Tuesday, July 25, 1939, issue of the Burlington Daily Times-News
The state championship and a prize of $100 in cash and a one-year tuition scholarship to North Carolina State College has been awarded to John Robert Borum, a 16-year-old Guilford County farm youth, who has been declared winner in the state finals in the 112th annual Cooperative Essay contest.
Three other contestants tied for second place in delivering orally the essays that had won them school, county, and district prizes. The second-place winners, each receiving $25, were: Mario Crowder of Cherryville, Jack Fisler of Ivanhoe (Sampson County) and Horace Edward Moore of Rocky Mount. All finalists spoke on the contest subject “How Rural Life in North Carolina May Be Enriched,” and their prizes were presented by Col. John W. Harrelson, administrative dean of State college.
In his essay on enriching rural life, Borum advocated a six-point program, including soil building, live-at-home farming, more livestock, winter farming, more farm processing, and co-operative purchasing and marketing.
“We shall never be content until all farm people in farm homes, better barns, better livestock, better farm machinery and more leisure, in order that they may have a chance for the abundant life contemplated for each man from the beginning.”
North Carolina farmers, Borum said, “have been very dependent. They produce a crop but have nothing to say about the price it brings. They buy at retail and sell at wholesale. We can do nothing about this condition as individuals, but this problem requires group action…. Industry is 85 per cent organized, consists of 11 per cent of our population and received 22 per cent of the national income. Agriculture is 25 per cent organized, consists of 25 per cent of our population and receives 11 per cent of our national income. Does organization pay? It is your only opportunity to protect the income.”