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The Primary Product: Its Producer '& Problems
A FARMER of Clemons, Iowa, addressed the Cham ber of Commerce of the United States the other day. He said things. People in the cities M oVer anything bearing a headline about farming The) don't underttind. This farmer, J. K. Howard, speak jng for one million of his fellow tillers of the soil, said things in I way to be understood. To make it still easier and more impressive we have reduced the principal points to this form. (j. Was there a decrease in the Farmers' produc tion of food last year? A. No. Every industry but farming has shown a decrease. In 1919, coal production decreased 20 per ant; iron production, 24 per cent; steel production, 27 per cent ; copper production, 45 per cent. Hut the 1919 wheat crop has only been exceeded once. The 1917 corn crop was larger than the 1919 crop by a few bushels, but it was far below in food value. Except in cotton and potatoes, the 1919 farm crops were above the 10-year average. QjTken why the Food Shortage? A. There is no food shortage. No one has gone hungry in our country because of scarcity of food. Country elevators are filled to the roof with wheat or corn or ats, with no market outlets. Hogs and cattle an being held in feed lots all over the country until they arc over-prime, because of car shortage, conges tion and embargoes. The 1920 grain crop will be harvested and threshed long before the 1919 crop can all be marketed Tin- fanner is fortunate that the 1920 crop will be smaller, because he could not store it tin remaining 1919 crop which he cannot sell oc cupies moat of his storage. Q. Why doesn't the Fanner sell abroad where lack of food is reported t A. He would if he could. He has always counted on export trade to help him. But there is now no foreign demand for American foodstuffs. Europe has ceased to be OUT customer. For many weeks she has heetl buying the accumulated surpluses of other lands where exchange rates are less unfavorable than ours. Our wheat, pork and cotton, in the meantime, lie unsold. Qd Then what makes the price of food so high A. It is not the price paid to the farmer that de termines the cost of food and clothing The cost is made somewhere between the farmer and the con sumer. To reduce the cost of living means that the costs of transportation, marketing and distribution will have to be reduced. The service costs more than the product. The cost of living will be lowered when the margin is reduced between the price which the con sunn r pays for the ham and that which the producer receives for the hog. Indeed, the whole problem is there. The farmer is not immune. He himself is the laryet single purchaser of food, shoes, clothing and lumber in the country. He uses more steel annually than do the railroads. All the extra costs stuck in between the producer who serves the farmer and the farmer himself, means that it costs the farmer more to live and do his work. Costs are tacked on his incoming goods, and on his outgoing goods, and he is caught in tin same net that catches them all. Until those margins are cut. the margin between the hide and the shoe, the cotton and the cloth, the hog 1 , Louisville, Ky., Courier-Journal. and the ham, our economic conditions will continue acute. (J. Would not increased production on the part of the Farmer help to solve the question A. Increased production at this time would be over production. Agricultural production has already over loaded the marketing and transportation facilities of the country. Present conditions do not seem to call for nor warrant increased production. Hour stomachs will hold no more food, why produce it? If there is no place at home or abroad for the surplus to go, why produce the surplus? I am not an advocate of under production. Production must be maintained. Under production if persisted in, would cripple all industry and react upon the farmer himself, he being the largest single purchaser of the live great staples of produc tion. Anyway, there will be a decrease in production this year. That is already in sight. Q Why a decrease in this year's agricultural pro duction ? A. Why? The city tells the story. Why is there an acute housing condition in every town and city, and plenty of empty houses on the farms of every state? That tells the story. Do you think that the people are leaving large and certain incomes on the farm to face hunger and priva tion in the city? "Horse sense" says no. Then why are they going? Because the industrial center offers better inducements than the farm. w. look at some reasons why farm production in 1920 will show a decrease: In New York State, 25,000 farms will lie idle for lack of labor. J ust about half of the agricultural land of Massa ajiusettl has been abandoned. The farmers could make more money in eight hours at the factory than could be earned on the farm in 12 hours. Of course they abandoned the farms ! Alabama farmers are leaving idle 1,000.000 acres. Iowa has 1,000 untenanted farms, and is short 16 per cent of her quota of farm labor. (There will be 3,000,000 fewer acres of wheat in Kansas. The farm boys of Iowa and Nebraska, who were drafted for the army and navy, are not return ing to the farms.) More than that, the whole system of farm hours and wages has undergone a complete change. The men now working on the farms are demanding not only city wages, but city hours. Tiny arc entitled to both, for no class of men should enjoy more privileges than an other class engaged in a similar calling. But the fact remains that THE FORTV-FOUR HOUR WEEK WILL NOT FLU!) ,ixi) CLOTHE THE WORLD. Q. How docs the Farmer feel about all this? A. The morale of the Farmers is at low ebb. For four years they have worked as never before. Wives and daughters took the place of fathers, sons and brothers in the field. They claim no credit; it wai simply duty's call. Hut the Farmer feels he was not treated right. Most industries were placed on a cost plus basis; his was not. He was promised $2.20 for his wheat; figures in the Department of Agriculture showed it cost him $2.27 to produce it: as a matter of fact he received about $1.90. He was allowed 13 times the price of a bushel of corn for . very 100 pounds of pork he produced. It cost him 12 bushels of corn to produce the 100 pounds of pork. He thus received one bushel of corn for producing 13 bushels and 100 pounds of pork. All this has left unfortunate memories. Q. Can not we increase the number of men on the farm? A After the Civil War, Horace Greeley said: "Go West, young man," and young men went West. The West of Greeley's vision is gone. There are no more acres of fertile lands to be brought under cultivation, barring a few million that at great cost may yet be irrigated, and small tracts of wet land which may sometime be drained. But in the big problem these are insignificant. America must feed and clothe her growing population from lands now in tillage. If the country permanently neglects its agricultural interests, enlarging its industrial interests and depend ing on other lands for food, then we must be prepared to guard every road of the high seas. A permanent agricultural policy as a measure of national defense is vastly more important to our whole citizenship than is a national naval or military program. But if this present condition is allowed to drift to its natural end, then, when the limits are reached and the belts of the hungry people cannot be pulled any tighter, a back-to-the-fann movement will begin in such volume that industry will suffer. In the mean time, undesirable national elements will flourish and radicalism grow rampant. the hint and soon removes such old men from the stage. The moral is. stick to the farm, stick to the country. Matthew Arnold did not reach old age; he died at sixty eight ; hut he took a discourag ing view of it in his ooem "On Growing Old." His "sad he redity of soul" led him to cheerless anticipations of it: It is to spend long days And not once feel that we were ever young; It is to add, immured In the hot prison of the present, month To month with weary pain. It is to suffer this, And feel but half, and feebly, what we feel. I eep in our hidden heart 1 esters the dull remembrance of a change, But no emotion none. If old age were this, then indeed might one shrink from its approach. Tennyson in his poem on Evolu takei quite a different view : I have climbed to the snows of Age, and I gaze at a held in the Past, Where I sank with the body at times in the dough of a low desire, But I hear no yelp of the beast and the man is Quiet at last As he stands on the heights of his life with a giimpte of a height that is higher. I" growing old we are not going down a hill into a Hey ; rather are we climbing a hill, and the hill gets ''"per and steeper, our breath shorter and shorter, and our strength less and less yet there are compen sations If we d0 not jiave a wider outlook from the .Ol the hill than we had from the bottom something Wrious has gone wrong with us. To speak of the wis Ooiti of age is no misuse of terms. Age brings the Philosophic mind. It is the privilege of age to be tol erant. charitable, disinterested, judicial. Emerson published his essay on old age when he gJ yet in the middle sixties, and I recall that in the rrer,s9n-carlylc correspondence both men began to Waw c of bein8 old before they were sixty. Sir a,ter Scott was old before his time; he drank too Length of Days Concluded from page 3 always count on strike the heroic much port which did not in the end alleviate the bur den he so manfully carried. Macaulay failed to reach old age. Scott died at sixty-one. Macaulay at fifty-nine. Tennyson, who was more temperate and had an easier life, died at eighty-three, Carlyle at eighty-six. Emer son at seventy-nine and Goethe at eighty-three. Amiel died at sixty, and yet he lived long enough to see that to know how to grow old is the masterwork of wis dom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living. In old age, he says, our view is clearest and our eye truest: "The old man who is at once sym pathetic and disinterested, necessarily develops the spirit of contemplation, and it is given to the spirit of contemplation to see things most truly because it alone perceives them in their relative and proportional value." Without the spirit of contemplation, old age would be poor indeed. . Some one has said that the art of growing old is only the art of right living carried into old age. Hut it is more than that. The art of living at sixty will not suffice you at eighty. The margin of safety is less. You must take in sail. Says Emerson in his Terminus: The god of bounds, Who sets to sCas a shore, Came to me in his fatal rounds And said, "No more! No farther shoot Thy broad ambitious branches, and thy root. Fancy departs : no more invent ; Contract thy firmament To compass of a tent." As the bird trims her to the gale, I trim myself to the storm of time, I man the rudder, reef the sail, Obey the voice at eve obeyed at prime: "Lowly, faithful, banish fear. Right onward drive unharmed; The port, well worth the cruise, is near, And every wave is charmed." One can Emerson to note. The art of growing old is an art in a stricter sense than is life before middle age. A man must have more care of his vital resources. He cannot with im punity spend himself so freely. He must avoid the steep, rough paths of life. To grow old gracefully and cheerfully, and welcome the ye&ri bravely, is to he master of the art. Beware of loss of interest in life, beware of stagnation. The cur rents must he kept going. Humboldt lived to be ninety, and wrote his masterwork, KosmOS, during his last yearf. He slept but four hours out of the twenty four and worked at midnight. James Martineau reached ninety and wrote his Seat of Authority in Re ligion at eighty-five. Cardinal New man reached eighty seven, and his brother, T. W. Newman, lived to ninety two. The gift of long life falls upon the worthy and the unworthy alike. In my youth 1 knew an ordinary man who lived to be one hundred and three or more, and during the last years of his life he lived alone in one room, living as do the cattle in a stable. As to practical details in the art of long life, Cor naro proved convincingly that temperance in all things is one of the secrets. Light eaters and drinkers, other things being equal, will be the long livers. "To leng then your life." My an old proverb, "shorten your meals." In my own case I come of a lean, hungry race few of whom have reached more than four score years. Heing a primate. I should live only on fruits and nuts, hut for the nuts I am obliged to substitute vegetables and to cut out coffee, tea, pepper, tobacco, ami all alcoholic beverages. But so different are 0U1 wants! I found in California a well-known arti A my OWH age who eats no fruits and no vegetable- but who smokes and takes a bottle of stout, and often other wine, and meat daily. Some men are naturally hard keepers, like their horses; others are easy keepers. Thomas A. Edison, for instance, is an easy keeper, and nonagenarians are common in his line, of descent. Not many years ao a well-known Frenchman passed his century mark whose daily ration was one raw egg in a pint of wine. Cotlki one but greet old age in the spirit of Whitman : "Old age superbly rising 1 Oh, welcome ineffable grace of dying days."