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the limits of such a project not contributing its share to the payment of this and other fixed charges throws added burdens on the land that is occupied. It is therefore much to the advantage of all concerned to promote rapid settlement in order to distribute these charges more equitably.

Various motives are involved in the different movements looking to the settling of new areas. Some of these motives appear to be so selfish and shortsighted as to be almost piratical, while others are entirely beneficent and patriotic. The motive is not always clear, but this may not be important, since the motive and the result may be quite independent of each other. In other words, an enterprise started with the best of intentions may prove unfortunate, while another which owes its impetus to purely selfish interests may in the end prove very advantageous to settler and promoter alike.

The aim of the present paper is not so much to discuss the motives of land promotion and colonization schemes as to present some of the agricultural and sociological features of such undertakings for the consideration both of those who are engaged in promoting settlement and of the larger number who contemplate settlement in newly irrigated regions.

Probably the most important point to be made in this connection is that the proper development of a new region requires more than the mere occupation of the land by people engaged in crop production. In many of these new regions the conditions are so conspicuously favorable for the production of crops that other and equally important needs and opportunities are sometimes overlooked. The production of crops for profit should not be the sole aim of the settler. Nor is the ultimate best interest of the promoter served when this aim is given too large a share of attention. This is particularly true when interest is focused on the production of some one crop.


A better understanding of the problems of settlement is to be had through an appreciation of the needs and desires of the settlers. From this standpoint land seekers may be divided into two classes. The first class includes those who are interested chiefly in opportunities to speculate in land and who are attracted to new projects on this account. The second class includes those who seriously desire to make homes on the land and engage in agriculture or kindred pursuits as their chief means of livelihood. When a new project is opened for settlement the first rush is made by those who have no fixed interests elsewhere, who are foot-loose and dissatisfied with their previous conditions. Those who are dissatisfied in one place are not unlikely to be dissatisfied in another and to move again on the slightest inducement. But where rapid colonization is

imperative it may be necessary to draw largely from this nomadic class. It should be kept in mind that such settlers may serve a useful purpose during the early period of settlement, since they are generally reconciled to the hardships of pioneering and do much to prepare the way for the permanent settlers who follow. But in the long run the slower moving and more conservative settler must be secured, and where it is desired to establish a permanent and prosperous community every effort should be directed to securing colonists of this class.


A certain proportion of our people are ill at ease among the comforts and restrictions of advanced social conditions. For some of these there is a strong appeal in the hazards, rigors, and stimulations of pioneer existence. A new region also offers the chance of large profits through increases in land values. There are many people to whom the rigors of pioneering are merely stimulating, while to others they are hardships. Some enjoy the risks involved in speculation; others prefer the safer, if slower, profits of crop production. The professional pioneer has been a real factor in the development of irrigated lands. Essentially he is a gambler, ready to stake all his means, his labor for a brief period, and his share of the creature comforts of civilization on the prospective profits in land. values as the new region develops. Whether he wins or loses, he is ready after a time to go to another place and try again. The professional pioneer is as old as our American civilization. He has preceded every wave of settlement, and in some cases the same individual has helped to break ground successively in four or five places. While the professional pioneer is an important and conspicuous factor in the early development of a new region, he takes but little part in its ultimate prosperity. He is gradually replaced by the more conservative settler whose ambitions lie in the direction of home making, crop production, and the other varied industries of an established community. Many of the discouragements experienced by those who have fostered colonization enterprises have been due to misconceptions regarding the motives and inclinations of the first comers. It is not to be expected that a large proportion of them will long remain or that they will share with enthusiasm in the larger plans for permanent community improvements. They bear the brunt of the conflict with new conditions and unexpected difficulties. The rewards they get for their risks and their services are none too large, all things considered. But it is a mistake to frame a policy based on the supposition that all new settlers intend to remain and to become permanent members of the new community. During the early stages it is to be expected that many readjustments will take place, and

attempts to restrict such readjustments are likely to hinder rather than to promote ultimate prosperity.

Under the methods of settlement now generally practiced the best that can be expected is to sift out from the stream of land seekers the small percentage who really desire permanent homes and gradually to replace those who wish to move on to newer fields.


One of the most serious difficulties encountered in the settlement of our irrigated lands lies in the inflation of land values on new projects. Desert land is usually very cheap. The development of irrigation, of course, gives occasion for a large increase in value. Then, as agricultural and industrial development begins and the demand for land becomes acute the future prospects are immediately capitalized. Not infrequently in the first exuberant optimism hopes run too high. There is something infectious about rapidly increasing land values, and in the midst of a boom it seems easy to forget that in the final analysis agricultural land is worth no more than it can be made to produce.

The larger profits of the first settlers are derived from increased land values rather than from crop production. As a result each newcomer seeks to obtain his share of the unearned increment by investing all his available capital in land instead of looking for industrial opportunities. In fact, a large majority of the first settlers in a new region are more interested in prospective profits to be obtained from increased land values than in all other opportunities combined. Land can not be expected to be bought and sold indefinitely at a profit to each successive owner. Yet it would appear that each new purchaser has faith that he will be able to sell again before the crisis comes.

In view of the instability of conditions in our irrigated sections and of the rapid evolution now going on, it is not possible to determine an exact standard of values for irrigated land. It seems hardly fair to make comparisons with equally productive sections in the humid regions, because of the differences in the classes of crops produced and of other important economic factors. It would also be unwise to make comparisons with irrigated lands in the Old World for similar reasons. It might be safe to assume that, in general, the values of irrigated land should range somewhat higher than similar unirrigated lands, and in some few cases very much higher. There can be no doubt, however, that generally the prices of newly irrigated land in private ownership range rather higher than their producing capacity and the prevailing economic conditions warrant.

One of the chief arguments in favor of a colonization policy, under which irrigated land must be occupied for a long term of years by

the first settler, lies in the resulting discouragement to this speculative inflation of values; but it is hard to devise a system of land settlement involving ownership which is at the same time proof against speculative purchase and sale. With a view to avoiding still further certain undesirable features of the present systems, it might be worth the experiment to try opening new irrigated land on some system of leasing with ultimate options for purchase.

It is quite true that the increase of land values is one of the most attractive features in a new country and one of the most powerful incentives in securing the first settlers. Without this prospect settlement would be a much slower and probably a more difficult task. Yet this might be less disadvantageous than it seems. There can be no question that the quick overinflation of land values, with its consequent disturbance of economic conditions, is one of the most serious deterrents to the permanent settlement and development of a new region.


It has been pointed out in an earlier paper1 that the proper diversification of industries on each farm, as well as in the community, should be one of the most important aims in a newly settled region. It can not be doubted that the sooner in the life of a community this diversification can be started the better for all concerned. The diversification of industries should not be confined to the farms. Very soon after a new community gets started there is an overproduction of one crop or of a few crops, and a period of depression is experienced until satisfactory markets are found and trade relations established. This period of depression will be shortened in proportion to the people in the community who are engaged in industries other than crop production.

It is not always possible to start very many industrial enterprises at once, nor would this be wholly desirable, but it is often possible to do much more in this direction than is done at present. If more attention were to be given to establishing in a new region a larger proportion of people engaged in the working up of farm products and in other forms of industry, the relation between production and consumption of the products of the farm would be much better maintained and the general prosperity would be much more quickly realized. Many of the new settlers have previously followed vocations other than farming, and if at least a few of them would continue in the new region the work to which they are accustomed a much better balance of economic conditions would result.

1 The present outlook for irrigation farming. Yearbook, U. S. Department of Agriculture, for 1911, pp. 371-382.

There is much that may be done by those who promote the occupation of land in the way of encouraging diversification from the first. Almost everything done in this direction tends toward lessening the hardships of pioneering, as well as toward hastening the prosperity of the community.

Very often the settlers in a new region do not grow their own garden vegetables or provide themselves with chickens or cows. Through the early stages they will do without some of these necessities or import them at high prices because they are devoting their own attention to the production of the so-called money crops.


The question as to what extent the agency which brings water to the land on a new project shall engage in fostering the best use of that land is one about which there is much difference of opinion. There is always a strong inducement for the agency which has put money into the development of water for a tract of land to follow the matter up and protect its investment by promoting rapid settlement and quick and effective utilization. These efforts if properly directed may result in no bad after effects, but it is always possible that when not so directed more harm than good may result.

Each new irrigation enterprise means the establishment of a new community the members of which are usually not acquainted with one another and are often unfamiliar with the problems they have to meet. In attacking these problems they may greatly desire advice and guidance, but it should be kept in mind that ultimate success is to be realized only through individual initiative and community action.

It is to be assumed that the promoter is more familiar with conditions in the region than is the new settler and that he has fully as keen an interest in the ultimate success of the project.

There is a great variety of practice in regard to the aid given by colonization agencies to new settlers. In some instances the promoter goes no further than to place the settler on the land and take such precautions as he may to guard himself against loss in case the settler fails to make good. In other cases the promoter takes elaborate pains to aid the settler with advice, encouragement, and assistance. Each of these methods has its advantages and its drawbacks, and the final test of each is to be found in the results accomplished, and these in turn are largely influenced by the local conditions.

Paternalistic methods which involve close supervision of the individual may result in a larger proportion of successes with a given number of settlers, and the ultimate prosperity may be hastened if

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