Sunday, August 5, 2012

Will There Be Farm Jobs for Returning Soldiers? 1945

Kind of a strange article. Since farms are managing without all the people who are fighting in the war, they aren't really needed and there won't be farm jobs for some of them when they return. But if you look at paragraph 7, these farmers are managing by starting their workday at 3 a.m. and working until midnight or 1 a.m. 

By F.H. Jeter, Extension Editor, N.C. State College, Raleigh, as published in the Wilmington Morning Star on Aug. 6, 1945

From the Land Bank in Columbia comes word from Ivy W. Duggan, governor of the Farm Credit Administration, “We won’t need as many workers on American farms after the war as we had when the present conflict commenced.”

Supporting his statement, Mr. Duggan said that we are producing one-third more food and fiber than we did before the war with about five percent fewer workers. He recognized the fact, however, that the labor on the farms has been working longer hours and that old people and young people have been pressed into service during the emergency.

About 17 per cent of the farm population has actually left the farm, he said, and around 1,850,000 persons from farms have gone into the Armed Forces during the last few years.

Asked if it was not logical to expect many of the people in the armed services and working in war industries to go back to the farm when the war is over, Gov. Duggan declared that the answer to this question “is wrapped up in the desires of those who have left the farm, in the amount of employment available in cities, wage scales, and the relative incomes which may be attained in industry and in agriculture.”

“We have no definite indications as to how many people will go back to the farm after the war,” Mr. Duggan stated, “but a survey of the United States Army indicates that between 800,000 and a million farmers wish to go back to the land. As a matter of fact, many of them have already returned and a good portion of them want to buy farms.”

Supporting the Farm Credit official in his statement that people are working longer hours and harder than ever before, is the fact that Columbus county rural people, for instance, have learned the glories of the rising sun, the heat of the noontime, and the cool of the evening hours. There is no such thing as an eight-hour day for the farmers of that or any other eastern Carolina county at present.” Charles D. Raper, farm agent says there are no white-collared farmers in Columbus this summer.

They are starting their day at 3 o’clock in the morning and working then until 12 or 1 o’clock at night. They are all striving mightily to save this tobacco crop. With little extra labor there is, other than the ordinary farm labor, is costing the individual farmer so much that he is trying to the whole job himself. He is working with his neighbors wherever possible, in small groups, and takes turns in going from one farm to the other. Many growers report that tobacco croppers are asking and getting from $8 to $10 a day and that ordinary barn hands are getting $5 and $6 a day.

Where he can, the grower is paying these prices in desperation but he is first is doing what he can with his own two hands and the aid of his family to harvest as much of the tobacco as possible. Mr. Raper says they are doing a real job.

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