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WHAT FARMERS NEED MOST.
The publishers of the New York Tribune Farmer offered a series of liberal prizes for discussion of the above topic last winter. Among the essays sent in for this contest was the following, by John A. Dv Boys, North Troy. Vt. which is worthy of serious consideration: "The farmer is one of our many classes of business men, and, consid ering the important needs of men in the various lines of business, I con clude that the greatest need of each and every one of them is the same, and is not to be found among the va rious external conditions which influ ence all industries, but is found in the man himself. What, then is the 'great est need?' Is it the faculty of dis criminating between the 'profitable' and the 'unprofitable?' "'Well,' I hear some one say; 'if we had all that faculty we should be rich shortly.' Now, this statement as 1 have put it, must be taken in a gen eral rather than in a specific way; for all are mortal and subject to mistakes, and with regard to a matter of profit, as well as to other matters we can only use our judgment. Right here is the point under discussion; for, to be a farmer without judgment, is to be no farmer at all, and to possess this quality of 'discrimination' one must not only have good judgment, but must watch every opportunity to im prove the same by careful reading and study as well as judiciously con ducting experiments, thus enabling him to form a reasonable opinion of what course to pursue in regard to oach of the many problems which daily confront him. This principle of 'discrimination' appeals to every branch of the diversified business of farming. Among the most importnat of these comes the business of 'dairy ing,' in the study of which we must consider a multitude of different sub jects and conditions, each of which has much to do with the success or failure of the business. There is the cow to be decided upon, the product to be marketed to the best advantage, the ration to be provided, etc., and coincident with the ration comes the question: what crops shall we raise to produce the required food for our stock, and to what extent shall we depend upon commercial feeds and fertilizers? "In this manner we must consider all the phases of our individual busi ness. The many different types of horse, cattle, sheep, swine and poul try and the different methods of man aging them so they will produce pro fit, constitute food for much study and reflection as well as experiment. "Then there is the housing of our tools, and the question comes up: which is the most profitable—to put up a cheap shed for them or buy new tools about twice as often as would be necessary were they properly car ed for? If our harnesses are old or rotten or out of repair, we must con sider the possible chance of loss by accident, of property, perhaps life; compare these chances with the pro bable amount saved by the use of such dangerous appliances and see where the profit comes in. The unex pected is always happening, and there will be losses enough and accidents enough, guard against them as we may. The way of the transgressor is hard; so is the way of the careless farmer. There is the uncovered grain box and the pitchfork left in the sta ble, all prepared for the loosely tied horse; there are the rotten sleepers and planks in the second story sta ble of the modern barn; there is the overheated horse left standing in the wind or allowed to eat or drink too much. How many of these things do not come under this principle of 'dis crimination?' You say these last named are simply examples of care lessness? It is a condition brought about by the failure to discriminate between the gain by haste and the loss by constant waste. Or, if not caused by haste, the carelessness must be a habit of 'letting things go,' as we sometimes express it. Let us beware of this habit, for it is more destructive than the combined efforts of the hurricane and the Colorado beetle. "Each of us has his pet folly. One sticks to the old methods and will have nothing to do with the 'new-fan gled notions;' his neighbor throws the 'old fashioned notions' to the wind, jumps into the whirling mass of 'twen tieth century ideas' and comes out still further behind; while the man who candidly measures his distance, before he leaps takes what promises well, be it old or new, uses good judg ment in all things, is making a com fortable living and laying by a bit for a rainy day, and his neighbors wonder why. They do not know that it is be cause he watches his neighbors' suc cesses and failures as well as his own; does not take failure simply as a matter of course, but regards it as the result of a faulty calculation, a wrong diagnosis of the case, as it were, and, though always endeavor ing to keep abreast of the times, is particularly careful not to get ahead of them. "The pet folly of many a man is his inability to part with unprofitable stock at what it will fetch in ready money. Too many of us cannot bring ourselves to part with a superfluous horse or inferior cow at what seems to be a sacrifice, but are apt to con sider it worth what it has cost vs — with that cost constantly increasing. "Do not think I am referring to old pets and standbys, for those we all must have, and though, perhaps, not a success financially, I do not think we lose by them, when all is consid ered. But when we keep unprofit able stock year after year for no other reason than because we raised it and cannot get our money out of it, it seems something like holding the pen ny so close to the eye that it hides the dollar a little way off. "But we must not make the dollar the only standard of success. A farm er may make a financial success at the expense of his own family's health, a price too dear to be paid for any worldly gain. It is neither profitable to overwork nor to be idle when judg ed from the standpoint of health or wealth, but the 'happy mean' is to be considered in all things. We should live, as Shakespeare says, 'as well as our purse will allow,' and use all rea sonable and honorable means to make that purse allow us the necessities of life and some of the luxuries. A rea sonable amount of the quality called contentment is indispensable to every farmer. I say a reasonable amount, because, too much of this quality is as bad as too little. Be not content with that which you can improve, but be content to try to improve that which you have, if your judgment tells you that it can profitably be done. Many are the young men owning small or medium-sized farms of good soil, unproductive only because of poor management, who have sold them at a sacrifice that they might purchase larger farms, thinking that profits in creased with acreage and number of cows. A sad mistake! At least nine out of every ten of this class merely THE RANCH. SHIRT-WAIST SPECIALS. 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