry, garden ago I saw a full page in the Atlantic stuff, and fruit. There are few who do Monthly, paid for by the Metropolitan, not. I spent the fall of 1907 harvesting urging in the interest of health and and threshing in Nebraska, Iowa, longevity greater consumption of milk. Minnesota, and the Dakotas; at that Compare this with the fact that at 11 time the farmers there supplied themA. M. at a local farmers' institute in selves with these foods. I belonged my neighborhood we were given a lec- to one threshing crew near Bristol, ture on the value of dairy products, South Dakota, which trailed a cow and at noon, by the same manage- behind the cook car when we moved. ment, we were sold lunches in which was The theory behind diversification is oleomargarine!
the utilization of wasted time, power, From the standpoint of the producer, and equipment. However, if you have
raised a product for which there is no one big thing for farmers to remember market you have merely been taking is that factories which create our marexercise. And I have yet to hear that kets and which help carry the tax load we farmers need more exercise. Profits are influenced in their choice of a locaable diversification depends largely tion by the attitude of a state toward upon allies — that is, manufacturing them. Natural advantages may be centres. We had more strawberries overcome by penalistic taxation resultthis year than we could use. Cash ing from paternalistic legislation. value was created for the surplus by the proximity of cities. The compara
III tively better condition of the farmers of this state is due more to Wisconsin's No matter where a man farms, and urban population than to all the farm no matter what he decides to raise and advisers — and, I might add, in spite sell, he should realize that he is assumof the politicians. However, the job- ing the hazards of a business. State holding farm advisers of this state take and federal government should recogthe credit to themselves for the differ- nize this also and not penalize him for ence. They tell us that it is their advice succeeding, or reward him for failing. which has prevented us from collapsing One of the evil consequences of the completely. Yet the great majority of paternalistic advice, sympathy, and commissions have been created within legislation with which we have been the last twenty-five years; while from showered is the tendency to believe the old account-books I find that this that our salvation lies in more paternalfarm has sold steers, hogs, milk, eggs, ism — to believe that deficits should and poultry since 1882, and that it be made up in the form of 'loans' or always has been a diversified farm. subsidies. Recently a neighbor told In late years this region has begun to me that he cannot hang on much receive income from additional crops longer; he cannot pay taxes and interlike cabbage, beets, and cucumbers. est. His remedy is in legislation of The variety of soils in this state is a some kind. He is a victim of circumfactor in forcing diversified crops. In stances and, like millions of others, addition, Wisconsin has manufacturing does not want to accept the hazards centres, the markets for diversified of his chosen business. He has noticed products. It is not due to commissions that unions and teachers' organizations and boosters that New York and Wis- seem to have been successful in forcing consin are great dairy-regions. In and the government to guarantee financial near both states are great cities. The security of their members. He has dairy cow sticks close to the places seen them set aside for a time the workwhere her products are used.
ing of supply and demand. So he The Northwest is adapted to small ought not to be censured for assuming grain. The Dakotas are not close that a paternalistic government and a enough to cities to receive large benevolent president — toward farmamounts of farm income from milk and ers — could assure prosperity. other products which require a quick Some time ago a banker who deals route to the consumer or from crops with farmers and knows the financial like potatoes which cannot stand high stress told me that the commiseration freight-rates. Diversification will in- shown farmers was doing real harm. crease in the Northwest as industrial He summed up the case in this way: centres move in that direction. And “The farmer has heard so much about