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FROM FARM TO TABLE
the pockets pushed
is not the tiny letter
hand that inside those
in i d d leamidships,
man telling the
not added unknown
one cent's city buyer
value to the what price
farm prowas paid in
duce. He Vermont
has been the and asking
drone of the him to write
commercial back from BETWEEN THE FIELD AND THE TABLE, TOMATOES MANAGED TO beehive.
ADVANCE THREE HUNDRED PER CENT. Boston and
We scorn report what
mediaeval price was charged there. The letters legends of vampire monsters devastating came back. Boston had paid 36 cents a whole country sides. No such old wives' pound for its turkey-an advance of 300 tales for us, thank you! Yet the high per cent.
cost of living had reached such a point Or go West! A rancher in Washing that in one city alone last winter-Brookton found it hard to make ends meet. lyn—more than three thousand children He could not sell wood at any price. His had to be taken out of school because beef brought only 4 cents, his pork 8 parents could not afford to supply them cents. He went in one winter to Spokane. with breakfast; and these youngsters Wood was selling at $8 a cord, beef at were put to work on the industrial tread 30 cents, ham at 35 cents.
mills; whether the mills of the gods, that A Michigan fruit man sent a specially grind so slow and so exceedingly sure, I fine lot of grapes by water-freight to don't know. They may have been. Detroit. He realized only 10 cents a We have nothing but the most scornbasket. He traced up that fruit. It had ful pity for the people of middle-age sold for 20 cents to the city people. One Europe, who permitted monopolists to of the big potato growers of Maine sent grind them down to destitution. Italy, a car load to a Massachusetts city. The France, Spain—all passed through that commission agent credited him at 35 era when country districts were literally cents a bushel. Deductions of freight depopulated by the advent of the tax coland commission left only 19. cents a lector. So extortionate were the demands bushel. Those potatoes sold in Spring- on the tiller of the land, that the tiller field at $1. Another Maine man sold his literally deserted his land; and vast tracts at 36 cents. They sold in Boston at of it fell into the hands of the very $1.15. A North Carolina trucker sent a monopolists who had fattened on the half barrel of beans to New York. De- farmer's poverty. Why did the people ducting express and commission, they supinely permit their own ruin? They netted him only 78 cents. They sold in were in the majority against their opNew York at $4.
pressors a thousand to one; but the Secretary Wilson says the farmer gets monopolists were organized, a unit, in a but 55 per cent. of the consumer's price. word, an army. In Rome, free citizens Mr. Yoakum says the middleman gets 60 actually sold themselves into slavery to per cent of the city man's price; and pay their debts. Does history repeat itself whichever is right, the fact remains that under protean form? Herbert Spencer the farmer is not getting market value declares industrial pressure may develop for what he sells, and the city man is greater hardship and destitution than not getting farm value for what he buys. the slavery of feudalism. Calamity howlThe same unseen hand is guilty of the ers are at a discount in optimistic Amerunderpay on one side and the overcharge ica; but isn't it worth while looking at a on the other. And the hand that picks few facts, showing a little nerve in the matter, without blinking or side-step- or I would take it in similar circumping ?
stances. If you accuse him of high prices, In one state alone, New York, 400,000
he goes into elaborate explanations of people have deserted the farm for the risk and loss on perishable products and city. Why? In another state-Vermont the expense of big storage plants in con-rural population has gone back in gested centers, though that hardly exmany places 10 per cent. in ten years. plains why it paid the cold-storage men Last year, the Russell Sage Foundation this last year to dump millions of dozens experts investigated what it cost in New of eggs in the sea rather than break 50 York and Pittsburg at the lowest possible cent prices. While eggs were costing figure to sustain a family of five. Twist 4 and 5 cents each in New York and figures which way they might, those Chicago last winter, and were being imexperts could not force the total lower ported in shiploads from Europe and than $600 for a year. Now the average Asia, cold-storage men were talking wages of the average unskilled worker scarcity ; but no sooner did half a dozen in the United States are not $600 a year. states prepare to pass laws forbidding They are under $500. What is the re- the storage of food products for longer sult? Did men sell themselves to pay than a year, than those same cold-storage their debts ? Not at all! The experts men who had talked scarcity began found whenever the price of meat went dumping old eggs by millions of dozens up, these people did without it. As the
into the sea. Prices dropped from 50 and prices of food mounted the ascending 60 cents a dozen to 8 cents; and the scale of the last five years, the number stored eggs could not find purchasers. of people renting dark inside windowless The storage men explained the eggs had tenements increased. That is the way been dumped into the sea because they the game that skins at both ends works had spoiled. The public that had been when you follow it off the market into paying 60 cents a dozen wanted to know the homes of the poor.
why those eggs had been held so long There is no use shouting vaguely in they had spoiled. Butter tumbled from the air against “trust-trusts.” If you 40 cents to 30, the lowest in ten years, bring a bill of indictment against the though the number of cows had not intrusts, they are going to say "prove it." creased; neither had the butter eaters
And there's less use telling men living decreased. And the drop in perishable is high because lots of gold is coming foods within a week reacted on canned down from Alaska. More gold has gone goods because people stopped buying to England from South Africa than has canned vegetables when they could buy come to the United States from Alaska; the fresh cheaper. In fact, for a family and prices have not gone up correspond- of three, the differences in prices from ingly in England. American meat sells the time cold-storage laws forbade longcheaper in England than in the United time keeping of food would run from 25 States; and last year eggs were being cents to $1 a day in food purchases. imported to the United States from Eng- But this sudden glut of the market land because the price was cheaper. It from sudden release of stored foods can is not convincing to tell a man hard up hardly prove other than temporary, like from high prices that his pocket book is the drop in Wall Street values when cerempty because there is a lot of gold. He tain court decisions have compelled wants to know where that lot of gold speculators to sell. Long as the middlegoes.
man plies his shuttle-like trade between And there is no use lecturing the producer and consumer, he will regulate farmer about his duties to stay on the prices. And can government regulations land and feed the city. He is going to put him out of business? Would Supreme answer “show me”; and if you can show Court decisions sustain such regulations? him more profit on the farm than in the It is so easy to hoist on the shoulders of factory, chains won't keep him in town. government the duty that each man can
Nor is it logical to scold at the middle- and ought to do at first hand. The first man! He sees his chance for 500 per people in the United States to wipe out cent. profit, and he takes it, just as you the middleman have been the irrigation
FROM FARM TO TABLE
farmers of the
of living almost West.
unendurable, How? By get
group of railroad ting together.
men in a PennsylWhy? Because
vania city arranged the excessive cost
of of irrigation com
their number to the pelled the farmers
country to buy dito work together
rect from the and pull in the
farmer and save sa me direction.
the swindle that When a valley of,
cut the farmer 50 say 20,000 people, THE FARMER SELLS His PORK AT FROM Four To Six
CENTS A POUND
per cent and all dip into the
jacked the buyer's same well for
price up 50 per water, all draw prosperity or failure cent. The office man hired a rig and from the same
ditch—there has to drove out. At the first farm where he be harmony. In the East, each man stopped he found the farmer busy in the is still dipping in his own little in- barn. dividual mud puddle. While Abram's “Good day," saluted Mr. Office Man. herders quarreled with Lot's, the bandits Mr. Farmer returned a. gruff grunt stampeded the profits—same old problem with the cordiality ordinarily accorded a as in scriptural days, isn't it? If irriga- burglar. Undaunted, the city man tion never accomplished anything more launched his evangel.
farmer than compelling co-operation, than point- straightened up and listened. Wheat was ing the way to elimination of the mid- selling at 60 cents in the country, butter dleman, it would mark a new era in at 22 cents, apples at $1 a barrel, etc. national life. In teaching communities The city people purposed paying an adhow to use the same water; how to fight vance of 20 to 40 per cent. on these frosts and insects together; how to in- prices if they could induce the farmers corporate so they can borrow at lowest to guarantee definite supplies for the rates—2 per cent. instead of 6 per cent.; year. how to buy all supplies wholesale; how "But the prices might go higher." to keep their own agents, on the big "But we are guaranteeing you 20
per world's markets; how to provide cold- cent. higher than you have ever got.' storage warehouses and cars for their The farmer hummed and hawed and own perishable pro
rolled the sugduce — irrigation
gestion backward has pointed to the
and forward for an one and only effect
hour looking susive way to elimi
piciously for some nate the middle
graft. Then he man, a way that
found a loop-hole avoids costly long
of escape from the drawn-out appeals
convictions that to the Supreme
had been forced on Court.
him. “It was like You may think
this, you see. His the remedy sounds
three boys were not too easy to be true.
home/couldn't Don't flatter your
induce them to stay self! Try it, if
on the farm. Queer you think it easy!
-wasn't it? One Last year, when
was getting $40 a city people on sal
month as a street aries were feeling WHEN LAID ON THE CONSUMER'S TABLE IN THE car conductor, anthe increased cost
FORM OF CHOPS. IT HAS GONE UP FIVE
other $30 in a fac
it is a safe wager he would have given different consideration to that plan of co-operation.
But all efforts to wipe out the middleman have not failed in the East. Wherever the compulsion has been acute enough to compel union, the middleman has had to go.
In Erie, Pennsylvania, in December, 1899, sixty dairy men decided that milk rates did not yield a living wage. For each dairy man to become an independent peddler would send prices still lower by competition. The sixty men signed a five years' contract to do no individual peddling but to act only as members of the Erie County Association. Ter wagons were cut down to two. A threestory cold-storage milk plant was put up at a cost of $26,000, with $13,000 equipment, the expense being met by the members buying shares, though they paid only a percentage down for the shares, paying the balance in their milk deliv
eries. All milk was certified sanitary. Two CENTS A HEAD ON THE FARM
All unsold product was utilized in ice
cream, etc. Today, that dairy association tory; and so on. Who was going to do has fifty-five employees, twenty-three the extra hauling? He hadn't time." drivers, twenty-two office men. The
In vain, the city man pointed out that first year, returns amounted to $100,000. when city people sold goods, they also In 1909, sales totaled $225,000. Deductdelivered them. Well, Mr. Farmer was ing wages, the net returns can be estinot going to, so there—He didn't think mated. Of course, it was not all easy. much of the idea anyway. That office Independents, big and little, fought them man went back without any supplies. If bitterly for two years, and caused diminMr. Farmer had had an annual water tax ished returns. The milk was delivered to of from $1 to $6 an acre, and would have the factory on a contract of und 4 cents had his water shut off if he didn't pay, a quart, or about the same price paid by
the big companies; but in this case, the profits went to the farmer, not to city shareholders. It is impossible to put the returns in terms of net profits to the farmer; for in cach case, the profit would depend on the quality and cost of the cow.
The point is—by co-operation, the farmers got all the returns the big buyers would have paid them, plus their share of profits, which would otherwise have gone to the middleman. This
scheme is practicable only TEN CENTS A HEAD IN THE City. And the farmer doesn't get the profit.
in proximity to a city;
FROM FARM TO TABLE
Exchange has realized 10 cents higher a bushel than by the former haphazard sales. Profits for two seasons amounted to $200,000-profits not for the middleman but back to the farmer.
In Monmouth, New Jersey, the farmers of a co-operative association made 29 per cent profit in one year on a milliondollar business. Truck and fruit were shipped to one-hundred-and-thirty-six cities and twenty-three states. Fertilizer
and seed were sold at wholeBossy DOESN'T KNOW How HighLY HER PRODUCT IS VALUED
sale to 800 members.
In Norfolk, Virginia, is a but it is worth noting that seventeen union of 400 truckers who have made counties in the Eastern States have 100 per cent on their capital stock, and dairymen's leagues aiming at such elimi- saved ten times over the face value of nation of the middleman.
their stock in wholesale purchase of seed Over in Long Island, farming has be- and fertilizer. . come trucking for city supplies; and the In Mercer County, New Jersey, owing Farmers' Exchange of Riverhead with to a slack market, farmers found they a capital of $12,460 has done in 1910 a were losing on small vegetables. Tornabusiness of almost half a million. Each toes rotted before they could be sold. In member's fee amounts to about $20 a 1892, a canning factory was organized in year. The shares to make up the original a town of a thousand. Stock was sold capital were valued at $5. If you divide at $50 a share. The plant put up. cost the gross returns by the number of share- almost $6,000. Land here yields 6 tons holders—600—you can figure out that of tomatoes an acre, for which the facthe members of the Farmers' Exchange reaped ample return for the annual fee of $20. Produce is shipped by boat. The salaried manager resides in New York and handles the stuff exactly as a commission agent, only the commission goes back to the farmer; and the full city price goes to the farmer instead of a dozen city middlemen.
In Eastern Long Island, a Potato Exchange was organized by the growers. This exchange performs the functions as the fruit associations of the West. Only the best seed is bought, never culls, and it is planted by machines. By wholesale purchase, the Exchange saves its members 8 cents a pound on insecticides and $2 a ton on fertilizer. The saving on fertilizer was $20,000
THE DAIRYMAN DELIVERS His MILK AT FOUR, THE MIDDLEMAN in a single year. In prices, the
AT EIGHT CENTS.