Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Yadkin County Farm Community Overcoming Labor Shortage, 1945

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

In Yadkin County, the grain growers banded together to solve their labor problem at threshing time this summer. The whole community turned out in the Huntersville section to thresh the grain and the neighborhoods of Poindexter, Sofley, Hartman, and Groce worked out a plan of labor swapping that made the threshing season in these communities a pleasant success. The same thing happened in the South Deep Creek neighborhood where the Allgoods, Toods, McCormicks, and their neighbors worked together until all the grain in the community was threshed and stored. Money couldn’t have bought the labor but mutual helpfulness could and it is this way that North Carolina farmers are meeting their production and harvesting problems.

Sometimes and labor question is solved by fine family cooperation. Hoyle Setzer owns a 260-acre farm just off the dirt road between Claremont and Catawba in Catawba County. About 170 acres are in cultivation and Mr. Setzer is forever faced with a shortage of labor. The other day, Farm Agent Earle Brintnall visited the farm and Hoyle told him how the family solved the question of harvesting this year’s small grain crop. Hoyle grew 67 acres of wheat and three acres of oats. Most of this was cut with the combine and Mr. Setzer riding the tractor and his son, Hoyle Junior, operating the combine. Sometimes they changed jobs, and while most of the grain could be harvested with the combine, there were spots where it was necessary to operate the binder. Some of the wheat was lying flat; some of it grew on terraces but in all, there were several acres which were necessary to cut the binder and then this grain had to be threshed.

Mr. Setzer got his whole family together, called in a couple of good neighbors, and put the combine to use as a threshing machine. The wife cut the bundles which the 14-year-old daughter threw to her. Hoyle Jr. threw the straw onto the stack, another neighbor sacked the grain, and the 11-year-old daughter tied the sacks. Mr. Hoyle said his two neighbors, Mr. Heifner [Heffner?] and Mr. Shook, proved themselves to be real friends and all of the grain was finally harvested and stored.

Reports also came from other parts of North Carolina telling of how neighbors are helping each other. It may inconvenience a neighbor at times but usually he is willing and ready to lend that neighborly helping hand. If this were not true, most North Carolina farmers would be in a rather bad situation right now.

Negro farmers are working together and working harder than ever before. They too are trying to make every effort to pay a return. For instance, L.W. Carrouthers of Mecklenburg County began clearing a piece of creek bottoms two years ago. As he cleared the land of all the small trees and bushes, he prepared stove wood for sale in Charlotte and, to date, he has sold about $600 of fuel wood from the tract. He now has one of the best corn crops on 1 ½ acres of the bottoms that he has ever had. This colored farmer produced 1,300 bushels of wheat this spring, which is not only providing fine bread for his family but also brought in much needed extra cash.

But as W.B. Harrison, Mecklenburg Negro farm agent, said, none of this could have been done by loafing on the job. It took hard work and planning ahead. It always does.

No comments:

Post a Comment