Page images
PDF
EPUB

ONTARIO FARM STATISTICS.

By C. C. James, M.A., Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Toronto.

can

its opera

SO

at

seemed

a

I think that Canada claims the honor cf having the longest series of properly-taken censuses of any country of the world.* Whien Canada was not Canada-when she was New France—it was one of the duties of the Governor to send home regularly a statement of the inhabitants and their productions. For some two hundred and forty years we can go back, decade by decade, and from these census returns we can trace the history of the growth and development of this country; and in the early days the agricultural products played a very important part in that development.

Is the collecting of information in regard to the farm work of this or any country a matter of any importance? Some years ago we very frequently received, instead of the information we desired, some very severe criticisms of the work we were engaged in. Farmers who were intelligent and ought to have known better, would write us and say: "You are wasting money in collecting and publishing agricultural statistics.

Why should you collect this information, and place it before the people, in order that the wealthy grain buyers may take advantage of it, and cut

down

the price?" I have · written many a farmer in the earlier years of the work in Toronto, trying to answer this argument. I have told them that, even if we did not gather and publish this information, the great grain buyers would collect it, and they do now collect it for themselves, and that our work was done to help the farmers' end of the enterprise. Again, no industry so widespread as the agricultural industry

afford to have tions concealed. This industry is general and so important that

it must be, in the long rung,

least, to its benefit to have its true state of affairs published from time to time. From the Provincial or national standpoint it has also

to be matter of very great importance that the best and most reliable statistics in regard to agriculture should be continually kept before

It is

greatest industry. We would think very little, indeed, of the business ability of

great firm that did not from time to time look over the state of its affairs and strike od balance. We do not pretend to go very fully into the business affairs of the farmers ɔi this Province, but we think we are doing some good-that we are bringing before them some valuable information-in trying to find out whether from year to year they are making progress or going back.

"How are the crops this year? How are the farmers getting on?” When the fall of the year comes around, that is the question on everybody's lips. "What is the condition of the crop?” “How are the cheese factories turning out?” How are the farmers doing.” That is the key of the whole situation. If they are all right, then it is all right with everybody else. So I say it is important that we try to get as clear and as correct an idea as possible of how the crops of the ar are, and how the farmers of this country are continuing from year to year.

In 1846, there was organized in this Province, by the representatives af various agricultural societies, what was known as the Provincial Agricultural Association, out of which was formed a body known as the Bureau or Board of Agriculture. That body carried on work of various kinds for forty odd years. In 1882 the Provincial Government, however, considered that some part of the work at least should be more carefully systematized, so there was incorporated as a sub-department of the Government what was known then and has since been known as the Bureau of Industries.

When 12 Department of Agriculture was formed, some seven years later, it was built upon

• Vol. IV. of the Census of Canada 1870-71 contains abstracts of the various consenses of Canada and New France, commencing with 1665-1666.

us.

Our

a

a

these two agricultural foundation-stones. It took the work that had been carried on up to that time by the Board of Agriculture, and united to it the statistical work carried on by the Bureau of Industries.

I told you a few moments ago that our Canadian census returns could be traced back for a

eriod of nearly two hundred and fifty years, and the question may at once arise in your minds as to what is the difference between the statistical reports to which I am referring and the census reports. Briefly this: the census is taken every ten years, and is nothing else than an addition or sum total of the work of all the individuals of the country. Our statistical work, about which I am speaking, is more or less an estimate based upon a smaller number of returns, and is carried on from year to year. You may therefore turn to the Dominion census figures to find out certain information in regard to the agriculture of this country, and you find it only for every ten years. Our returns, however, go back to 1882, and we have them complete for every year

since then. They are largely estimated, as have said.

Now a few moments to explain to you briefly how these estimates are made. I might tell you, for instance, that last year the farm property of this Province was valued at $1,044,000,000. The question may at once arise as to how these figures are arrived at. How do we find out the value of the wheat and other

crops, or the value of the live stock, etc., which altogether foot up to so many millions of dollars ? To start out with, we have the annual municipal assessment returns, and according to statutory requirements, these are sent to our office every year. The assessor. when he goes around, takes a careful statement of the area of every farm. When these returns are received by us, we compile them, township by township, until we arrive at the entire assessed area of the Province.. That is the first thing we start on. Then, for a great many years, the assessors have also been asking, “How many acres of wheat have you? what numbers of live stock?” They are still taking these figures, but they are of little use to us. So we make use of simply the total area. Then, we have, distributed throughout this Province, two thousand correspondents. This is a list of men whom we have carefully selected. They are our trusted correspondents. Three times a year we send them circulars asking for information in regard to the condition of the crops, and the condition of labor and wages, the state of their live stock, etc.,

and from these returns we compile and publish three bulletins during the year, in May. August and November. The farmers of the Province, however, number one hundred and seventy-five thousand. If we were making a census of their products, we should ask the individual farmer for the results of his year's operation. We do not aim at that; we leave that to the Dominion census. If we were to send out circulars asking for information from these hundred and seventy-five thousand farmers, we might receive replies from one out of every ten; the great majority would not find time to answer, a large number would be utterly indifferent to it, and to a great many the difficulty of sitting down and writing a letter is greater than that of half a day's work in the field. We gradually accumulated a large list of farmers upon whom we could more or less depend for our returns. We got these names largely through the assistance of Public School teachers. They sent us the names of such farmers in their school section as they thought would be sufficiently interested and sufficiently intelligent to send us returns. To these we send once or twice in the year our card, asking for certain information. • In June we ask for the area of the farms, the number of acres under various crops, the value of the farm, and the number of live stock. Suppose that from the assessor's figures we have found out there are thirty or forty thousand acres of farm land in a certain township, and from so many farms we

have got a total acreage of say two thousand acres, with a sub-division of so many acres for wheat, oats and barley, it then becomes a mathematical calculation to make an estimate. Every return is carefully

[ocr errors]

examined, and if it carries on its face anything that arouses suspicion, it is at on cast aside; so that an attempt is made to keep well within the mark, and allow no re turns to go in from anyone who wilfully tries to mislead us. After that, we figure ou the total area in the various crops, the value of the entire farm, and the number and value of the live stock. Then we must estimate for the year the amount of the various crops produced. In the month of July we send out our returns, and ask for an estimate before the crops are harvested, and later, in October, when threshing has 'begun, we send out our cards once more to get returns from the actual threshing result. By compiling these we gradually are able to put together and publish for general information the figures which we put forth in the form of our annual report. But you might read page after page of that report, and conclude that there was very little to interest or benefit you in it. Let me refer, however, to a few things which will indicate the progress or change in conditions that has taken place within the last ten years in the Province. First, take wheat: We find that the farmers in Ontario to-day are able to produce just as large crops of wheat as they were ten, twelve or fifteen years ago. We find at the same time that the area given to wheat has been gradually decreasing; that we have been passing out of the condition when wheat was king. It makes but little difference to-day to the farmers of Ontario what the condition of wheat is, or what the market price is, in comparison with the other crops that are being grown.

When you turn to barley and oats, you will find that there has been a gradual increase in the acreage and the total yield; and so with a number oi other crops. Turning to live stock, let me give you a few figures to show you something that will be of importance in connection with the great live stock industry in the Province. The value of horses on the farms is about $55,000,000, and the anual sales amount to $5,000,000. These figures in themselves count for very little; they count for a great deal if beside them you are able to place figures referring to any other industry. In cattle, the total value on the farm has grown step by step until it has reached $65,000,000, and the annual sales $25,000,000. Sheep have remained stationary for a few years, although for a number of years before that there was a decline. Their value at present is $8,000,000, with annual sales amounting to about $3,000,000. In swine the value has grown in a few years from $6,000,000 to $12,000,000, and the annual output has increased from $10,000,000 to $20,000,000. Poultry have also increased. Adding these together,

find that the total value of the live stock

the
farms

of Ontario to-day amounts to somewhere between $140.000.000 and $150,000,000. You will now, perhaps, why it is that the exhibition that is

being

held in the city of Guelph attracts the attention of the growers of live stock throughout the Province, and also of the financiers and the men who are supposed to have their hand on the pulse of this country, and are as much interested in its welfare as the farmers themselves. I could speak of the butter and cheese industry, but let me give you a few figures, summing up the whole thing as far as the total value of farm property is concerned. In 1893, farm property in Ontario was valued at $970,000,000. The next year at $954,000,000, the next year at $931,000,000, the next year at $910,000,000, and in 1897 at $905,000,000, showing that year by year there was a steady decrease in the value of the farms of the Province, which in the period mentioned amounted to no less than $65,000,

In 1897 the upward movement began, and for the succeeding years the figures read as follows:—1897, $923,000,000; 1898, $947,000,000; 1899, $974,000,000; 1900, $1,001,000,000; 1901, $1,044,000,000.

For the last six years our books show that the agricultural interests of this country have been increasing in value by millions upon millions. The total agricultural assets are going ahead. If you look around and ask why—what has taken place—you will find the secret is that we have been developing our live stock interests and our cheese inter

5 EX U.

we

on

see

000.

ests; and while these have been advancing, the other departments of our agricultural Fork have not been falling behind. While we have been increasing the output of live stock and cheese, our great crop-producing capabilities have been going ahead at the same time. The productiveness of the soil of the country has been increasing. Wheat has gone back step by step, and other things have taken its place, such as barley and oats, which help out the great live stock industry. The condition to-day is better than it has been for twenty or twenty-five years. If you go to the conferences held in connection with our livestock and dairy industries, or our fruit-growing industries, you will find a keenness of interest amongst those in attendance, and a general air of prosperity about them such as we did not know a few years ago. If you ask why this is the case, my answer to a large extent would be this, that the patient work done year in and year out by our agricultural organizations and institutions, which was not recognized for many long years, began gradually to make itself felt on the agricultural mind of this country; and I think I would put first among the influences that have contributed this the work of the gricultural College, which has been so well carried on by the staff, under the capable direction of the man who sits here as chairman to-night, Dr. James Mills.

FARM MANAGEMENT.

want me

By Prof. W. J. Spillman, Agrostologist, U. S. Department of Agriculture. I think I may truthfully say that this Union is the most successful affair of its kind on the American continent. We, across the line, have always wondered how the thing was done; how it was possible to get so large a body of farmers to conduct the careful experiments which the members of this Union are called upon to conduct. We have had much difficulty in doing similar work, and I must confess that I do not yet fully understand how it is done. When I attempt to get the United States farmer to put in experimental plots, he says, “I do not want to fool with these little plots; if you to experiment, let me sow ten acres”; but that is not an experiment.

in order to make an experimental test, it is absolutely necessary to have the area small enough to insure uniformity of the soil. We are trying across the line to copy from you, and build up a Union such as you have. In those States that have good Colleges; like you have at Guelph, we are succeeding. Where we have a few men who graduate from those Colleges, and then go back on the farm, we can get these men to carry on experiments, and a few of their neighbors also ; so that in Ohio, Michigan, New York, and in some other States, we are developing a system of investigation upon the farm very similar to that which has been so successful in Ontario. Not only is your Union known across the line, but your College is very well known, and a great many of the Colleges over there have on their staff graduates of Guelph, and many of these graduates have made distinguished names for themselves among the agriculturists of the United States.

When I was a boy on the farm I conceived the idea of going away to school. On the farm where I was brought up, it was the custom to start to the field at seven o'clock in the morning. We quit very promptly at noon and rested an hour, and then worked till 6 o'clock in the evening. We lived considerably farther south, and the winter days were not as short nor the summer days as long as they are here. We made a living, however, even if we did not work more than nine hours a day. When I decided to go to College I was raking and scraping together enough to pay my expenses, and I decided that after we had finished our fall plowing I would hire out to a neighbor and earn a little more money. I went to one of our neighbors and engaged with him to do some plowing. The farm on which this neighbor lived was one of the best in the first book he got hold of was Young's little book on 'The Soil and Cattle.” He got an idea from that book, which was that, on a thirteen-acre farm, where land is worth $1,500 an acre, he could not afford to grow pasture, so he put his cows in the barn and commenced growing feed, and cutting that 'feed and carrying it to the cows. He lost four hundred dollars as the result of his first year's operations. During the next six years he paid off a mortgage of $7,200 which was on the property, and the next year he spent in Europe. He is to-day a director in three large corporations, and one of the best known men in the United States. He has a continual stream of visitors flocking to see that little farm, so much so that he is thinking of charging admission to protect himself. He now keeps thirty head of stock on that farm, and last year sold thirtythree hundred pounds of hay. He does not raise grain, but raises hay, silage and soiling crops, and buys gluten meal, linseed oil meal, and bran. "He also raises a little corn, but buys no commercial fertilizers. If you will calculate how much dry matter it will take to supply thirty head of stock, you will get an idea of what the farm produces, and it was the best-kept herd I ever saw in my life. If you make the calculation, you will find that it will take seven tons of hay to every acre of land on that farn every year. He keeps no record, so that I could not find out what his yields were, but he told me how much milk he sold, and he has cleared $2,000 a year selling milk and young cattle. He gets $100 each for his calves, and is one of the most intelligent breeders in the United States. He does very little work himself, but one thing about the place is absolutely remarkable, and that is the system and orderliness. He said, “I can leave home at any time, without notice to my hired hands, and be gone a week, as I frequently am on Farmers' Institute work, and when I come back home, just as soon as I see either one of my hired men I know what time of day it is, because I know what they are both doing every hour of the day.” He had twelve fields on that thirteen-acre farm, but he sat there and told me the crops that had been grown on every one of them for three years past; he knew the farm like a book. There is an example of system in management. I have written up all I could learn about that farm. Before I left home I handed it over for publication, and it will be published in the year book of the Department of Agriculture during the winter. I contend that it is worth a great deal to the average farmer to have a description of the work of the most successful farmers; and that is the work we are doing in encouraging the study of system in farm management.

SOME OF THE ASPECTS OF NATURE STUDY.

By Dr. W. H. Muldrew, Dean, Macdonald Institute, Guelph. I must thank the preceding speakers, one and all, for their assistance to me in introducing this important topic. The addressses of the day have urged over and over again, and from many points of view, the necessity for an education in harmony with the lives of the people. This principle forms the basis for Nature Study in its relation to agriculture, and it remains for me merely to sum up these excellent arguments in a iew closing words.

School systems are receiving much criticism just now, and ours, in spite of many excellent features, is not excepted. We are told, for instance, that the public schools are out of touch with the people, that the higher schools widen the breach, and that the universities turn out impractical men. If such charges are true, even in part, it is time for us to examine the causes of such conditions and to seek a remedy.

We are all well acquainted with the theory of a pyramid based on our public schools and promising a liberal education to every one who will but climb. If such a "liberal” education is fitted to make men truly free by giving them the mastery over the conditions in which they live, then sur ely this is a high and worthy ideal. But

« PreviousContinue »