Saturday, September 24, 2011

Rockingham Farmers and Businessmen Draw Up Plan for Better Rural Living, 1947

By F.H. Jeter, Extension Editor, State College, Raleigh, as published in the Charlotte News, August 22, 1947

Better rural living through proper and full use of the land, labor and other resources, is the objective of the long-time agricultural program and farming pattern recently drawn up by a group of Rockingham County farmers, businessmen and agricultural workers.

The need for such a program in the county is shown by the fact that in 1945 92 percent of the total farm income was derived from tobacco, which occupied only 15.5 percent of the cropland. The other 84.5 percent of the land produced only 8 percent of the farm income. To correct this situation through better use of more farm land and improve the living conditions on the farm, those in charge of planning the program list many potential ways.

1.       Home Food Supply: It was estimated that the production of an adequate food supply for a family of five is equal to the income from two acres of tobacco. In order to have a n adequate food supply,the following was recommended: a) a year-round garden; b) small fruits and home orchards; c) adequate milk and egg supply throughout the year; d) pork, beef and poultry to supply the needs of the family; and e) better and more food conservation.

2.       Dairying: In 1945, 37 farms in Rockingham County were listed as dairy farms with incomes of $6,348 as compared with $2,000 for strictly tobacco farms. Farmers should include dairying along with their tobacco production and should breed their cows to have them dry during the peak of labor needs for tobacco.

3.       Poultry: There are less than 20 acres of cropland on 2,676 farms in the county. Poultry as an enterprise offers a possibility on these farms as a supplement to tobacco. Only one-half of the egg requirements is produced in the county; therefore, there is a ready market for both poultry and eggs.

4.       Beef Cattle: There are 550 farms with 30 to 200 acres of crop land in the county. With the available land on these farms, they offer good possibilities for beef cattle production. Beef cattle fit in well with tobacco production in that only a small amount of labor is required.

5.       Swine: In order to take care of home needs, 2,000 to 3,000 pigs are imported into the county each year. These could be produced at home on a limited acreage. It is estimated that a farmer with two brood sows could produce 18 to 20 pigs for sale or to feed out in addition to supplying home needs.

6.       Feed Supply: It has been demonstrated by a large number of farmers in the county that pastures, hay, small grains and corn can be produced economically where recommended approved practices are followed.

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