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Some Aspects of the
Farmers' Problems By BERNARD M. BARUCH (Reprinted from Atlantic Monthly) The whole rural world Is In a fer- ? ment of unrest, and there Is an un- J paralleled volume and intensity of de termined, if not angry, protest, and an ominous swarming of occupational con ferences, interest groupings, political j movements and propaganda. Such a ? tnrmoll cannot but arrest our atten tion. Indeed, It demands our careful j ?tudy and examination. It Is not like- ; ly that six million aloof and ruggedly j Independent men have come together j and banded themselves Into active j unions, societies, farm bureaus, and so i forth, for no sufficient cause. Investigation of the subject conclu- ! aively proves that, while there Is much j overstatement of grievances and mis- | conception of remedies, the farmers j are right in complaining of wrongs j long endured, und right In holding that It is feasible to relieve their ills with benefit to the rest of the community, j This being the case of an Industry that contributes, In the raw material form alone, about one-third of the na tional annual wealth production and la the means of livelihood of about 49 per cent of the population, It Is ob vious that the subject Is one of grave concern. Not only do the farmers make up one-half of the nation, but the well-being of the other half de pends upon them. So long as we have nations, a wise -jpolltcial economy will aim at a large degree of national self-sufficiency and self-containment. Rome fell when the food supply was too far removed from the belly. .Like her, we shall destroy our own agriculture and extend our sources of food distantly and precari ously, if we do not see to It that our farmers are well and fairly paid for their services. The farm gives the nation men as well as food. Cities .derive their vitality and are forever .renewed from the country, but an im poverished countryside exports Intelli gence and retains unintclligence. Only the lower grades of mentality and character will remain on, or seek, the farm, unless agriculture is capable of being pursued with contentment an. I adequate compensation. Hence, to em bitter and Impoverish the farmer is to dry up and contaminate the vital sources of the nation. The war showed convincingly how dependent the nation Is on the full productivity of the farms. Despite herculean efforts, agricultural produc tion kept only a few weeks or months ahead of consumption, and that only by increasing the acreage of certain staple crops at the cost of reducing that of others. We ought not to for get that lesson when we ponder on the farmer's problems. They are truly common problems, and there should be no attempt to deal with them as If they were purely selfish demands of a clear-cut group, antagonistic to the rest of the community. Itather should we consider agriculture in the light of broad national policy. Just as we consider oil, coal, steel, dye stuffs, and so forth, as sinews of na tional strength. Our growing popula tion and a higher standard of living demand Increasing food supplies, and more wool, cotton, hides, and the rest. With the disappearance of free or cheap fertile land, additional acreage and increased yields can come only from costly effort. This we need not expect from an Impoverished or un happy rural population. It will not do to take a narrow view of the rural discontent, or to appraise It from the standpoint of yesterday. This Is peculiarly an age of flux and change and new deals. Because a thing always has been so no longer means that It Is righteous, or always shall be so. More, perhaps, than ever before, there Is a widespread feeling that all human relations can he im proved by taking thought, and that It Is not becoming for the reasoning nni- ! mal to leave his destiny largely to chance and natural Incidence. Prudent and orderly adjustment of production and distribution in accord ance with consumption is recognized as wise management In every business but that of farming. Yet, I venture to say, there is no other Industry In which It Is so Important to the pub lic ? to the city-dweller ? that produc tion should be sijre, steady, and In creasing, and that distribution should be In proportion to the need. The un organized farmers naturally act blind ly and Impulsively and, In conse quence, surfeit and dearth, accompa nied by disconcerting price-variations, harass the consumer. One year pota toes rot In the fields because of excess production, and there Is a scarcity of the things that have been displaced to make way for the expansion of the potato acreage; next year the punish ed farmers mass their fields on some other crop, and potatoes enter the class of luxuries; and so on. Agriculture Is the greatest and fun damentally the most Important of our American Industries. The cities are but the branches of the tree of na tional life, the roots of which go deep ly Into the land. We all flourish or decline with the farmer. S?o, when we of the cities read of the present uni versal distress of the farmers, of a slump of six billion dollars In the farm value of their crops In a single year, of their Inability to meet mortgages or to pay current bills, and how, seeking j relief from their ills, they are plan- i nlng to form pools, inaugurate farm- I ers' strikes, and demand legislation | abolishing grain exchanges, private | cattle markets, and the like, we ought j not hastily to brand them as economic j heretics and highwaymen, and hurl at j them the charge of being seekers of ! special privilege. Rather, we should j ask If their trouble Is not ours, and see what can be done to Improve the situation. Purely from self-'.nterest, If for no higher motive, we should help them. All of us want to get back permanently to "normalcy but Is It reasonable to hope for that condition unless our greatest and most basic in dustry can be put on a sound and solid permanent foundation? The farmers are not entitled to special privileges; but are they not right In demanding that they be placed on an ecpial foot ing with the buyers of their products and with other industries? II Let us, then, consider some of the farmer's grievances, and see how far they are real. In doing so, we should remember that, while there have been, and still are, Instances of purposeful abuse, the subject should not be ap proached with any general Imputation to existing distributive agencies of de liberately intentional oppression, but rather with the conception that the marketing of farm products has not been modernized. An ancient evil, and a persistent one, Is the undergrading of farm prod ucts, with the result that what the farmers sell as of one quality is re sold as of a higher. That this sort of chicanery should persist on any Im portant scale In these days of busi ness integrity would seem almost In credible, but there is much evidence that It does so persist. Even as I write, the newspapers announce the suspension of several firms from the New York Produce Exchange for ex porting to Germany as No. 2 wheat a whole shipload of grossly inferior wheat mixed with oats, chaff and the like. Another evil is that of Inaccurate weighing of farm products, which, it Is charged, is sometimes a matter of dishonest intention and sometimes of protective policy on the part of the local buyer, who fears that he may "weigh out" more than he "weighs in." A greater griQvance is that at pres ent the field farmer has little or no control over the time and conditions of marketing his products, with the result that he is often underpaid for his products and usually overcharged for marketing service. The differ ence between what the farmer re ceives and what the consumer pays often exceeds all possibility of Justi fication. To cite a single illustration. Last year, according to figures attest ed by the railways and the growers, Georgia watermelon-raisers received on the average 7.5 cents for a melon, the railroads got 12.7 cents for carry ing it to Baltimore and the consumer paid one dollar, leaving 79.8 cents for the service of marketing and its risks, as against 20.2 cents for growing and transporting. The hard annals of farm-life are replete with such com mentaries on the crudeness of pres ent practices. Nature prescribes that the farmer's "goods" must be finished within two or three monthB of the year, while finnnclal and storage limitations gen erally compel him to sell them at the same time. As a rule, other industries are in a continuous process of finish ing goods for tlie markets; they dis tribute as they produce, and they can curtail production without too great injury to themselves or t lie commu nity; but If t lie farmer restricts his output. It Is with disastrous conse quences, both to himself and to the community. The average farmer Is busy with production for the major part of the year, and has nothing to sell. The bulk of his output come6 on the mar ket at once. Because of lack of stor age facilities and of financial support, the farmer cannot carry his goods through the year and dispose of them as they are currently needed. In the great majority of cases, farmers have to entrust storage ? In warehouses and elevators ? and tlie financial carrying of their products to others. Farm product* are generally mar keted at a time when there Is a con gestion of both transportation and finance ? when cars and money are scarce. The outcome, In many In stances, Is that the farmers not only sell under pressure, and therefore at a disadvantage, but are compelled to take further reductions In net returns, In order to meet the charges for the service of storing, transporting, financ ing, and ultimate marketing? which charges they claim, are often exces sive, bear heavily on both consumer and producer, and are under the con trol of thoso performing the services. It Is true that they are relieved of the risks of a changing murket by aeillng at once ; but they are quite will Ins to take the unfavorable chance, if the favorable one also is theirs anil they can retain for themselves a part of the service charges that are uni form, In good yours and bad, with high prices and low. While, In the main, the farmer must sell, regardless of market conditions, at the time of the maturity of crops, he cannot suspend production in toto. He must go on producing If he is to go on living, and if the world Is to exist. The most he can do Is to curtail pro duction a little or ulter Its form, and that ? because he Is In the dark as to the probable demand for his goods ? may he only to Jump from the frying pan Into the tire, taking the consumer with him. Even the dairy farmers, whose out put is not seasonal, complain that they find themselves at a disadvantage In the marketing of their productions, especially raw milk, because of the high costs of distribution, which they must ultimately bear. Ill Now that the fanners are stirring, thinking, and uniting as never before to eradicate these Inequalities, they are subjected to stern economic lec tures, and are met with the accusation that they are demanding, and are the recipients of, special privileges. Let us see what privileges the government has conferred on the farmers. Much has been made of Section 6 of the Clayton Anti-Trust Act, which pur ported to permit thejn to combine with Immunity, under certain conditions. Admitting that, nominally, this ex emption was In the nature of a Special privilege, ? though 1 think It was so In appearance rather than In fact. ? we find that the courts have nullified It by Judicial Interpretation. Why should not the farmers be permitted to ac complish by co-operative methods what other businesses are already doing by co-operation In the form of Incorpora tion? If it be proper for men to form, by fusion of existing corporations or otherwise, a corporation that controls the entire production of a commodity, or a large part of it, why is It not proper for a group of farmers to unite for the marketing of their common products, either In one or in several selling agencies? Why should It be right for a hundred thousand corporate shareholders to direct 'Jo or 30 or 40 per cent of an industry, and wrong for a hundred thousand co-operative farmers to control a no larger propor tion of the wheat crop, or cotton, or any other product? The Department of Agriculture Is often spoken of as a special concession to the farmers, but in its commercial results, it Is of as much benefit to the buyers and consumers cf agricultural products as to the producers, or even more. I do not suppose that anyone opposes the benefits that the farmers derive from the educational and re search work of the department, or the help that It gives them In working out improved cultural methods and prac tices, In developing better yielding va rieties through breeding and selection. In introducing new varieties from re mote parts of the world and adapting thorn to our climate and economic con dition. and In devising practical meas ures for the elimination or control of dangerous and destructive animal and plant diseases. Insect pests, and the like. All these things manifestly tend to stimulate and enlarge production, and their general beneficial effects are obvious. It Is complained (bat, whereas the law restricts Federal Reserve banks to three months' time for commercial paper, the farmer Is allowed six months on his notes. This Is not a special privilege, but merely such a recognition of business conditions as makes it possible for country banks to do business with country people. The crop farmer has only one turn- j over a year, while the merchant and I manufacturer have many. Incidental ly, I note that the Federal Reserve Board has Just authorized the Fed eral Reserve banks to discount export paper for a period of six months, to conform to the nature of the busi ness. The Farm 1x>an banks nre pointed to as an instance of special govern ment favor for farmers. Are thc-y not rather the outcome of laudable efforts to equalize rural and urban condi tions? And about all the government does there Is to help set up an ad ministrative organization and lend a little credit at the start. Eventually the farmers will provide all the capi tal and carry all the liabilities them selves. It is true that Farm Loan bonds are lax exempt: but so are bonds of municipal light and traction plants, and new housing is to he ex empt from taxation, in New York, for ten years. On the other hand, the former reads of plans for municipal housing proj ects that run Into the billions, of hun dreds of millions annually spent on the merchant marine; he reads that the railways are being favored with Increased rotes nnd virtual guaranties of earnings by the government, with the result to him of an 'ncreased toll on all that he sells and all that he buy*. He hears of many manifesta tions of governmental concern for par ticular Industries and Interests. Res cuing the railways from Insolvency Is nndoubtedly for the benefit of the country as a whole, but what can be of more general benefit than encour agement of ample production of the principal necessaries of life and their even flow from contented producers to satisfied consumers? While It may be conceded tuat special governmental aid may he nec essary In the general Interest, we must all agree that It Is diflb-ult to see why agriculture and the production and dis tribution of farm products are n<-t ac corded the same opportunities that are provided for other businesses; espe cially as the enjoyment by the fanner of such opportunities would appear to be even more contributory to the n I l'imiiI than tn ft'?* iiim1 ? ? f ?'ther Industrie*. Tiit? solvit of A'in?n? :?n democracy is tinalirrably ? pjmsed. m ! . k ?? (<? spt-finl privilege .iml to tl ?? special privilerc of unequal op portunity thot arises automatically ficm the failure to correct glaring economic inequalities. I am <?;?!? >od t?i tin* injection <?f government Into business. but I ?J<? believe tl:at it is an essent i;:l function of democratic gov ernment t.. equalize opportuuit v wo fur as it is within its power to do so. nlii'llufr l?y the repeal of archaic statutes or the enactment of modern ones. If the anti-trust laws keep the farmers from endeavoring scientifically to integrate their industry while other industries find a way to meet modern conditions without violating such stat utes. then it would seem reasonable to find a way for the farmers to meet them under the same conditions. The law should operate equally in fact, lie pairing the economic structure on one side is no injustice to the oilier side, which is In good repair. We have traveled a long way from the old conception of government ns merely a defensive atul policing agency : and regulative, corrective, or equaliz ing 'legislation, which apparently is of a special nature, is often of the most general beneficial consequences. Even the l'irst Congress passed a tariff act that was avowedly for the protection j of manufacturers; but a protective tarifT always has been defended as u means of promoting the general good through a particular approach: and ilie statute books are filled with acts for the benefit of shipping, commerce, and labor. CHAMPION COAL LOADER IS ACCUSED OF MURDER William Johnson, a negro, known as the champion coal loader of West Virginia through his achievement In loading a ton of coal in two minute*, was the dangerous quarry which state police were forced to arrest recently. Johnson was wanted for the murder of a neighbor in the lonely hills near his home, the motive being robbery. Bloodhounds were used. They fol lowed Johnson's trail from the body across the hills to where Johnson lay hidden beneath a grain shock, u. .45 caliber revolver near him. Johnson ? a powerful figure ? put up a desperate fight, but he was soon overpowered. TROOPERS USE HOUNDS TO TRACK BURGLARS Bloodhounds were used by state po lice of th& Williamson station, under Captain J. 11- Brockus, to hunt down five men who late in October are al leged to have robbed the Wharncliffe postoffice and another store in that town. Two cases of tobacco, two cases of cigarettes and several parcel post packages were taken. Troopers Godfrey, Ward and Road lift worked on the case. They arrest ed Claude and John Hatfield. John and James Johnson and Lon Gibson. Hugger or Growler? Hub (just returned from hunting trip) ? 1 bad quite a narrow escape one day. Came near being mistaken for a bear. Wife ? It wouldn't have been much of a mistake, at that. ? Boston Tran script. Like Books. A work may be best advertised by censors. It Is stated. Some films may yet be highly prized when marked "unexpurgated." ? Washington Star. YOUNG MOTHERS! Staunton, Va. ? "During my first expectancy my back used to ache terribly and I had bo much trouble ?with my bladder that I was in mis ery all the time, especially at night. My appetite also failed me. TheBe conditions distressed me for a month or two when I remembered that I had always heard Dr. Pierce's Favorite Prescription spoken of very highly. This tonic did help me at once and in a very few weeks I was in a perfectly normal condition. "The next time I did not take the ?Prescription,' and for three months I was at times almost unable to do my housework, and my baby was very small and delicate. I feel 1 could have had a healthy baby from the first if I had taken the ?Prescription' for my first child was as healthy as anyone could expect. Only those who have Buffered, and especially young mothers, can ap preciate what a wonderful medi cinc Dr. Pierce's Favorite Prescrip tion is." ? Mrs. Blanche Daggy, 720 Burwell Ave. You should obtain this Prescrip tion of Dr. Pierce's now at your druggist, in tablets or liquid. Undertaking. A Licensed Embalmcr. Day Phone 40. Night Phone }45. C. E. COX & Co. Lewi sburgW. Va. Feeling "At Home." One of our ambitions is to have folks feel at home in this Bank; to cultvate geniality and good will; to promote that feeling that the Bank of Greenbrier is a home Institution, ready to serve our home people ai all times. 0O0 You will always find a welcome here. Y ou are entitledto our time and attention whether you bank here or elsewh ere. 0O0 THE BANK of GREENBRIER, LEWISBURG1 WEST VIRGINIA. Speed Waqon Equipped With Dump Bodij and Goad Floater A REO " Speed Wagon, Equipped with a Road Floater and Dump Body, will replace up to six teams of horses in doing Road work. It has demonstrated its ability to do better and faster work than horse-drawn equipment. It. will handle gravel at a speed of from ten to fifteen miles an hour At this speed it will spread the gravel more evenly and till hjup.e little cups and ruts. It has proved equally effective in maintaining the ordinary type of dirt road." The Floater, or leveling apparatus, can be hung oh either side of the Speed Wagon. It is adjustable to different pressures on the road. With a Dump Body the Speed Wagon will carry practi cally a yard of gruvel, "floating" the road as it goes along. The Floater can be easily removed and the truck used for other purposes. Parker Reo Agency, Reo Motor Car Co., LewisburgJ W. Va. Lansing, Mich. OFFICIAL. OIRECTORY Of Greenbrier County, West Virginia Revised January 1? 1921. Judge Circuit Court ? S. H. Sharp, of Marlinton. Prosecuting Attorney ? S. M. Austin, of Lewisburg. County Commissioners ? Thos. W. Shields, Pres., Frankford; E. W. Sydenstricker, Lewisburg; H. E. Williams, Trout. Circuit Clerk ? W. F. Richardson. County Clerk ? Paul C. Hogsett. Deputy County Clerk ? Earl C. Watte Sheriff ? L. L. Graybeal; Deputies; S. H. McDowell. W. R. Hunt, J. W. Miller. Surveyor ? G L. White. Assessor ? E. B. Miller; Deputies: W. A. Bivens, J. A. Brown, S. N. Erwin. J. W. Crickenberger. State Senators ? J. S. Lew-is; R. H. Boone. House of Delegates ? C. F. McClintic H. W. Bivens. Superintendent of Schools ? L. O. Haynes, of Smoot. Jus/ices of the Peace- ? Anthony's Creek District ? W. S. Waid; J. N. Foster. Blue Sulphur District ? A. M. Mc Neer. Falling Spring District ? M. M. Burr; W. P. MoKeever. Fort Spring District ? 1?. H. Mc Grath; J. W. Fink, Frankford District ? Theo. Brink ley; A. E. iarant. LewiBburg District? W. R. Bur dette; F. M, Arbucklo. Meadow Bluff District ? Albas Mc Cluttg;' O, D. Ruoktaa*. Whito Sulphur? R. Harper' N. A. Beoltner. Constables- ? Falling Spring District B. T. Rose. Fort Spring District? R. H. Brawi Frankford ? J. R. Flerfhiaam. Irish Corner ? W. G. White. White Sulphur District W G. Leach; J, E. Forren. Overseers of Poor ? Anthony's Creek District ? W. S. Waid. Blue Sulphur District-I. L.. Bivens. Palling Spring District Fort Spring District ? H. L.. Coff man. Frankford District ? J. F. Bright. Irish Corner District Lewisbug District^-. J. M. Cunning ham. Meadow Bluff District ? W. A. Ai derson. 1 White Sulphur District ? J. E. I Ayres. j Williamsburg District ? F. L. Wal i lace. 1 Commissioners of Accounts ? Jo'on I W. Arbuckle, F. M. Arbuckle, Satnuel Price and A. M. Tressel. W. B. Blake, Jr., of Ronceverte, General Receiver. Times of Holding Oourts: Circuit Court convenes on the Third Tuesday in January; Second Tuesday in May, Second Tuesday in September. The County Court convenes on tho First Tuesday in each of the montha of January, February, March, April, May, June, July, September, October November and December; and on the Second and Forth Tuesdays in August. I Beman Produce Co. WHOLESALE PRODUCE. (Deaaiujr Livery BulMinp, ) Roncevrrte. W. Va. Otfers the Best Market and the Highest Cash Price tor your Produce. Batter, Efgjfi, Chicken*, Turkcyn, Wool, Hidfee, Furs, and Ginseng. If L XJ M. B E R figuring on Building or Repairing I can Save you Money on FLOORING. CEILING, SIDING. MOLDING, "OAK and POPIAR TRIM JOHN J. T AIT, Planing Mill Prdoucts Alderson, West Vgniir.a.