« PreviousContinue »
advantage of using every foot of space to produce something for the comfort, convenience, and profit of the owners. The cherry and apricot lawn, plum poultry yard,
trees on the trees in the pear trees at the end of the truck rows, horse-radish in a corner, a clump of sage tucked in here, a little bunch of mint there, dewberries along the fence, all of these features combined to impress the fact that it is not so much the size of the farm which counts at the end of the season as the proper cultivation of the land itself.
Second only to the importance of arranging the crops so as to minimize labor is the importance of securing the most efficient labor and getting maximum results. In many respects, the labor problem is the most serious one confronting the farmer today. The unemployed drift in large numbers to the harvest fields but few have the adaptability or the experience to make good farm hands. The task is to find men who will not merely do but who will prove efficient workers and will remain on the farm. Good wages are paid, varying according to the sections of the country. But even then the farmers are not getting the worth of their money. One of the largest grain growers of the Northwest, Mr. J. II. McCroskey, who has 2,000 acres of Palouse Valley land in wheat, has found this out by experience. His observations are well worth hearing:
"System is the secret of success and of a balance in black ink instead of red." says Mr. McCroskey. "It's the little things saved that make the big amounts earned. Just for example. When using a number of binders, it is better to keep all of them at work together in the same field, as one man can oversee it all. The same applies to plowing or other farm operations. When a binder is stopped for repairs, even if only for five minutes, it is better to take it to one side and let the others go on with their work. It may be only five minutes' stop for the disabled
machine, but it is a loss of fifty minutes if the other nine operating are kept waiting. Moreover, the binder which has been stopped for a few minutes can generally catch up with the others.
"It is better to have a head binder who has the best team and the best machine. This foreman may not be on his own machine more than half the time. He is looking after the others, and if any hitch occurs with some of the other binders, he changes places until things are working smoothly again. In the same way a head shocker will keep a lookout over the field generally, seeing that the teams of three men are lined up and work well together.
"During threshing time, the grower should watch the work. This applies to the quarter section farmer as well as to the bonanza rancher. In this way he can look after and frequently check wastes in the field and at the machine and judge the quality of work. Poor threshing may reduce the price of grain from one to two cents a bushel.
"It is of as much importance as anyother thing that the farmer should do his work at the right time, and hire additional horses when needed. It costs but little more to hire than to own, but it does make a big difference in the crops if they are not put in, harvested and cared for at the right time."
Mr. McCroskey is a firm believer in Plowinc. Is Now A Science.
paying good wages and keeping the same gang of men year after year. He is making a striking success of his wheat land, which yields him an annual return of 10.6 per cent on a valuation of $170,000.
Having arranged his land to the best advantage, seen that it is fertilized and cultivated so that the largest possible crops will result and having harvested these crops in the most thorough manner, the problem confronting the farmer is that of marketing. Alone among the leading workers of the world he has no permanent, effective organization. He sells his goods at the prices made by the buyer. And yet this need not be, although most of the plans to prevent it have failed. There is no disputing that the farmer is not receiving his just share of the price which the ultimate consumer pays. This was strikingly illustrated by Mr. B. F. Yoakum, chairman of the
Frisco railroad system, in his address at the 1910 meeting of the Farmers Union in St. Louis, when he said: "The Florida farmer receives $2.50 for a bushel of green beans, the railroad gets fifty cents for the 800-mile haul to New York and the consumer pays $6.40 for this same bushel of beans. There is thirty-five per cent for the grower, eight per cent for the carrier and fifty-seven per cent for the dealer. This is not a fair division. Thirty cents a dozen was the average price of eggs in New York last year, while the farmers of Arkansas and Missouri received fifteen cents. The freight was two cents a dozen. The men who receive the eggs at a freight station in New York and deliver them to the consumer take fifteen cents a dozen profit. The rice farmer of Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas gets two and one-half cents a pound for the grain, and the consumer in New York pays ten cents a pound for this rice. The freight is one and one-half cents a pound. If the rice farmer were paid three and onehalf cents—one cent more than he is now getting—and the dealer took one cent profit—which is twenty-five per cent— the New York consumer would get twenty pounds of rice for $1, instead of ten pounds, as now."
On the platform at that convention was a chart showing the division of profits on a five cent loaf of bread. According to this chart the wheat grower receives one and one-half cents out of each nickel, the baker two cents and the retail dealer one cent. Now what must the farmer do to make his receipts more nearly commensurate with his investment, his work and his risk? Up to date the most satisfactory plan has been cooperation. Yet the absolutely successful co-operative plan has never yet been worked out. The reason is found in the
The Successful Farmer Lives In A Modern, "city Dwelling.
frailty of human nature. One of the most practical addresses delivered before the St. Louis convention of the Farmers Union was that of John A. Miller, president of the Missouri State Union, who narrated his experiences in organizing the farmers of his community. He stated that when corn was selling on the St. Louis market at fifty-two cents per bushel, the commission men in his home town offered but forty-three cents per bushel. Mr. Miller believed that if the farmers would co-operate, they could name their own price and materially benefit themselves. To this end he secured the agreement of half a dozen farmers to withhold from the market 10,000 bushels of corn until the local
commission men paid approximately the St. Louis market price. Two days after this agreement was entered into, the commission men raised their offer from forty-three to fifty cents per bushel, within two cents of the St. Louis price, and Mr. Miller and his associates accepted the offer and disposed of their 10,000 bushels at an increase of $700 for this one instance of the organization.
Mr. Miller confessed, however, that his tentative efforts to better the farmers' condition and to raise the price of corn fell flat because of the farmers withdrawing from their agreement. It had been decided to pool their corn again and 15,000 bushels were put into the pool. Before a price for the entire lot could be arranged, however, several of the farmers who had agreed to stand together individually sold their corn for fifty and one-quarter cents per bushel, making an increased profit of only twenty-five cents per hundred bushels and disarranging the pool and violating their agreement. Mr. Miller admitted that all efforts to organize and co-operate would fail as this plan failed if the farmers would not resolve to stand by their contracts and to sink or swim together.
All these things, and more, too, are necessary if the highest efficiency possible on the farm is to be achieved. The farmer who fails to realize that he must discard the ways of his fathers, study day and night and adopt every system and scheme for making every penny, every stroke and every seed count is dropping behind in the procession. Mark Twain once declared that he was the only farmer in Connecticut who could make two blades of grass grow where three had grown before. Over against him is the efficient farmer who is mak
ing three blades of grass, three ears of corn, grow where but one had grown before. Efficiency is the thing that is making the farmer the autombile buyer, modernizing his farm home, sending his son and daughter to college and increasing his bank account. Men may come and men may go but the efficient system
will go on forever. David Rankin passed away, but other men are making fortunes carrying out his plans. These men are the prophets of agricultural efficiency whose works are opening the eyes of the world, with the result that system is supplanting luck and continued prosperity is taking the place of haphazard livelihood.
Dinner Pail Philosophy
t]I He means well—is an obituary.
tfl Greed is the mother of credulity.
<I Timidity saves a lot of reputations.
<J Most of what passes for morality is hypocrisy.
CJ No really honest man is vain about his honesty.
^ Some friends are a lot harder to stand than prosperity.
<J Nothing else inspires so much confidence as inde-
NEW PICK-UP FOR MAIL POUCHES
By H. M.
IF you have ever watched the process of catching the mail by the present method at a station in a small town you have probably noticed that the mail clerk on the train has an iron hook fastened to the side of the car with which he grasps tlie pouch in passing. If the hook fails to catch the pouch, as it often does, the pouch is ground to pieces beneath the wheels of the train. A traveling salesman by the name of Albert Hupp has found a better way. He was quite incredulous when the government officials told him that improve
ment was impossible, and has now demonstrated to their satisfaction that his mail exchange system is a success.
The following parts comprise the complete system: Two receiving arms, one on either side of the mail car attached to the side of the door through which the mail is received ; a truck for carrying the mail, operating between the car doors, so as to deliver its contents on either side of the track; three tripping devices, which start the mechanism as the train approaches the station and leaves it: and station cranes provided with spring clamp arms to hold the pouches.
At the point where the mail is to be delivered a guard rail twelve inches high is placed along the track to prevent pouches, once dropped, being drawn by suction beneath the wheels of passing trains.
The mechanism upon the car operates as follows: A worm gear attached to the middle of the axle of the mail car runs a driving shaft which operates a counter shaft provided with a clutch. This clutch throws the mechanism into gear when the car comes into contact with one of the trips located at the track side. The mechanism makes one revolution and then throws itself out of gear automatically. The first quarter turn rings a gong in the car to notify the mail clerks that the exchange is about to be made, and opens the car door; the second quarter turn pushes out the delivery truck until it dumps the mail and opens the receiving arm; the third quarter holds the truck in position, while it dumps, and the receiving arm in position until the station cranes are passed and the mail upon them conducted into the car; the fourth quarter pulls the delivery truck back into the car, folds the receiving arms, and closes the door. This completes the operation and the mechanism remains out of gear until tripped at another station.