By F.H. Jeter, Extension Editor, N.C. State College, Raleigh, as published in the Wilmington Morning Star on Aug. 13, 1945
Farming is more interesting when you work your own dirt. That is a great truth which is being constantly re-discovered by succeeding generations who live on the land in North Carolina. It is no disgrace to be a tenant and to farm another man’s land, but with the various sources of credit available and with all the uncultivated land in the state, it appears that a greater proportion of those who like to farm should be able to have a place of their own.
Ross Jenkins of Richmond County has been a tenant farmer all of his life, until this past winter, when he bought a tract of wooded land. He has built and painted a nice seven-room farm home, has built a barn, a tobacco barn, and the other necessary outbuildings. In the meantime, he has cleared 9 acres of the woods for cultivation and has 3 acres in tobacco. The crop will produce an estimated 1,200 to 1,500 pounds per acre of cured leaf. Mr. Jenkins also has 5 acres of watermelons, which in the opinion of Q.E. Colvard, assistant farm agent in Richmond County, will net the new owner at least $200 an acre.
This brings up the matter of whether or not a person should buy a farm at the present time. Prices of all agricultural products are high and there is a general improvement in the economic condition of most rural people. However, land is high also and some owners are asking too much for it for the simple reason that they can get almost any price that they may choose to ask.
I have just been reading a new bulletin, “Selecting a Farm in North Carolina.” This bulletin was prepared by Dr. R.E.L. Greene, associate agricultural economist of the Experiment Station; and H. Brooks James, farm management extension and now district farm agent. The bulletin is a carefully prepared discussion of all those things which should be considered in buying a farm in North Carolina, and it is one of the best guides to making an efficient purchase that I have ever seen.
The authors give known facts about the climate, the soils, and the topography of the land in several parts of the state and then they discuss crop and livestock farming. Those factors which a prospective purchaser should consider in buying a farm are then given a prominent place.
For instance, the authors say that a man should give careful attention to the size of his prospective farm, to the crop yields which he may expect from the land, to the layout of the improvements needed, the home or outbuildings, the condition of the land and the equipment, the woodland available for supplying timber and fuel, the nearness to markets, the kind of community in which the farm may be located, and possible income that may be expected.
All of these things are important. It may be that a buyer would want to buy a poor farm outright and build it up. Or he may wish to buy a good farm and have less equity in it. Each of these situations must be considered and the man who has some idea as to what he might expect from his land is the man who will more likely make a success of his venture.
This bulletin will be of particular interest to returning veterans who may wish to buy farms in North Carolina because most of them need an unprejudiced guide that they might locate where they can use their money to the best possible advantage.
Some returning soldiers have begun buying farms, and some are using the facilities of the Farm Security Administration in securing the necessary money. An item from Washington recently says that a Texas veteran of the Army Air Forces received the first loan to be made from the Farm Security Administration’s new $25,000,000 fund. This fund was earmarked by Congress for farm purchase loans to veterans during the next 12 months.
Carroll M. Olson, former AAF captain, signed up for his loan only a few hours after the fund became available. He received $7,400 to cover the cost of a 157-acre farm near Cranfills Gap, Texas, as well as repairs and improvements to the farmhouse and the construction of a garage and smokehouse. Olson will buy livestock and farm machinery with the money he saved while he was in service.
Approximately 4,000 World War II veterans will be able to buy farms through this Farm Security fund. Applicants must find themselves the farms they wish to purchase. Each farm is appraised and a loan is made only when the purchase price is in line with the farm’s long-range earning capacity.
The loans can cover the full purchase price of a farm plus the cost of necessary repairs and improvements. Forty years are allowed for repayment, with 3 per cent interest on the unpaid principle.
Like the Texas veteran, those receiving loans will be men with agricultural experience. Olsen had grown up on a Texas farm and was attending an agricultural college at the time he entered service in 1941.
County Supervisors will give the veterans individual, on-farm guidance in planning sound farm operations and in carrying out their plans efficiently. Olson’s plans, worked out with the help of the supervisor in his county, call for a diversified set-up. He will grow 10 acres of cotton, 80 acres of corn, oats, and grain sorghum for feed, 65 acres of pasture, and he will keep 12 dairy cows, 20 sheep, 275 laying hens, and a sow. Perhaps some North Carolina veterans will want to follow this same idea in obtaining their farms.