Tuesday, January 31, 2012

N.C. State Editor Talks Farming to Rotary Club, 1943

From the Statesville Record, Jan. 20, 1943

The Rotary Club was host to about 38 farmers at their weekly luncheon yesterday at the Grace Hotel, having as their guest speaker Dr. Frank Jeter, agricultural editor of the North Carolina Extension Service. Dr. Jeter presented in a forceful way his subject “The Importance of Food in the War.”

Showing the important part the farmer plays in the program, he pointed out that not only will the farmers have to feed the nations during the war, but after the war. In all the occupied countries, farms have been laid to waste, and cattle eaten, with nothing left to rebuild after the ar. This will be the responsibility of the American farmer—to produce all that he can, both to supply with food and for re-stocking the depleted countries.

Dr. Jeter stated that North Carolina, leading agricultural state of the south, with her fine herds of cattle, will likely be tapped as a source of supply for some of this replenishing of the countries, that an entire repopulation of animals will have to take place in some areas.

Aside from the farm guests, the only visitor present was Rotarian W.E. Selby of Raton, New Mexico.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Neglectful Parents, 1916-Style

A letter to the editor in the Southern Planter, January 1916 issue

We need a little less luxury and a little more industry on the part of American parents today. The bridge playing, tango dancing, joy riding mother and father of this modern era cannot complain if, as a result of the neglect they give their children, find them growing up into young men and women who sneer at virtue and applaud viciousness. The growing child is acutely susceptible to surrounding environment, and when the parents become so infatuated with the outrageous features of modern society life, then the children not only follow in their footsteps, but go them one better and indulge to an even more reckless degree in the same pastimes and vicious recreations that the parents condone.

Homes are becoming scarcer every day in the cities of America, while mere places of existence are increasing [boarding houses] at a rate that is unfortunate indeed.
--F.H. LaBaume, Roanoke, Va.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Herefords in North Carolina, 1941

From the January 1941 issue of The Southern Planter

One of the older Hereford herds in North Carolina is the Polled herd of B.B. Miller, owner of Cloverland farm at Mt. Ulla. Herefords have been bred at Cloverland over a period of 34 years. Mr. Miller used cattle intensely bred in the blood of Anxiety 4th. The stock from which the herd has been developed was originally purchased from S.W. Anderson, Blakeley Mills, West Virginia, and Gudgell and Simpson of Kansas City.

Being unable at the time to located polled animals of the scale, size and type desired, he bred into the polled business by purchasing good heifers in the Anderson herd and having them bred to his polled bull. From this mating Mr. Miller produced an outstanding polled cow, Pauline. Breeding her to a Fairfax bull obtained from Governor McCray of Indiana, he produced the polled bull, Salisbury. This bull was used on the herd for a number of years. His blood is still prominent in it.

Salisbury was generally regarded over the South as an outstanding bull. He sired, among other good sires, the celebrated Prince Charming that did much for the herd of C.B. Woolsey at Aiken, South Carolina. Some of his calves sold in the Polled Association sale at Des Moines, Iowa, comparing favorably with other cattle there. His sons were sold all through the South and one was exported to Uruguay.

G.M. Pate and sons, owners of Raynham Farms at Raynham are breeding good Herdfords. The herd bulls in use at the present time are WHR Carlos Domino 31st, a Wyoming Hereford Ranch bull, and Hillcrest Domino 62nd, bred by C.A. Smith of Chester, West Virginia. The cows are mostly of Prince Domino breeding, being granddaughters and great granddaughters of that noted sire. The Pates have also been using the Hutt-bred bull, Prince Mischief 99th.

James G.K. McClure has at his Hickory Nut Farm at Fairview a Polled herd of 50 breeding matrons. The herd stems from three bulls, Foundation 4th, a Bullion 4th animal; Bob Gem, a bull of note in Pulled Hereford circles; purchased by Mr. McClure form Hodgson Brothers, Ottowa, Illinois, and Pawnee Rollo 43rd, a bull purchased in Texas.

The blood of Domino, Marvel Mischief and Wonderful 6th predominates in the herd of R.C. Hunter, Allum Knob Hereford Farm, East Laport. The females are of Painter, Wilson, Blanchard and Roberts breeding. The bulls are straight Anxiety 4th breeding.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Majority of Farmers in U.S. Are Tenant Farmers, 1937

From the January 1937 issue of The Southern Planter

There are approximately 6,800,000 farmers in the United States. Of these, about 2,860,000 or 42% are full tenants, renting all the land they operate. Another 10% of all farmers rent some land in addition to what they own.

Only 47%, less than half, of American farmers are full owners, and have title to all the land they operate.

The first count of farm tenants was made in 1880. At that time 25% of all farmers were tenants. Since that time, the number and percentage of farm tenants has grown every decade from 1930 to 1935 it is estimated that the number of arm tenants was increased by 200,000.

Tenancy is less prevalent in New England. Less than 7% of the farmers in Maine and Massachusetts are tenants. The highest percentages are found in the South, with about 70% of the farmers of Missouri classed as tenants. Corn Belt states, such as Iowa, Illinois, and Nebraska, however, also have a higher than average percentage of farm tenants.

There are three major classes of tenants. Cash tenants pay their rent in money. Share tenants, the largest rough throughout the United States, operate the farms under their own direction and split the crops and livestock with the owner at the end of the year. Share croppers, most of whom are found in the Cotton Belt, usually possess no tools, equipment or capital, and have only their labor to offer. The landlord provides them with land, buildings, stock, tools, seed, and “furnishes” them with food, feed, and part or all of the fertilizer. The share cropper receives a part of the crop at harvest.

The average farm tenant in the United States moves to a new farm about every three years. This instability of tenure is the root of the tenancy problem. Farmers with only a brief occupancy of the land they till cannot afford to build up the soil, prevent erosion, or improve farm buildings. Consequently, farm tenancy has become associated with such factors as soil depletion ad low living standards.

Tenancy was once considered “a step on the ladder to farm ownership.” Many young farmers started out by becoming tenants. Today, there is a growing number of older farmers among tenants, showing that the upward shift form tenancy to ownership is not made so frequently. In fact, the progress has to a large extent been reversed, owners becoming tenants through foreclosure and loss of their farms.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Report on Home Demonstration Work in Orange County in 1950

Report from Mrs. Paul Long, president of the Orange County Home Demonstration Club Council, on county club work in 1950

As we start the New Year, we can look upon the past year’s accomplishments in Orange County with pride. One of the outstanding activities has been in the development of more leadership in the county and clubs by officers training schools and club planning meetings. There has been a greater participation in club meetings by project leaders. Eighty leaders have conducted 62 demonstrations in local clubs with 1,459 in attendance.

Orange County is a small county, mostly rural in population, having 17 Home Demonstration Clubs with an enrollment of 418 women. Seventy new members were gained in the membership drives; 205 visitors were welcomed to one or more meetings. Though rural, the town of Chapel Hill has enjoyed a curb market for the past 12 years. At present there are 25 sellers with total sales amounting to $30,546.20.

Community projects have been numerous. Tram Road, Calvander, and Gravely Hill are working on club houses. Aycock Club has beautified the road intersection in their village. Orange Grove Club has helped in floor finishing and landscaping the new Baptist Church. Mail box improvement has been a county wide project sponsored in cooperation with the agricultural agencies, the Grange, Highway department, and mail carriers in the county.

Two years ago, the county council sponsored a fund to equip a county home demonstration laboratory. In addition to an annual contribution, this year each club has sponsored community sales, suppers, plays, etc., with proceeds going to the laboratory fund.

The citizenship program has received an excellent response in the United Nations Flag Program. In addition to those for schools, churches, and American Legion Posts, 20 were made for the town of Chapel Hill. At a United Nations Day program held on University of North Carolina campus, a flag was presented to Chancellor R.B. House for the University of North Carolina and one to Mayor Pro-tem Hobbs for the town of Chapel Hill. Smith Level Club sent one to the Exchange Club in England.

We are looking forward to a good year in Home Demonstration work in 1951.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Local Board of Trade Meetings Helpful, 1916

By Clyde Davis, Secretary of the Sandhill Board of Trade, Aberdeen, N.C., published in the January 1916 issue of The Southern Planter

Our Community Conferences for the discussion of such topics as fruit, cattle, cotton, corn, legumes, etc., have proved valuable. As in everything else, someone must take the lead. A meeting is called at some hall, school house or other suitable building. All are invited to come and bring a basket dinner. Before dinner, we try to have some amusement, such as singing, reciting, or boating. 

After dinner is eaten, the ones who are interested in the discussion gather in the building. The chairman questions those of our community who are best fitted to answer, such as a lawyer questions a witness. For example, if the meeting is on peach culture, post card would be sent to our best peach men, asking them to be present and to answer questions about their methods. Few people can make a speech, but anyone can answer questions. Each one is put through the same line of questions, and the object is to find out what points they agree on and what they disagree on. 

A secretary takes notes on what each says, and after the meeting he prepares a summary for the local papers. Of course the papers are delighted to have this to publish. Thus, we gather the knowledge that our people have gained by experience and by filing the reports of these meetings, we make valuable records.

The women attend the meetings. Sometimes they prefer to have a separate meeting to discuss house problems and sometimes they do not. It is a mistake to try to hold these meetings when the farmers are busy in their fields, just as it is unwise for the preachers to hold revivals at such seasons.

Another point in favor of these meetings is that the preacher, the banker, the merchant, and all the rest who should understand the community’s problems attend.

Monday, January 23, 2012

K.E. Freshwater Recalled Growing Up on Family Farm, Alamance County

Alamance County was originally part of Orange County. The Freshwater farm is located in what is now Alamance County.

William Armstead and his family moved to Orange County in 1799. He is listed in “A History of Alamance” as being the last purchaser from the Lord Granville Grant. Records at Hillsboro show that the time of his death he owned 1,600 acres, lying on the banks of Mill Creek. Of this, the 25 acres I own is all that remains in the Freshwater name.

The “Spoon” map (1890) of Orange County shows the home of Henry Freshwater and nearby is “Freshwater Shops.” Two of the brothers operated the shops. One was a blacksmith and the other was a wheelwright. The two of them took care of transportation problems in the community. They made their own charcoal on the site. Until recent years most of the family were farmers or mechanics.

Farming in those days was not specialized and consisted mostly of producing those things necessary to support the family and animals necessary for farm life, perhaps selling the surplus, if any.

My grandmother and my father or uncle made the trip every week to Haw River. We carried a wagon load of vegetables, fruit, milk and butter to sell house to house. On the way home we bought a week’s supply of staples at Mr. Cameron Tew’s store and then stopped at Mr. John Baker’s store in Trollingwood. In addition to the trip, if lucky, I was able to get my uncle or father to buy a cone of ice cream or a bottle of Nehi or NuGrape at Mr. Baker’s store.

Another source of cash income was selling stove wood. My father believed that the horses should rest when not doing farm work, so he walked five miles to Graham and visited various homes until he found one that needed wood. He had a few regular customers. He then walked home and next day walked two miles to our wood lot. He cut and split the wood into pieces about 15 inches long, loaded it on a wagon and delivered it all for a price of $3.50!!

Another big day was my trips to Durham and Raleigh on the milk truck. One of the two or three dairies in our area belonged to Mr. Bob Long, near Alexander Wilson School. He had a herd of fine Jersey cwos. The processors in Raleigh and Durham paid the producer according to the amount of butter fat on the milk. The more the better, because butter was so valued for cooking and baking. Jersey cows produced lower quantities but much higher test milk than Holsteins. Mr. Long’s two sons, Earnest and Walter, did most of the farm work and Walter drove a Graham-Paige truck to Raleigh every day. Most farms had one or two cows for their own use and some produced five to fifteen gallons extra per day. There were no sanitation requirements but before we quit selling milk, the state required a TB test for cows. I often rode with Walter on his trip. When we unloaded at the Pine State Creamery he always came out with a large slab of ice cream for me.

This land is now used mostly for a horse pasture.
--Submitted by K.E. Freshwater

In 1988, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture published a commemorative book, North Carolina Century Farms: 100 Years of Continuous Agricultural Heritage. This book provided a history of century farms in North Carolina.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Losses to Disease and Cost of Farms in 1915 and 1916

From The Southern Planter, January 1916

The report from the Secretary of Agriculture for 1915 estimates the annual losses from animal diseases at $212 million. The loss ascribed to each disease is as follows:

Hog cholera: $75 million
Texas fever and cattle ticks: $40 million
Tuberculosis: $25 million
Contagious abortion: $20 million
Blackleg, $6 million
Anthrax: $1.5 million
Scabies of sheep and cattle: $4.6 million
Glanders: $5 million
Other live stock diseases: $22 million
Parasites: $5 million
Poultry diseases: $8.75 million

In these figures, there is something for farmers to think over. A large per cent of these losses could be saved if proper attention were given to preventive measures.

Think about how far a million dollars would have gone in 1915! Here’s the cost of land from an ad in the same issue:
Fertile farms on the York and lower James River for sale.
On York—
12 acres, ½ mile river front, $2,000.
40 acres, nice new 6-room dwelling, ¼ mile river front, $3,750.
13 acres, new modern 8-room dwelling, water, light, ¼ mile river front, $6,000.
200 acres, 12-room dwelling, light, water, thoroughly modern and 10-room dwelling, $25,000.

On James—
Colonial brick, perfect condition, 365 acres, 1 mile river front, $14,600. Will divide.
1,251 acres, 3 miles river front, wharf, $30,000. Will divide.
Commodious outbuildings with each. Easy terms.
W.L. Jones, Box 5, Williamsburg, Va.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Plowshares Into Swords; Farmers' Respond to Pearl Harbor, 1942

Dec. 7, 1941—Pearl Harbor; On Dec. 15, the Secretary of the Navy would tell Congress that 2,729 people were killed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Dec. 8--President addresses Congress and the House and Senate declare war on Japan.

Dec. 11--In response to German and Italian declarations of war, Congress declares war on Germany and Italy.

Dec. 12--In response to Hungarian, Romanian, and Bulgarian declarations of war, Congress declares war these countries.

From the January 1942 issue of the Farm Journal

Plowshares Into Swords

“I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.”

Ringing farm telephones from California to New England, Farm Journal, before Congress had declared war Monday, could report first hand that President Roosevelt’s words had agricultures’ determined approval.

Months of suspense and uncertainty had ended quickly when Sunday’s afternoon quiet was stirred by radio flashes reporting the Japanese attack upon Hawaii. Every farm that heard knew what it meant. Overnight, America turned from uncertain pacifism to certain war.

Reflection soon led to the expectation that America was shortly to be at war not only with Japan, but with all the Axis group. Now the world was fully ablaze with war, a war whose course would be unforeseeable, unpredictable, probably long and difficult. It would be one thing to beat Japan, but a long, hard haul to mop all the military aggressors.

From Chicago, Albert S. Goss, the newly-elected master of the National Grange, succeeding the able veteran, L.J. Taber, read Farm Journal a copy of his Sunday night telegram to President Roosevelt:
“You can depend upon The National Grange and our hundreds of thousands of members from coast to coast to do our full part to answer any call made upon us. We pledge our fullest co-operation.”

Deep in the preliminaries of the 23rd annual meeting of the American Farm Bureau Federation at Chicago, Edward A. O’Neal, president, took time off to say: “This attack upon us will unite the American people as nothing else could. Our farm people, along with all the American people, are determined to defend our rights. I have felt for a long time that the situation in the Pacific must be cleared up. The treachery and perfidy of the aggressor nation in this case will, I am sure, greatly intensify our energy and determination. I hope we are prepared for any eventuality, and I think we are.”

H.E. Babcock, leader of the National Council of Farmer Co-operatives, told Farm Journal that “Today, minor things and petty and selfish things go automatically into the background. Most of us, shocked and angry, are craving action. So far as we can see now, in agriculture we can best express action by setting resolutely to do better the constructive and necessary work we are already doing. Later we shall perhaps see clearly that there is still more we can do.”
“I didn’t want to fight, but it is necessary now,” said W.H. Jeffcoat of Orangeburg County [South Carolina]. “We have fooled around too long. Should have been in it long ago, but we are in now all right,” said Archie Porth of Lexington [S.C.].
Draft quotas will be doubled and trebled for January and succeeding months. Draft boards, will take their jobs more seriously. Furloughs will be less frequent. Service outside of the United States is a distinct possibility for farm boys in the Army and Navy.

Farm labor? With a tightening up of the draft and with defense industries speeded up, there won’t begin to be as much help as farmers want and could use—but they’ll do the best they can to make up for it. They will have to work longer hours, and they will wish for more hours in the day. They will plow corn nights.

Farm boys and girls will have to work in the fields instead of going to camp. Farmers’ wives will lend their husbands a hand. Farmerettes there will be, but most farmers would rather work longer hours than take the time to teach farmerettes what it is all about. Even if agriculture gets all the consideration it can reasonably expect, there will not be enough good help to go around.

Machinery and equipment? Farms won’t be able to get all they can use—this is certain. Guns, tanks and other fighting equipment will get first chance at metals….

Prices? It will take a lot of ballast to keep them down. What the farmer buys will go up faster than what he sells (just as in peace times). The farms which are able to keep costs down (and which grow as much of their food as possible) will fare best. Sound farm management, essential in peace, is more essential in war times.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Celebrating Arbor Day in Morganton, 1916

“Arbor Day in Public Schools,” by A.C. Kerley, Morganton, N.C., published in the January 1916 issue of The Southern Planter

Recently, the schools here observed Arbor Day, and I believe it will be of considerable interest to your readers to know what was actually done.

A great paper like the Planter is doing a great deal as a medium through which men exchange experiences and are helped by what the other fellow is doing.

While this observance was expected to be of interest to the children in the town and older people as well, the influence has extended to the rural districts. The object was to inspire the children along the line of beautifying the school grounds and as a direct consequence their home grounds. The influence has spread and later on, the school grounds, yards, and in fact the appearances of communities will be changed.

We have a large ground which needed more trees. In order to have the trees properly cared for and not injured, as has been too often the case in all communities, we decided to have the school children do the work. We planted 18 beautiful young maples and two magnolias. But before this was done the entire school of 760 pupils and a large number of townspeople met in the auditorium where a program consisting of songs, recitations, readings and stories pertaining to Arbor Day, its origin, observance and influence, prepared them for the planting. These exercises lasted for some 40 minutes, after which the entire school marched in order to the school campus, where the trees were planted.

How many children in the average community ever saw holes made by the use of dynamite? Well, that is part of an education. We hunted up a man who knew how to use the dangerous explosive—dangerous in the same sense that a gun is dangerous by careless using—and had the holes “blasted.” It is all very simple and any one with intelligence and care can do it. Dynamite usually comes in half pound “sticks.” A quarter pound will do the work. Cut the stick in two with an ordinary knife. You then “crimp” about two feet of fuse to a cap and the cap is inserted into the end of the dynamite and tied, so as not to pull out. The dynamite is then put down in a hole some two feet, which can be made with a crowbar. The charge is then tamped in lightly with a broom handle or something similar. The fuse is lighted an the hole is mad. In a few minutes the dirt can be removed or have mixed with it rich soil. This work is quickly and inexpensively done and will make a tree in less than half the usual time. A tree should never be planted without a hole or the ground deeply broken. All this was arranged, and the holes were all made at once.

Now came the planting. Each class was to plant a tree, name it and dedicate it to some noted person, real or fictitious. One tree was dedicated to Woodrow Wilson and the others to Christopher Columbus, Robinson Crusoe, Benjamin Franklin, the last Senator Vance, Charles D. McIver, a former governor, prominent educators, superintendents of schools, members of the board of trustees and others. This gave the trees an individuality. They will be protected and cared for by the children. They are living, personal beings and will therefore command respect, and get it.

These exercises will have a great tendency to do away with the idle boy’s knife, which has left scars and destruction wherever it has been. Schools are conducted to teach children, not merely “book learning” but how to live and what they do at school will have a great influence on what they will later do at home.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

January To-Do List for Farm Folk, 1942

Here’s the January to-do list from the January 1942 issue of the Farm Journal and Farmer’s Wife

Now Is the Time To:

Saw wood.

Build some bookshelves.

Pay your church pledge.

Hang up a new calendar.

Clean dairy barn windows.

Fix that rotten cellar step.

Order baby chicks—good ones.

Swap stories with your neighbor.

Make out your income tax report.

Remember Aunt Mary’s birthday.

Send for seed and nursery catalogs.

Buy farm seeds. Avoid bargain lots.

Get a few extra electric light bulbs.

Mend and oil harness, get new collars and pads.

Do some of the jobs you won’t have time for in spring.

Have Dobbin fitted with shoes for ice and frozen ground.

Top-dress wheat fields with manure to help grass seed catch.

Look for beauty in the landscape. No two snowdrifts are alike.

Buy sausage seasoning, smoked salt and pickle for home butchering.

Replace the leaking eave trough above the icy spot at the kitchen door.

Feed legume hay and grain to breeding ewes, to prevent pregnancy disease.

Quit making Biddy break ice in the poultry fountain. Get an electric warmer.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Vance County Girl Featured in Magazine, 1941

From the January 1941 issue of The Southern Planter

You Can Do It Too!
Would you like to be able to sew so well that your own clothes really looked nicer than the ones you can buy? Wouldn’t it be fun to know the flowers, trees, birds and insects about you? You can learn how to fix up your room and how to achieve greater health. You can do all this and more too.

Magdalene Dickerson, Zeb Vance 4-H Club girl, Vance County, North Carolina, can do every single thing mentioned above. During her five years of club work, she has conducted projects in foods, wildlife conservation, room improvement, food preservation and in clothing, clothing being her main project.

Magdalene is such an excellent seamstress that she has sold $20 worth of products; she has earned $45 in prizes; and she values her products used at home or on hand at $50, making a total value of $115 for her clothing project.

In connection with her clothing project, Magdalene has been specializing in arts and crafts during the past few years. She has made hats, bags and even bedroom slippers form corn shucks.

“But making a dress is not all there is to club work,” says Magdalene. “Taking part in demonstrations, club programs, achievement day programs and in dress revues develops poise, skill and self-confidence.”

The Misses Willie Hunter and Julie McIver, Extension Clothing Specialists, North Carolina State College, have provided Magdalene opportunities to exhibit her projects at the Short Course on State Achievements Day, during Farm and Home Week and at the State Fair for the past several years.

[For a photo of Magdalene Dickerson modeling an outfit she made herself, see page 10 of The Southern Planter magazine, January 1941]

The President Addresses the Farm Bureau, 1935

The Nation’s Agriculturist, January 1935

For a Common Justice by Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“Do unto your neighbor as you would be done by.” That Golden Rule, the President of the United States told 20,000 Farm Bureau members attending the 17th annual convention of the American Farm Bureau Federation, is the foundation for all justice. Millions heard President Roosevelt’s address over the radio. Here is part of it.

Three years ago in addressing the farmers of the nation, I reminded them that the economic life of the United States is a seamless web. This was a means of illustrating the great dependence of each economic unit in the nation upon every other unit. Farm prosperity cannot exist without city prosperity, and city prosperity cannot exist without farm prosperity.

Only a few generations ago, interdependence between agriculture and industry was not I any way as great as it is today; but now your welfare depends in part on what you in the country do and in large part on which people do in the cities as well.

Your own experience of three and four years ago doubtless brings all of this vividly to your minds. Your sufferings—those sufferings of rural America—were not because you were not producing, for your granaries and storehouses were bursting with the products of your labor, but because things in city and country had both got out of balance and purchasing power had declined to the point where people in the cities did not have the money to buy farm produce and people on the farms did not have the money to buy city products.

Two Major Factors
Two things were at that time especially clear. First, that because of almost unbelievably low prices for farm products, the growers of these products could not meet their indebtedness, could not pay their taxes, and could not meet the living expenses of their families. The other fact was that in most major crops a constantly accumulating surplus had reached such absurdly high levels that crop price levels could not possibly rise until something was done to cut down to a reasonable level the bulging surplus which overhung the market.

For these reasons the recovery program that this Administration proposed and that Congress enacted was a many-sided one. The Administration and the Congress that took office in March 1933 recognized that the emergency they faced then came from many causes and endangered the life of many groups. Consequently, it put the power of government behind not only railroads and banks, but the industrial workers of the nation, the farmers, the small home owners, the unemployed, and the young people hwo suffered from utter lack of opportunity. It was a great emergency and it required swift action. Mistakes were inevitable because it was a new field.

Just Common Sense
Justice and old-fashioned common sense demanded that in the building of purchasing power we had to start with agriculture. I knew enough of the problems of the men and women who were partners with te soil to realize the depth of their suffering and the extent of their need back there in 1932 and early 1933. I knew the pangs of fear and moments of rejoicing that come t the farmer as the harvest frowns or smiles. And I realize the almost equally crushing sense of futility that comes to a farmer when, after months of toiling from morning to night, he reaps a bumper crop, only to see the price fall so low that it scarcely pays him to take his crop to market.

One of the greatest curses of American life has been speculation. I do not refer to the obvious speculation in stocks and bonds and land booms. You and I know that it is not inherently a good thing for individuals in any nation to be able to make great fortunes by playing the market without the necessity of using much in the way either of toil or of brains; their tools are a little capital and a good deal of luck.

Evils of Speculation
The kind of speculation I am talking about is the involuntary speculation of the farmer when he puts his crops into the ground. How can it be healthy for a country to have the price of crops vary 350 and 500 and 700 per cent, all in less than a generation? If you invest your savings or your capital in whiat you consider a wholly safe investment, which will conserve your principal so that  you will still have that principal intact after 10 years or 20 years or 30 years, you are naturally aghast if the value of that investment drops 50 per cent. Equally, when you make the investment you do not expect the principal suddenly to increase 50 per cent in value.

And yet we have shrugged our shoulders when we have seen cotton run up and down the scale between 4 ½ cents and 28 cents, wheat run down and up the scale between $1.50 and 30 cents—corn, hogs, cattle, potatoes, rye, peaches—all of them fluctuating from month to month and from year to year in mad gyrations, which, of necessity, have left he growers of them speculators against their will.

Relief Measures
The measures to which we turned to stop the decline and rout of American agriculture originated in the aspirations of the farmers themselves expressed through the several farm organizations. I turned to these organizations and took their counsel and sought to help them to get these purposed embodied in the law of the land. What you wanted and what you and I have endeavored to achieve was to put an end to the destructive forces that were threatening American agriculture. We sought to stop the rule of tooth and claw that threw farmers into bankruptcy or turned them virtually into serfs, forced them to let their buildings, fences and machinery deteriorate, made them rob their soil of its God-given fertility, deprived their sons and daughters of a decent opportunity on the farm. To those days, I trust, the organized power of the nation has put an end forever.

I say “the organized power of the nation” advisedly, because you and I as Americans who still believe in our republican form of constitutional government know, as a simple fact, that 48 separate sovereign states, acting each one as a separate unit, never were able and never will be able to legislate or to administer individual laws adequately to balance the agricultural life of a nation so greatly dependent on nationally grown crops of many kinds.

As a first step organized agriculture pointed out that it was necessary to bring agriculture into a fair degree of equality with other parts of our economic life. For so long as agriculture remained a dead weight on economic life, sooner or later the entire structure would crash. We used for temporary guidance the idea of parity between farm prices and industrial prices. As you know, the figures that we used to determine the degree to which agricultural prices had fallen in relation to other prices were based upon the figures of 1909 and 1914. This was a fairly satisfactory way of measuring our efforts. Those five years preceding the beginning of the World War were years of fair prosperity in this country. They were the last years before the widespread disturbance caused by the World War took place in our economic life. And measured by the figures built upon this standard, the relative purchasing power of the farmer had fallen to less than 50 per cent of normal in early 1933. I promised to do what I could to remedy this, and without burdening you with unnecessary figures, let the record say that a relative purchasing power of below 50 per cent has now moved up today to better than 90 per cent. As I have pointed out before, this rise in farm prices has meant a very substantial improvement in the farm income of the United States. The best available figures show that it has increased nearly $3 billion in the past 2 ½ years.

Consumer Benefit
I think it is safe to say that although prices for farm products show many increases over depression lows, the farm program instead of burdening consumers as a group has actually given them net benefits. There are individuals whose incomes have not risen in proportion to the rise in certain food prices; but at the same time, the total net income of city dwellers is several billion dollars higher than 1932, and I think you will agree with me that bargain prices for food in 1932 were little consolation to people in cities with no income whatsoever.

Masses Fair-Minded
Though food prices in the cities are not on the average as high as they were, for example, in 1929, yet they are in many cases too high. It is difficult to explain why in many cases if the farmer gets an increase for his food crop over what he got three years ago, the consumer in the city has to pay two and three and four times the amount of that increase. Lifting prices on the farm up to the level where the farmer and his family can live is opposed chiefly by the few who profited heavily from the depression. It is they and their henchmen who are doing their best to foment city people against the farmers and the farm program. It is that type of political profiteer who seeks to discredit the vote in favor of a continued corn-hog program by comparing our desire for a fair price for the farmer to the appetite of hogs for corn.

Yet I know that the great masses of city people are fair-minded. They, like yourselves, suffered deeply from the depression, and I believe with all my heart that millions of these city people, struggling back towards better days, resent the attempts of political advantage seekers and profiteers to heap ridicule upon the recovery efforts that all of us are making.

But the success that has attended and is attending our efforts to stem te depression and set the tide running the other way cannot blind us to the necessity of looking ahead to the permanent measures which are necessary to a more stable, economic life. We are regaining a more fair balance among the groups that constitute the nation and we must look to the factors that will make that balance stable.

Where Is Justice?
The thing we all are seeking is justice in the common-sense interpretation that means “Do unto your neighbor as you would be done by.” That interpretation means justice against exploitation on the part of those who do not care much for the lives, the happiness and the prosperity of their neighbors. The nation applauds the efforts of its agencies of government to deal swiftly with kidnappers, gangsters, and racketeers: That is justice. The nation applauds the efforts of its agencies of government to save the innocent victim from wildcat banking, from watered stocks, and form all other kinds of “confidence games”: That is justice. The nation applauds the efforts of government to obtain and to maintain fair rewards for labor, whether it be the labor of the farmer or the labor of the factory worker or the labor of the white-collar man: That is justice. The nation applauds efforts, through the agencies of government, to give a greater social security to the aged and to the unemployed, to improve health, and to create better opportunities for our young people: That, too, is justice.

In this quest for justice we have made progress. It is a lasting progress because the people of the nation have learned more about effective co-operation in the past 2 ½ years  than in the previous 25 years.  We understand more than ever before what that term “the seamless web” means. We seek to balance agriculture and we have made great strides. But in balancing agriculture we know that it must be in balance not alone with itself but with industry and business as well—that the producing public must give consideration to the consuming public.

America Points Way
Year by year as we go on, many details, many problems will need to be analyzed and solved. Agriculture and industry and business are in overwhelming majorities co-operating for a common justice as never before. In these present days we have seen and are seeing, not a rebirth of material prosperity alone: of greater significance to our national future is that spiritual reawakening, that deeper understanding that has come to our land. We who strive to dispel the bitterness and the littleness of the few who still think and talk in terms of the old and utter selfishness, we are working together towards the destruction of sectionalism, of class antagonism and of malice. We who strive for co-operation among all parts of our great population in every part of the nation, we intend to win through to a better day. We strive for America, and if we shall succeed, as by God’s help we will, America will point the way towards a better world.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Diversify to Feed Your Family, 1916

“Diversity and Live at Home” by A.L. French, Rockingham County, N.C., published in The Southern Planter, January 1916

I have been going about a little more than usual since late summer, among the farmers and businessmen in several states, and have listened to see what I could hear that I might pass along with benefit to my fellow farmers.

I have found contented “well-to-do” farmers in a community and in the same community found those who were hard up, whose families were lacking a great many of the necessities of life.

There is always a cause for every effect, so my search was for the causes in these cases, and they were many but the two that “stuck out” were buying a living and working poor land. I have talked so much to Planter readers about the poor land problem, of what a drag it is on the farmer, that I shall say nothing of it at this time except just this: that it is our greatest problem and we want to be thinking about it all the time.

This time, however, at the beginning of another good year, I want to have a word with the man who is in the habit of bringing home with him something for his family or stock to eat every time he goes to town. I was out in the great middle South last month, taking part in the big farm improvement campaign carried on in the territory tributary to Memphis, Tenn., by the Business Men’s Club of Memphis and the business men of the local towns, supplemented by the fine work of the Farm Extension Division of the International Harvester Company of Chicago.

Before one of the teams of 22 men and women struck a county, our advance man had been there and ascertained by investigation at the freight houses, just what the people of that county spent the previous year for food supplies for man and beast. It was a curious fact that in almost every instance, the amount so expended was just about equaled to the amount of the cotton sales for the same period. And the money was, of course, if we are raising a money crop to buy supplies, why not cut down the acreage of cotton somewhat, raise the food supplies and thus cut out some of the “wear and tear?” This, of course, if the food supplies can be as easily grown in our territory as in other sections—a question we Southern folks will answer in the affirmative every time, of course; for we all know what our soil, when properly handled, will produce all sorts of food products in greater abundance than will soils in colder sections, and of quality unequaled elsewhere.

Of course, we would not want to cut out the cotton crop or other money crop entirely, but it has been demonstrated many times that the same number of pounds of cotton may be much more economically produced on one acre than on two acres of land.

So cutting somewhat the acreage of cotton does not necessarily mean the reduction of the number of bales. The fact is, in boll weevil sections, the reduction of acreage and better handling of the crop means more pounds of cotton per given acre instead of less.

So there is no economic rule we will be compelled to violate and no climatic conditions to overcome if we start in this month with the determination to produce, on our own farm, all the meat we are to use this year, all the eggs our idle rich are to consume, all the garden peas, Irish potatoes, beans of ever sort, cabbage, peppers, sweet potatoes, roasting ears, lettuce, salsify, parsnips, spinach, turnips, carrots, beets, and you know all the others without me mentioning them, that should be produced for home consumption and sale.

This means fairly good hogs, decently kept on corn, grass and clover, with a clean house to sleep in. It means we must weed out the four and five-year-old hens and hatch plenty of pullets to take their place, out of eggs from the best layers of the flock. And it may mean battening the cracks on the west, north and east sides of the old hen house and the cleaning and spraying of the houses at more regular and frequent intervals. It means that we must abandon the old square garden patch and plow a good long piece of well-drained land very deep at the first opportunity when the land is in proper condition; fertilize this land well and lay off our garden on this good deep soil in long rows, so cultivation may be done with the horse at a minimum of expense. “Then the planting must be done on time, and often, so abundance from the garden will be the rule.

Then it may mean the planting of more than the usual acreage of peas and soja [soybean?] beans for hay and hog feed and, of course, it must mean better handling of an increased acreage of corn. And it might mean the cutting and curing while green and tender of a large amount of broom straw and Johnson grass for hay, in case other hay should be short. I would far rather feed early cut broom straw to horses next winter at a cost of two or three dollars per ton, than to feed the hay that the other fellows had piled up the cost on until the price is so high that only the very rich can afford to feed it. Understand that I am not advocating the use of broom straw hay except as a makeshift until we get caught up on better quality hay; however, I believe I have seen enough broom straw within the past month to have fed all the cattle in the South in better shape than the majority of them are being fed, had it been cut when green and succulent, and well cured.

Animal food and human food is costing our South country a large proportion of the money that our tobacco and cotton crops are bringing, and by a little readjustment of our farming practice and more economical handling of the work on the farm, we could grow every dollar’s worth of it with our present supply of labor and not reduce the cotton or tobacco crop by one pound.

The Southern Planter: Devoted to Practical and Progressive Agriculture, Horticulture, Trucking, Live Stock and Fireside

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Helping Farmers Buy Land, Preventing Polio, Sheep for N.C., Asking Government to Help Farmers the Way It Helps Businesses, 1941

Items from the Editorial Comment page of The Southern Planter, January 1941 issue

Land for Landless Farmers
Deserving tenants who are able to qualify for a loan under the Farm Security Administration’s Tenant Purchase Plan have the opportunity of a lifetime to own a family-sized farm. The last Congress appropriated $50,000,000 to provide promising tenant families with the necessary cash to buy farms. The loans are spread over a period of 40 years and bear 3 per cent interest. Other charges, including principal payments, are arranged to suit the farming system.

The 1040-41 allocation of funds by states for Region IV in which most of our subscribers reside is as follows:
Kentucky: $1,751,704
North Carolina: $2,766,491
Tennessee: $2,182,374
Virginia: $1,121,975
West Virginia: $523,399
Total: $8,345,943

Landless farmers who live in these states and are interested in obtaining one of these land purchase loans should call at the local FSA office. Your county agent can give you its exact location.
An Appealing Cause
An article elsewhere in this issue calls attention to the annual infantile paralysis campaign in Virginia. This is part of a national effort sponsored by President Roosevelt and designated not only to ameliorate suffering and to rehabilitate suffers, but eventually, through laboratory research, to eliminate the disease as a dreadful factor in human distress and wastage.

Rural people especially should be interested in this war on infantile paralysis. Of approximately 12,000 crippled children in Virginia, something like 8,000 are in rural districts. For the fight against this disease, state funds are limited. Money obtained in these campaigns is used to supplement official effort, giving promise of quick and effectual aid to all sufferers. Early treatment of infantile paralysis prevents deformities in many cases. By the same token, it paves the way to economic rehabilitation of the victims.

Every county in our area is organized for this campaign. We hope our readers will cooperate in it to the fullest extent. Contributions, however small, will be welcome in the furtherance of an appealing cause.
Sheep for North Carolina
Hon. W. Kerr Scott, Commissioner of Agriculture, is the greatest sheep booster we have come upon in North Carolina. He sees no reason why the state’s once great sheep industry cannot be brought back on a profitable plane, and he has proved it to his own satisfaction at his Melville Jersey Farm near Haw River in Alamance County.

“My father gave me 10 sheep when I was married 21 years ago and I have kept around 20 ewes ever since. Over a period of years,” Mr. Scott told us at the North Carolina State Fair last fall, “these sheep have pad about as well as any crop on the place. We sell a crop of lambs and a crop of wool every spring. Until recent years we collected enough cash form the sheep to pay our taxes.”

Mr. Scott’s only losses have been due to mishaps. He has solved the internal parasite problem by regular rotation of pastures. Sheep clean up much feed on the farm that otherwise would go to waste. He keeps grade Shropshire ewes and uses a Hampshire ram.

This is the experience of an agricultural leader and practical farmer in a state where the average farmer gets 85 cents of his income dollar from the sale of crops and 15 cents from the sale of livestock and livestock products. A better balance between crop farming and stock farming is the crying need of Carolina agriculture. Can’t something be done in 1941 to correct this lopsided condition of the state’s farming system?

North Carolina farmers who are interested in adding a new source of livestock income to the family till should take a tip from their Commissioner of Agriculture and consider sheep.
System for Agricultural Finance Needed
The extent of our farmers’ need for a satisfactory method of financing long term loans at low interest rates is suggested in the table below. It shows the percentage of the farm mortgage debt held by the Federal land banks in the “top of the South” at the end of the last fiscal year.

Percentage of Farm Mortgage Debt Held by Federal Land Banks in the Upper South (June 30, 1940)
Delaware: 14.8 percent
Maryland: 25.5
North Carolina: 39.6
Virginia: 44.8
West Virginia: 44.9
South Carolina: 52.6

We cannot develop an ideal country life unless we establish a full and adequate system of agricultural finance, a system that extends treatment to the farmer equivalent to that which the business man now enjoys under the Federal Reserve System. To this and our farmers should demand the outright federal guarantee of farm loan bonds; they should crystalize sentiment in favor of such action by the government. Such guarantee is essential if we are to secure long term land loans at low rates of interest.

It is remarkable that those who represented agriculture in Congress at a time when it was found necessary to bring succor to great business failed the farmer. Indeed, many of them pride themselves with having withheld a federal guarantee for rural credit, which would have brought hope and happiness to our farmers.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Wonders of Getting Electricity

A letter to the editor from January 1937 issue of The Southern Planter magazine

As the saying goes, ‘10 years were added to my life,’ and in only three weeks. The explanation: Just recently the power line came through our community. We were proud we could afford lights and iron. Then I started boarding a teacher who brought her own radio with her and gave the family the privilege of playing it when we cared to, and this is what added 10 years. I’ve always loved dancing and music and now to turn on the radio takes me back to younger days when they meant everything to me, and it even seems to lighten my work.
--Mrs. E.G. Lane, Greenfield, Virginia

Watauga's New Cheese Factory, 1937

From the Jan. 1937 issue of The Southern Planter

The construction of a cheese factory in Watauga County, North Carolina has opened a new market for dairy products in that area.

The factory, which started operating recently, is located at Beaver Dam and is under the management of Bud Trivett, former cheese maker at the Beaver Dam Cooperative Factory.

Trivett has a fine herd of Holsteins which is supplying part of the milk used in making the cheese. He is also buying milk from other farmers of the section.

A unique feature of this new plant is the method of cooling the curing room by piping water from a cold mountain stream directly into the plant. Evaporation of the water maintains a temperature just right for curing cheese.

F.R. Farnham, North Carolina State College, says that Trivett is manufacturing a five-pound cheddar brick cheese which is finding a ready sale. The cheese is of excellent quality and is made into a convenient size desired by homemaker. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Union and Montgomery County Farm Report, January 1949

By F.H. Jeter, Extension Editor, N.C. State College, Raleigh, as published in the Charlotte Observer on Jan. 10, 1949

Tom Evans, manager of a Union County farm, is not yet ready to stop growing cotton. He believes it is still a good sandy land crop, because he picked 400 pounds of lint an acre at his first picking last fall and went on to average over a bale of lint per acre for the entire farm.

Over in adjoining Montgomery County, local corn growers have made an especial effort to produce their own planting seed for 1949. There were eight accredited producers with an average of 27.5 acres each, and they produced about 35 bushels an acre of No. 1 corn seed per acre. The growers say that this will be enough homegrown seed to plant 5,000 acres, which means that about 75 percent of the corn land can be planted with this locally grown seed supply. The regular yields of corn were lower than usual last summer although some of the growers in the Montgomery corn contest report from 92 up to 111 bushels an acre. Quite a few men have had corn to sell, but the price dropped to $1 a bushel locally. Let’s hope that these men will find some livestock with which to feed this surplus.

Ninety-one Montgomery boys entered the corn growing contest sponsored by the civic organizations of the county with probably the highest yield being that by Henry Allen of Troy, who produced 130 bushels on a measured acre.

County Agent Austin Garris says that the folks of Montgomery have gone right ahead with their farm fish ponds during the past summer and fall. Among the new builders have been D.W. Hamilton of Troy, Bill Tomlinson of Candor, and Lloyd Wood and Luke Saunders, both of Troy. Jesse Maness of Allreds had his old pond reworked and a new one added. 

In August, 20 fish pond owners secured bream from the hatchery near Hoffman. The ponds ranked in size from one-half acre to 10 acres and were stocked with 1,000 bream and 100 bass per acre. About 30,000 bream fingerlings were placed in 30 acres of pond in August.

R.H. Wesson, assistant agent, added that there are about 60 farm fish ponds in Montgomery at this time with 35 of them having been built and stocked this past year. Most of the ponds were built by the county terracing unit with the Brown Creek Soil Conservation District helping to secure the fingerlings. Ordinarily, Montgomery farmers plant their ponds for a spot that is unsuitable for growing crops, and they use the water so impounded for the livestock, swimming, irrigation, and as a spray water for treating the orchards and crops. Better still, the owners also like to fish, and they say that these farm fish ponds provide wonderful sport for an idle hour.

The county terracing unit also is used to clear land as well as to build dams and construct terraces. Robert Freeman of Troy had four acres of good land cleared in the early fall for planting to pasture. While he had the unit out there, he terraced eight acres and then had his lawn smoothed off, the rocks pushed out, and a new plantation road built. No use to have these heavy power units available and not use them, he says.

Mr. Garris believes that one of the finest things happening in Montgomery this past season has been the many new silos established and filled; the fine quality of hay saved; the new alfalfa fields seeded; and the small grain and pasture crops planted last fall. Practically every grade “A” dairyman in the county put up at least three tons of silage per cow as winter feed. This means plenty of succulent feed for any bad weather that may come along in January and February.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Where Farm Family's Money Went, 1939

From an editorial in the January 1939 issue of The Southern Planter

Where Your Money Goes
Did it ever dawn on you that 37 cents out of every dollar used for family living on the average farm goes for food? That is what Maryland home demonstration club women, who keep accurate records, have found—see Miss Hinton’s article on Miss Hunter’s page this month. Every housewife should study that article carefully because, we believe, better management of family finance will do much to make a little money go a long way.

For example, look at the item of food--$448.89 was the value of all food used, $244.89 was bought and $204.25 worth produced on the farm as chickens and eggs, dairy products, vegetables, etc. Stated differently, of every dollar used for family living, 37 cents went for food—20 cents for foods bought and 17 cents for homegrown foodstuffs. 

Food is the greatest item of cost in farm living, and here is the remarkable thing about Miss Hinton’s study: Some families bought nearly all of their food, while others produced up to 74 percent. Where as much as 55 percent of the food was raised at home, meals averaged 4 cents per person; where only 3 percent of the food was homegrown, meals averaged 28 cents each. Those who raised most of their food had better meals than those who lived out of the grocery store. Money saved on meals is released for the purchase of other commodities that make for better living on the farm—radios, home furnishings, water systems and better medical care. These facts give the live-at-home program a new meaning for 1939.

To the ladies:
1.       Get your husband to read Miss Hinton’s article.

2.       Have him buy you 300 baby chicks, use and sell the cockerels for broilers in late spring and keep the best pullets for fall and winter eggs.

3.       Get him to use as much commercial fertilizer on your garden as he puts under an equal area of cotton, tobacco, or potatoes; and insist that the garden by worked equally well.

4.       Then, keep at least two good milk cows—one to freshen in fall to produce milk in winter, and the other, to calve in spring for summer milk production.

If you will do these things, your family will live better in 1939, enjoy better health and have more money for family living, even if your income remains the same.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Moore County Farmers Report, 1948

By F.H. Jeter, Extension Editor, N.C. State College, Raleigh, as published in the Charlotte Observer on Jan. 10, 1949

While most folks boast of much corn stored in their cribs as a future food and feed supply, growers of Moore (County) say that their acre yields were not so good in 1948. The reason is that the sunny sandhills, so beautiful in winter and so attractive to tourists, are not noted for their ability to hold soil moisture. When a long dry spell hits that section in the middle of the corn growing season, acre yields suffer. And that’s what happened in the Sandhills this past season. The quality of the corn is good and there is perhaps more total corn than usual, but there are not those high acre yields that have been reported from other parts of the state. The same thing happened to the peach crop. Clyde Auman and his fellow peach growers made perhaps the best quality crop that they ever produced but they just didn’t pick as many total peaches as they would like to have sold. But the folks of Moore are doing a better farming job than in the past. The dry spell in the heart of the growing season did not affect them so disastrously as it would have done a few years ago.

County agent E.H. Garrison checked around early last fall trying to find some man who would really compete in the 100-bushel corn contest for the year, but he found only two growers who had made over 100 bushels an acre. G.H. Purvis of High Falls harvested 118.5 bushels an acre and Wesley Dalrymple of Cameron harvested 111.1 bushels. J.L. Boyte of Glendon says this summer drouth cut his average yield to about half of what he has been making in recent years, and W.C. Nall reported his crop to be one-third less.

Incidentally, Gilbert Purvis, son of G.H. Purvis, won the junior corn growing contest for the clay section of Moore County with a yield of 114.3 bushels while Paul Cole of the West End Club was highest in the Sandhills. Each boy was awarded a $100 U.S. savings bond. Billy Flinchum was another champion for Moore County this year but he started in the role of beekeeper and was given a complete bee hive as a prize for handling the little sugar gathering insects.

Mr. Garrison said that one of the very interesting happenings in the Sandhill country last year was the adding of cows as more men planted alfalfa and new pastures. Homer Johnson and Blue Monroe, who live in the Springfield section near Cameron, are tobacco growers. It’s an excellent cash crop for them and they grow good tobacco, but they believe also that they can add to their income by growing some other cash crops, and so they are building milking barns and will milk four to six cows each and sell fluid milk.

Why? Well, Mr. Johnson puts it this way. “My tobacco just doesn’t provide all the cash that I need to have. Better still—keeping the cows will build up this land.” Probably Mr. Blue Monroe started the whole idea because he has been milking two cows and selling his extra butter and buttermilk for quite a while now. Just this little extra work adds about $20 a week to the family income—not so much, he says, but it figures right at $1,000 a year.

W.A. Tyson of the Haw Branch section will argue with you that his pasture is about the best paying crop on the Tyson farm. He seeded white clover and orchard grass in the fall of 1947 and kept his brood sows and his sheep in excellent condition all year from the grazing they secured there during this past year. Marvin Davis planted his first field of alfalfa four years ago when he seeded two and one-half acres. Since then he has planted another two acres. In addition, he seeded a test pasture of Ladino clover and orchard grass to which he added five additional acres this fall—just past. He has milked a few cows right along and grows some tobacco. But in 1948, he turned the tobacco acreage over to a tenant and is milking eight cows and selling milk, pigs and pork. He keeps four nice brood sows and has sold over $700 worth of pigs from the farm. His land is improving right along and, this season, he began to grow hybrid corn for seed. Since he produces about 96 bushels an acre on his sandy soil, he figures that he is doing very well. He says that the Sandhills of Moore are adapted to something other than tobacco, peaches, long-leaf pine, and tourists.

M.J. Davis, Fletcher Ritter, and Austin Wilcox, all of the Carthage section, are growing excellent crops of alfalfa, Ladino clover, and other livestock feeds. Fletcher Ritter built a new barn for his cows this past year largely as a result of the successful pasture now established. Quite a few men mixed rye grass with small grain last fall as a winter grazing crop. E.J. Austin of the Pinebluff section seeded 20 acres which he says is making some mighty profitable milk for him right now. W.C. Nalls of Putnam and Robert Williams of near Robbins are two other newcomers to the milk-selling business in 1948. They have land suited to alfalfa and pasture and plan to get additional cash income from cows.

Mr. Garrison says that about 5,000 acres of cultivated land in Moore County were put to winter cover crops for soil improvement and hay this past fall. Over 300 other acres were put to temporary winter grazing crops and about 22 men will topdress their winter grazing with nitrogen applications.

Other Crops
Many Sandhill farmers have found that poultry pays them well.  Eli E. Phillips of the Putnam section has been growing and selling about 8,000 broilers a year for quite a few years and last year he added 500 paying hens. The eggs sold in the early fall have already paid his expenses with the pullets and he says he will double his laying flock next season.

N.F. Bertram of Pinehurst is trying out the production of sunflower seed. He produced 15 bushels of a small one-fourth acre plot without fertilizer this season and believes he can produce 100 bushels an acre without great expense or difficulty. If he finds a ready market for the seed, he will put in about 10 acres next year.

Dewey Troutman of Addor believes that Milo grain sorghum might be a good grain crop for tat sandy section. He harvested about 70 bushels an acre, from five acres, this past season and will plant more of the milo and less of corn another year.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Franklin Man Explains How You Can Keep a Son on the Family Farm, 1939

Letters to the Editor published in the January 1939 issue of The Southern Planter

Since back in the days when the “Prodigal Son” was giving his dad a severe headache by wanting to leave the farm, farmers everywhere had been troubled with the same question: “How you gonna keep ‘em down on the farm?”

I have a workable solution to this question, speaking from personal experience. Give your boy something to interest him and also something remunerative. For the interesting things, take him hunting and fishing as soon as he is large enough to walk. For the remunerative things, calves, pigs, etc., are fine. If a boy doesn’t respond to this treatment, he isn’t an average boy.
--Charlie J. Ferguson, Route 4, Franklin, North Carolina

Friday, January 6, 2012

Hertford County Woman's Thoughts on Poverty Among the Elderly, 1937

Letter to the Editor in the January 1937 Issue of The Southern Planter

There is a distressingly large number of aged and destitute men and women in the world today, terrorized by impending old age that promises no surcease from the solicitude they feel for the necessities of existence. 

Most of these pathetic old people are worthy. And it’s not really their fault that they are thus brought face to face with poverty.

Their lives have been filled with toil and sacrifice, also they have known many hardships which we, of another generation, can scarcely comprehend. Disabled by infirmities attendant upon old age, they have lost the strength and courage to struggle longer with a calloused world for the independence which is theirs by every right on inheritance.

Feeble and forsaken now, though they have fought the good fight to exhaustion, and years of faithful serve have brought them no reward in a material way. And thus, in their helplessness, they consider themselves beggars; demoralized by the fact that they are obliged to accept support from the hands of others, and which is often grudgingly given. And the poor souls know it. For all other sensibilities fail. The price of youth remains to torture them in their helplessness.

All government employees, after serving a certain number of years, are allowed a pension upon retirement, and it would be only fair to these aged ones, who have labored just as faithfully in the cause of humanity, for the government to allow them a compensation, a very small annuity payable monthly would spare them the humiliation of being forced to pass their last days in county homes. Such a plan would in all probability be less expense to the government.
--Miss Elizabeth Pope, Hertford County, N.C.
The current system of monthly Social Security checks for the elderly did not begin until January 1940.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Life Is Good, January 1937

By F.H. Jeter, Extension Editor, N.C. State College, Raleigh, as published in The Southern Planter, January, 1937

“We are getting along very nicely, I have a crib full of corn, plenty of hay, a supply of meat, and I have paid all my debts. This is better than you found me four years ago when I had to hire out two of my girls to get food and clothes for the family,” said John Love, colored farmer of near Mebane in Alamance County, to J.W. Jeffries, local Negro farm agent.

Jeffries reported that he found 375 bushels of corn in Love’s crib, that he had 15 tons of hay, and that there were three hogs to be killed, each of which weigh over 400 pounds.

In addition, Love had three good milk cows, a brood sow with six pigs, and a flock of more than 100 laying hens.

Love sold 3,548 pounds of tobacco for $1,158.97. He had on hand at that time 2,000 additional pounds to sell.

There are seven children in the Love family, four of whom are enrolled in Negro 4-H Club work.

According to Dean I.O. Schaub of the State College Extension Service, Love is just an example of what one finds among many progressive Negro farms in North Carolina at this time. The progress that many of the Negro farmers are making is really remarkable, Mr. Schaub says.

Mrs. W.R. Pritchard of Pearceville Home Demonstration Club in Camden County wanted to make over an old dress but hesitated to ask the home agent for suggestions because the material was so old.

The home agent, however, investigated and found the material in the dress in good condition though it had been bought 22 years ago. It would be easy to change the dress into a modish fall model. Mrs. Pritchard is now remodeling the dress and plans to wear it for the twenty-third year.

Mrs. Lea Roy Carter, of the Middle Swamp Club in Gates County, does not have a nearby woman’s curb market but she did enter a contest sponsored by The Southern Planter on “How I Make Extra Spending Money” and she says:

“From the sales of extra vegetables from my garden and a little poultry, I have made extra money in the last two months selling butterbeans, green peas, corn, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, grapes, chickens, eggs and butter.

“I would gather the vegetables in the afternoon and shell the beans and peas at night. Next morning I took them to town and sold directly to housewives at their homes and the sales for two months amounted to $65.27.

“Since selling these vegetables I realize what I might have been doing all these past years, and I expect to improve my sales each year in the future. If others try this plan, I hope they enjoy making their spending money as much as I have.”

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Magazine Calls for End to Poll Tax, 1937

“The Right to Vote” editorial published in January 1937 issue of The Southern Planter

A Virginia farmer dropped by our office just before the November election and said, “My wife and I would like to vote this fall, but money has been scarce with us for the past few years and we didn’t pay our poll-tax. It would take $4.50 each—a total of $9—to square us up and that will buy us each a pair of shoes, which we both need badly. Even if we paid the tax now, we couldn’t vote anyway. To vote in fall, the poll-tax must be paid in spring.”

We can think of no more noble objective for which the women’s clubs, the Grange, the Virginia State Farm Bureau and other groups of rural people could work than to make it possible for a larger percentage of Virginia farmers and their wives to enjoy the right to vote. This is election year in the state and whether agriculture will have adequate representation in the General Assembly will depend upon the number of farmers who vote in the coming election.

The right to vote is the basis of citizenship. When the right to vote is denied a large percentage of the people of a state, the democratic principles upon which our form of government is founded are threatened. Boss rule through the use of the machinery of government for political purposes becomes rampant, and the interests of the masses are sacrificed for special interest.

The following table shows the percentage of the population voting in the last presidential election in the several states served by The Southern Planter.

Possible Voting Population, 1930 Census
Votes Cast
Percentage Voting
West Virginia
North Carolina

Virginia must devise some means to extend the franchise to a larger percentage of the population, if we hope to have a “government by the people.”

We believe that the $1.50 poll-tax required annually for all voters in Virginia must be paid for three years back--$4.50—and six months before the election is keeping a large number of our citizens away from the polls. The machine politicians will keep the poll-tax paid for those who will vote them back into power.

Monday, January 2, 2012

How Farm Women Made Extra Money in 1937

From the entries in The Southern Planter magazine’s “How I Make Extra Money” contest, as published in the January 1937 issue.

If it had not been for Home Demonstration Club work in our community, I would not have succeeded as I have. Besides being a pleasure, it has also been profitable.

Through a “Live At Home” program, our home agent urged a year-round garden and canning budget, giving demonstrations in our homes. One of my first thrills was to won $2 in a garden contest put on by a nitrate company.

Keeping a record was the hardest part, for every one enjoyed working in the garden and gathering the vegetables. We had more than we could use so we started a trade for canned goods, which we have kept up since. In this contest we were all thrilled to know we had won a $20 prize and all agreed to use it to finish our shrubbery program, which we have been proud of ever since.

Our home agent then put on as our major project: how to prepare different foods and bread making. At a council meeting, a demonstration was put on, making whole wheat rolls. I started making and selling on our curb market whole wheat rolls, until I had worked up a good trade. Then not being satisfied with baking one day and selling the next, I started baking on a larger scale, while my husband delivered them the same day.

My trade increased until I was baking 100 dozen a week, and delivering three times per week. Doing all this baking necessitated more than one oven, so I got an electric range, of which I am very proud.

My help has now all left home, and I am not able to do as much as in the past, but I hope my experience will be of help to others to know what club work has done for me.
--Mrs. P.C. Henry, Catwaba County, North Carolina

I believe my experience in making extra money this summer is unusual or unique. Over a year ago a drug warehouse was established in our county town of Lenoir. They buy all kinds of medicinal herbs and roots, and this summer began buying pollen, which is taken from various wild flowers and weeds which grow in our fields. This pollen is sent to laboratories and made into extracts to be injected into the arms or legs of those who are afflicted with hay-fever. Some people have this disease when rag-weed is in bloom, others when the goldenrod, etc. I gathered the pollen from ragweed, goldenrod, cocklebur, and blue daisy, and in all made $25.22.

It is rather tedious work, but I think it is fascinating and shall try it again next summer.
--Mrs. N.P. Coppage, Caldwell County, North Carolina

I have a family of 8 children and a husband to care for. In spare time I have crocheted pocket books at a small profit. I sew some, but how I make most of my extra money is cutting hair for the neighboring children at 10 cents a head. I average 6 hair cuts every week. Before Christmas, I cut 20 heads one day besides doing my house work.
--Mrs. J.E. Gunter, Rockingham County, N.C.

Lacking the money to buy a new car last spring, I decided to try to paint the old one. I bought some enamel from the paint store. We received many compliments on our car, so I painted my neighbor’s car as well. With the money received, we were able to buy paint for the house and make some other needed improvements. I also plant and shell late lima beans. There is always good sale for the shelled beans at the stores and market. Late corn sells well, as roasting ears, also.
--Mrs. John Nightengale, James City County, Virginia

I have a friend who was undergoing a depression that wasn’t universally known. She had a bunch of husky kids that demanded more than their hard-working dad could give. No one could beat her pinching pennies. Still that didn’t suffice.

She had always made her yeast for bread by buying a cake as a starter and using white potatoes. She also found from experience that a ball of risen dough might save her spending 3 cents for a yeast cake each time she made bread.

She found out that yeast could be made from hops. So it dawns on her to try it out. This she did successfully. From that she began to make yeast cakes for everybody in the neighborhood. They sell for 3 cents each. All of us prefer her yeast cakes to the magic cakes in the stores. She is successful and is making good.
--Mrs. C.B. Davenport, Gloucester County, Va.