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East Mississippi times. (Starkville, Miss.) 19??-1926, January 20, 1922, Image 5

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1 1 ■ ■ 1 "■ V"
Some Aspects of the
Farmers’ Problems
(Reprinted from Atlantic Monthly)
„ I
The whole rural world Is In ■ fer
ment of unreal, and there Is an un
paralleled volume and Intensity of de
termined, If not angry, protest, and an
ominous swarming of occupational con
ferences, Interest groupings, political
movements and propaganda. Such a
turmoil cannot but arrest our atten
tion, Indeed, It demands our careful
study and examination. It Is not like
ly that six million aloof and ruggedly
Independent men have come together
and banded themselves Into active
unions, societies, farm bureaus, and so
forth, for no sufficient cause.
Investigation of the subject conclu
sively proves that, while there •* much
overstatement of grievances and mis
conception of remedies, the farmers
are right In complaining of wrongs
long endured, and right In holding that
It Is feasible to relieve their Ills with
benellt to the rest of the community.
This being the case of an Industry
that contributes, In the raw material
form alone, about one-third of the na
tional ' production and
la the means of livelihood of about 40
per cent of the population. It la ob
vious that the subject is one of grave
concern. Not only do the formers
make up one-half of the notion, but
the well-being of the other half de
pends upon them.
So long as we have nations, a wise
polltclal economy will aim at a Ihrga
degree of national self-sufficiency and
self-containment. Home 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
theln 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 unintetllgence.
Only the lower grades of mentality
and character wHI remain on, or seek,
the farm, unless agriculture Is capable
of being pursued with contentment and
adequate compensation. Hence, to em
and Impoverish the farmer Is to
flKlup and contaminate the vital
'jßrCea of the nation.
*T"he war showed convincingly how
dependent the nation is on the full
productivity of the farms. Despite
herculean effdrta, 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 aa
If they were purely selfish demands
of. a clear-cut group, antagonistic to
the rest of the commit Rather
should we consider agriculture in the
light of broad national policy, just
as, we consider cl!, coal, steel, dye
stuffs, and so forth, ag 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. need not
expect from an Impoverished or' on
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
be so. More, perhaps, than ever
before, there Is a widespread feeling
that all human relations can he Im
proved by talcing thought, and that It
Is net becoming for the reasoning ani
mal to leave his destiny largely to
chance and natural incidence. >
Prudent and orderly adjustment of
production and distribution in accord
ance wlth consumption is recognized
as flMee management In every business
but <hat of farming, ret, 1 venture
to s|y, there Is no other Industry in
which It is so Important to the pub
ite-rto the city-dweller—that produc
tloc Should be sure, 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, and dearth, accompa
nied price-variations,
taarassHhe consumer. One year pota
toes ret Tn tjie fields because of excess
there Is a scarcity of
the that have been displaced
’h'kiak* yggy for the expansion of the
Btfno neresffi?: nest year the punlsh-
Bfcfarmers ittaq.* y\r r fields on some
other crop, and' potatoes enter the
class of InxfljtMy on.
Agriculture!* the greatest and fun
damentally the most impdifiaht ijf our
American Industries. The..’<jJtles are
but the branches of the .jyee of na
tional ot* r-ojleep
ly into tilted. ‘ r 'w<" all fiSSrish or
decline wf|h.(he phovirt
of the cities of the present nnl
vereal dlstreee of the.i’arnwro, of a
elnmp of sJvtfiUlon AmnW-WHie'fSnß
jJt of thjjf crops in # ilngii year
of their Inability to meet mortgages er
to pay current bills, and how, seeking
relief from their Ilia, they are plan
ning to form pools. Inaugurate farm
era’ strikes, and demand legislation
abolishing grain exchanges, private
cattle markets, and the like, we ought
not hastily to brand them as economic
heretics and highwaymen, and hurl at
them the chargo of being seekers of
special privilege. Rather, we should
ask If their trouble la not ours, and
see what can bo done to Improve the
situation. Purely from self-interest,
If for no higher motive, we should
help them. All of us want to get back
permanently to “normalcybut 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:
bnt are they not right In demanding
that they be placed on an equal foot
ing with the buyers of their product*
and with other Industries?
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 undergradlng 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 ecm almost In
credible, but there Is much evidence
that It does so persist. Kven aa I
write, the newspapers announce the
suspension of several firms from the
New York Produce Exchange for ex
porting to Germany aa No. 2 wheat a
whole shipload of grossly Inferior wheal
mixed with oat*, chaff and the like.
Another evil la that of Inaccurate
weighing of farm products, which, It
la charged, I* 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 grievance Is that at pres
ent the field farmer has little or no
control over the lime and conditions
of marketing his ' products, with the
result that he Is often underpaid for
Ms 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 (he 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 Ualtlmore and the consumer
paid one dollar, leaving 70 8 cents for
the service of marketing and Its rlska,
aa 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 farmer s
“goods” must be finished within two
or three months of the year, while
financial and storage limitations gen
erally compel him to sell them at the
same time Asa rule, other Industries
are In a contlnuon*- process of finish
Ing goods for the markets; they dls
tribute as they produce, and they can
curtail production without too great
Injury to themselves or the commu
nity ; but If the farmer restricts Ids
ofitput, It It with disastrous conse
quences, both to himself and to the
The average farmer Is busy with
production for the major part of the
year, and has nothing to sell. The
hulk of bit output comes on (he tusr
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
lo entrust storage—ln warehouses and
elevators—and the financial carrying
of their products to others.
Farm products are generally mar
keted tit a time when there Is a con
gestlon 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, 1
In order to meet the charges for the
kervlce of storing, transporting, financ
ing, and ultimate
charges they claim, art Often exces
she, bear heavily on both tjqnsumai
and producer, qnd hre. undecStlie-'**.
trcl Of those pertertalhg the tervfiib '
U Is true that they are relieved of
tfee risks of • changing market by
sailing at one* i hot they are quite will
lag to take the uafavorable chance.
If the favorable one also Is theirs and
they can retain for themselves a port
of the service charges that are uni
form, In good year* 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 It 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 tiller its form, and
that —because he Is In the dark as to
the probable demand for Ids goods—
may be only to Jump from the frying
pan Into the fire, taking the consumer
with him.
Lven the dairy farmers, whose out
put is not seasonal, complain that they
find themselves at a
the marketing of their productions,
especially raw milk, bepause of the
high costs of distribution, which they
must ultimately hear.
Now that the farmers nre stirring,
thinking, and uniting as never before
to eradicate these Inequalities, they
are subjected to stem economic lec
itures, 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 fanners. Much
has been made of Section 6 of the
Clayton Anti-Trust Act, which pur
ported to permit them to combine with
Immunity, under certain conditions.
Admitting that, nominally, this ex
emption was In the nature of a special
privilege,—though I think It was. So In
appearance rather than In fact. —we
find that the courts have nullified If
by Judicial Interpretation. Why should
not the farmers he permitted to ac
complish by co-operative methods what
other businesses are already doing by
co-operation In the form of Incorpora
tion? It It he proper for men to form,
by fusion of existing corporations or
otherwise, a corporation that controls
the entire production of a commodity,
ar a large part of It, why Is It not
proper for a group of fnrniora 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 25 or 30 or 40
per cent of an Industry, and wrong for
a hundred thousand co-operative
farmers to control a no larger propor
tlon of the wheat crop, or cotton, or
any other product?
The Department of Agriculture Is
often spoken of ns a special concession
to the farmers, but la Its commercial
results, It Is of ns much benefit to the
buyers and consumers of agricultural
products ns to rtie 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 tile department, or the
help that It gives them In working out
improved cultural methods and prac
tices, In developing bettor yielding va
rieties through breeding and selection,
in Introducing new varieties from re
mote parts of the world and adapting
them to our climate and economic con
dition, and in devising practical meas
ures for the elimination cr control of
dangerous ami 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
It Is complained that, whereas the
law restricts Federal Reserve banks
to three months’ time for commercial
paper, the farmer Is allowed six
months on Ids notes. This Is not a
special privilege, hut merely sneb a
recognition of business conditions ns
makes it possible for country banks
to do business with country people.
The crop farmer has only one turn
over a year, while the merchant and
manufacturer have many. Incidental
ly, I note that the Federal Reserve
Board has Just authorized the Fed
eral Reserve hanks to discount export
paper for a period of six months, to
conform to the nature of the bust
The Farm Doan banks are pointed
to as an instance of speelnl govern
meqt favor for fnrraqrs. Are they n>i
rather the outcome of laudable efforts
to equalize rural and urban cnndl
tlons? And about all the government
does there Is to help set up an nd
mlnlstratlve organization and lend a
little credit at the start. Eventual!)
the farmers will provide nil the rapi
tat and carry all the llabl'itles them
selves. It Is true that Farm I.oa
bonds nre tax exempt; but so art
bonds of municipal-light and trnctlni:
plants, and new housing Is to he ex
empt from taxation. In New York, for
ten years.
On the ether hand, the fanner read
of plans for municipal housing proj
ect* that run Intiythe hllllons, of hun
dreds of nilllions annually spent nr
'the merchant marine; he rends that
the railways are being favored with
Increased rate* and virtual guaranties
of earnings by the government, with
the, result to him of an 'ncrensed toll
on all that he sells and all that he
buys. He hears of many manifests
tlons of governmental concern for par
t'lcular Industries and Interests, lies
cuing the railways from Insolvency Is
undoubtedly for the benefit of the
country us a whole, but what be
of more general benefit than encpur •
agement of ample production -the
principal necessaries .of life and tbelr
even liow.from contented producers tp.
.satisfied cmpoipters? . *** ‘
While lb •■may has ..dituedod fUni'
special governmental aid may he nee
essary In tlic pcwral futewsr,' we nSis:
aH agree thltf.ftl If fHHlcbi# t4Jse(fhli>
aerh'.uJture and the production and dls
'trlbnijim of farm products arc not c
cord<ii\ll.p same- opbortuhifies that art
prcnlipd for other businesses; espe
dally ab the enjoyment by the far me
of turitb opportunities t*mld-hppetfM :
bt even mure contributory to tile gen
abstraction of thstr upward sffoita,
We. as city people, see la high and
speculatively manipulated (priced,
spoilage, wsstd, scarcity, the results
of defective distribution of farm prod
ucts. Should It net occur to us that
we have a common Interest with ths
farmer In hla attempts to attain a de
gree of efficiency In distribution cor
responding to his efficiency In produc
tion? Do not the recent fluctuations
in the May wheat optlpn, apparently
unrelated to normal Interaction of
supply and demand, offer a timely
proof of the need of some such stabil
izing agency ns the grain growers have
In contemplation?
It la contended that. If their pro
posed organizations bo perfected and
operated, the farmers will have In
their hands an Instrument that will ha
capable of dangerous abuse. We are
told that It will be possible to pervert
It to Arbitrary and oppressive price
fixing from Its legitimate use of order
ing and stabilizing the flow of farm
products to the market/ to the mutual
beneflt of producer and consumer. I
have no apprehensions on thla point.
In the first place, a loose organiza
tion, such as any union of farmers
must be at best, eannnt he so arbi
trarily and promptly controlled as a
groat corporation. The one Is a lum
bering democracy and the other an agile
autocracy. In the second place, with
all possible power of org-miration, the
farmers cannot succeed to any great
extent, or for any considerable length
of time. In Axing prices. The grnjt
law of supply and demand works In
various and surprising way*, to the
undoing of the best laid plans that
attempt to foil It. In the third place,
their power will avail tha farmer*
nothing If It ha abused.' In our time
and country power Is of value to Its
possessor only so long ka It Is not
abused. It It fair to say that I have
seen no signs in responsible quarter*
of a disposition to dictate prices.
There seems, oa the contrary, to be a
commonly beneficial purpoee t* realize
a stability that will glv> an orderly
and abundant flow of farm product*
to the consumer and ensure reasonable
and dependable returns to the pro
ducer. <
In view of the supreme Importance
to the national well-being of a pros
perous and contented agricultural pop
ulation, we should be prepared to go
a lung way In assisting the farmers to
get an equitable share of the wealth
they produce, through the Inaugura
tion of reforms that will procure a
continuous and Increasing stream, of
farm products. They are far from get
ting a fair share now. Considering
his capital and the long hours of labor
put In by the average farmer and his
family, 'he Is remunerated less than
any other occupational class, with the
possible exception of teachers, 'reli
gious and lay. Though we know that
the present general distress of the
farmers Is exceptional and Is linked
with the Inevitable economic readjust
ment following the War, It must be
remembered that, although represent
ing one-third of the Industrial product
and half the total population of the
nation, the rural cpmaiunltles ordi
narily enjoy but a fifth to a quarter of
the net annual national gain. Notwith
standing the taste of prosperity that
the farmers had during the-war, there
Is today a lower standard of living
among the cotton farmers 0/ the South
than in any other pursuit lu the country.
In conclusion, It seems to me that the
fanners tire chiefly striving, (or a gen
erally beneficial Integration of their
business, of the same kind and charac
ter that other business enjoys. If It
should he found on examination that
the attainment of this end requires
methods different from those which
other activities have followed for the
same purpose should we not sympa
thetically consider the plea for the
right to co-operate, If only from oar
own enlightened self iiilerest, in ob
taining all abundant and steady flow of
farm products?
In examining the agricultural sltua
lion with a view to Its Improvement,
we slafll be most helpful if wo maln
taia detached and Judicial viewpoint,
remembering that existing wrongs may
be cbiefiy an accident of unsymmetrl
cal economic growth Instead of a crea
tion of malevolent design and conspira
cy. We Americans see prone, ns Pro
fessor David Friday well says In his
admirable hock, “Profits, Wages and
Prices," to seek a “criminal Intent be
hind every difficult and undesirable eco
nomic situation," I can positively as
sert from my contact with men of
large affairs, including bankers, that,
ns a whole, they are endeavoring to
fulfill ns they see them the obligations
that gy with their power. Preoccupied
with the grave problem* and heavy
tasks of their own Immediate affairs,
they have not turned their thoughtful
personal attcntloa or their construc
tive abilities to the deficiencies of agrl
cultural business organization. Agri
culture. It may be said, sulWr* from
• belr preoccupation and neglect rather
ban from any purposeful exploitation
by them. They ought now to begin to
respond to the fanners’ difficulties,
which they must realize are their own
On the other hand, my contacts with
:he farmers have filled me with respect
for them—for their sanity, their pa
tience, their balance. Within the last
year, and particularly at a meeting
Tailed by the Kansas State Hoard of
Agriculture and at another called by
Cie. Committee of Seventeen, I have
gjet; many of 'HM-Waders of the ne
'arm movement, and I testify In all
that they are endrttbring to
leal with their problems, not ns pro
fjtpt< rs of a norrpjr Jim
as exploiters of tbe hapless consumer,
q<Jt as murcfV>s,s; iw -igopOHsts,-tui? ns
nines', ment bei)t..pp l,l\e, Jmproignienl
ajf.the common weal. „ sj
.'.V. e can and must ■ meet such men
urd such a cause half way. Their
irdttlnesi la oar buiineee —tbe aetlonb
•ml good than 111 tfe* mh #f other
Industries. Tin spirit •< Antriraa
democracy la unaltaruMy opposed.
alike to enacted ••portal privilege hnd
to the apecial pHvileg* of unequal op
portunity that arltoo automatically
from the failure to correct glaring
economic Inequalities I am opposed
to the Injection of government Into
business, but I do believe tljnt It Is an
essential function of democratic gov
ernment in equalize opportunity so
fnr as It Is within Its power to do so,
whet her by the repeal of archaic
statutes or the enactment of modern
ones. If the antitrust laws keep the
farmers from endeavoring scientifically
to Integrate their Industry while other
Industries find s way to meet modern
conditions without violating such stat
utes, then It would seem reasonable
to And a way for the farmers to meet
them under the same conditions! The
law should operate equally In fact. Re
pairing the economic structure on one
side Is no Injustice to the other side,
Which Js lu good repair.
We hare traveled s long way from
the old conception of government as
merely a defensive and policing agency;
and regulative, corrective, or equalis
ing legislation, which apparently Is of
a special nature. Is often of the most
general henotlclal consequences. Even
the l-'lgst Congress passed a tariff act
that was avowedly for the proton lon
of manufacturers; hut a protective
tariff always has been defended as a
means of promoting the general good
through a particular approach; and
the statute hooks are Ailed with acts
for the benefit of shipping, commerce,
and labor,
Now, what la the farmer asking?
Without trying to catalogue the re
medial measures that have been sug
gested In his behalf, the principal pro
posals that hear directly on the lm
pmvomeat of hla distributing and mar
keting relations may bs aomsiarlred as
follows: ,
First: storage warehouse* for cot
ton, wool, anti tobacco, and elevators
for grain, of sufAclent rapacity to meet
the maximum demand on them at the
peak of the marketing period. The
fanner thinks that either private capi
tal must furnish these facilities, or,the
state must erect and own the eleva
tors and warehouses.
Second: weighing and grading of
agricultural products, and certlAcatlon
thereof, to he done by Impartial and
disinterested public Inspectors (this Is
already accomplished to some extent
by the federal licensing of weighers
and graders), to eliminate underpay
ing, overcharging, and unfair grAdlng,
and to facilitate the utilization of the
stored products as the basis of credit.
Third : a certainty of credit sulliclem
to enable the marketing of product!
In an orderly manner. %
Fourth: the Department of Agricul
ture should collect, tubulate, summa
rize, and regularly and frequently, pub
lish anti distribute to the fanners, full
Information from all the markets of
the world, go that they shall-he as well
Informed of their selling position as
buyers now are of their buying, posi
. Fifth; freedom to Indurate the busi
ness of agrlrultura by mean* of con
solldated soiling agencies, co-ordinat
ing and co-operating In aiicli way as t
pot the farmer on an equal footing
with the large buyers of (ils products,
and with commercial relations In other
Industries. '
When a business requires specialized
talent. It hns to buy It. So will tile
fanners; and perhaps the best way for
them to get It would be to utilize some
of the present machinery of the larg
est established agencies drilling In
farm products. Of course. If he wishes,
the funner msy go further and engage
In Hour-milling and other mnnufnotuecs
of foial products. In rojt opinion,
however, he would be Wise to atop
short of that. ■ Public Interest may be
opposed to all great Integrations;.butt
In Justice, should they he forbidden to
the farmer and pennltted to others?
The corporate form of association can
not now be wholly adapted to his.ob
jects nnrf conditions. The looser co
operative form seems more generally
suitable. Therefore, he wishes to be
free. If he llnds It desirable and feas
ible, to resort to eo-operatlon with his
fellows and neighbor*, without lim
ning afoul of the law. To urge lhat
the farmers should have the same lib
erty to consolidate and co-ordinate
their peculiar economic functions,
which other Industries In their Helds
enjoy, Is not, however, to concede that
any business Integration should have
legislative sanction tn exercise monop
olistic power. The American people
are as (irmly opposed to Industrial as
to political autocracy, whether at
tempted by r.ural or by, urban Industry.
For lack of united effort thb farmers
as a whole are still marketing tfielr
crops hy antiquated methods, Or hy
methods at all, but they are surrounded
by e business world that has been
modernized to the last minute and la
tirelessly striving for efficiency. This
efficiency Is due In large measure tu
big business, to united business, to In
tegrated business The farmers now
seek the benefits'of such largeness, un
ion and Integration.
the American farmer Is a moder%of
the moderns In the use ot labor saving
machinery, and he has made vast
strides In recent years In scientific
tillage anil efficient farm management,
but ns a business In centner with other
businesses aglrenlture Is a "one h-vse
shay" In competition win. high i ower
autonjohLies. The American farm r la
the greatest sad most Intractable of
•Individualists. While 'industrial pro
4rtuctln ul.Ul uhl pha-ses of the huge com
merclnl mechnnlsm anji. lts myrlod ac
cessories have articulated and co-ordl
anted iHentsetve# all the way from nat
ural raw materials to retail sales, the
hUidneiV'nf agriculture bus gone on In
much, the tme man fashion ot the back
wopdi of Hie first part of the nine-
century, wlieu the farmer \ro
•elf sufficient and did not depend upoa,
or car* very much, what the great
werld was doing. Tho result Is that
the agricultural group Is almost ns
mnch at a disadvantage In denllni wlti
other economic groups as the Jay farm*
er of the funny pages In the hands of
sleek m-hnn confidence men, who soli
him acreage In Central Park or lha
Chicago city hall. The leaders of the
farmers thoroughly understand lids,
and they are Intelligently striving to
Integrate their Industry so Unit It will
be on an equal footing with other busi
As an example of Integration, lake
the steel Industry, In which the model
la the United States Steel Corporation,
with Its iron mines. Its coal mines. Us
lake and rail transportation. Its mean
vessels, Us by-product eol.e ovens, Us
blast furpaces. Us open hearth and
Bessemer furnaces. Its rolling mills. It*
tube mills and other lunmifarturlns.
processes that are carried to the high
est degree of finished production com
patible with the large trade It has
built up. All this Is generally conced
ed to be to the advantage of the con
sumer, Nor does the steel corporation
Inconsiderately dump Its products on
the innrket. On the contrary. It so
sets that It Is frequently a slahllizlng
Influence, as Is often the ease with oth
er large organisations, it Is master of
Us distribution as well us of Its pro
duction. If prices are not satisfactory
the products are held hack or produc
tion is minced or suspended. It Is not
compelled to send n year’s work In the
•market at one time and lake whaleier
It can gel under anch elrrumstaneea.
It has one selling policy and Us own
expert department. Neither are the
grades ami qualities of steel determin
ed at the caprice of the buyer, nor does
the latter hold the scales. In this sin
gle Integration of the steel corporation
Is represented about 40 per pent of ike
steel production of America. The rest
Is mostly In the* hands of s few large
companies. In ordinary limes the
steel corporation, hy example, si ald litres
all steel prices. If this Is permissible
(It Is even desirable, hecn'nse stable
and fair prices are essential to solid
and continued prosperity) why Wftuld
It he wrong for the farmers to utilize
contrsl Agencies Hint would have simi
lar effects on agricultural products?
Something like that Is what they are
aiming at.
Some farmers ft cored hy regional
compactness and contiguity, such ns the
cltrus-frult-rnlsers of California, al
ready have found a way legally to
merge and sell their products inte
grally and In accordance with seasonal
and local demand, thus Improving
their position and rendering the con
sumer a reliable service of ensured
quality, certain supply, and reasonable
and relatively steady prices. They
have not found It necessary to resort
to any special privilege, or to claim
sny exemption under the nnil-lrust
legislation of the state or nation. With
out removing local control, they have
btlllf op a very efficient marketing
agency. The grain, cotton, mid U>-
hgyoo farmers, and the produce** of
hides and wool, because of their num
bers and the fastness of their regions,
for other . rensons, have found
Integration s more difficult Insk;
though there are now some thousands
of farmer's co-operative elevators,
warehouses, creameries, and other en
terprises of one sort and anothst.-wltb
a turn-over of a blHlru dollars a year.
They are giving the farmers business
experience and training, and, so far
as they go, they meet the need of
honest weighing and fair grading; but
they do not meet the requirements of
rationally adjusted marketing In sny
large and fundamental way.
The next step, which will he g pat
t|rn for other groups, Is now heltig
prepared hy the graln-ralsers through
the establishment of sales media which
shall handle grain - separately or col
lectively. as the Individual farmer may
elect. It is this step—the plan of the
Committee of Seventeen—which has
crested so much opposition and IS
thought hy some to he In conflict with
the anti-trust laws. Though there Is
now before congress a measure de
signed to clear up doubt on this point,
the grain producers are not relying on
say Immunity from anti-trust legisla
tion. They desire, and they are en
titled. to co-ordlnale their efforts Just
as effectively as the large business In
terests of the country have done. In
connection with the selling organiza
tions the United States Grain (Irowers
Incorporated Is drafting a scheme of
flnanrlng Instrumentalities and auxili
ary agencies which are Indispensable
In the successful utilization of modem
business methods.
It Is essential that the farmers
should proceed gradually with these
plana, and elm to mold the error of
acrspptne the existing marketing ma
chinery, which has been so laboriously
bIH up by long experience, before,
they have a fried and proved substi
tute or supplemenlary mechanism.
They must be careful not to become
enmeshed In their own- Reforms and
lose the perspective of their place Iti
thp national syatem. They must guard
against fanatical devotion to new doc
trines, and ahould seek articulation
with the general economic system
rather than Its reckfeas destruction as
It relates to them.
To lake a tolerant am 1 sympathetic
vW of the farmers' strivings for bet
ter things Is not to give a blanket
endorsement to any specific plan, and
st'll legs to applaud the vagaries of
some of their leaders and group*.
Neither should we, on tin- other hand,
allow the froth of hitter agitation,
falae economics, and mistaken radical
ism to conceal the facts of the farm
ers' dlsadrantigcs. and the pra< llcahll-
Ity of eliminating them hy well-con
sidered measures. It may he that the
farmers will not show the business
sagacity ami devehq the wmjo, legder
to carry through sound plans; bur
bat possoiillt; U ct not Justify thf

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