Full text of Agricultural News Letter : Volume II, Number 7
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AGRICULTURAL N E W S LETTER THE FEDERAL Vol. II BETTER RESERVE BANK OF DALLAS Number 7 Dallas, Texas, July 15, 1947 BUILDINGS NEEDED The need for increased construction, both residential and nonresidential, in urban com munities has been given so much publicity since the end of the war that it is not gen erally realized that rural communities also arc poorly supplied with homes and other necessary farm buildings. There is a shortage of adequate housing on the farms. Estimates indicate that only a third of the houses farm ers lived in at the time of the 1940 census are in fair to good shape today. Another third need extensive repair and renovation. The final third are so far gone that repairing them would cost more than they are worth. There is also need for repair and construc tion of barns, sheds, poultry houses, and many other buildings, due partly to the lack of repair of such buildings during the war period and partly to recent changes in the pattern of agriculture which have increased the number of these buildings needed. Although the urgent need for improved rural dwellings was relieved somewhat by the migration of about five million people from farms during the war years, rural housing facilities are still far from adequate. Con struction and renovation of farm houses since 1940 have not been sufficient to increase or even maintain the number of habitable dwell ings, and the return of many farm families since the end of the war has increased the demand for more and better houses. An adequate supply of comfortable, at tractive farm dwellings would aid in stabil izing the farm population and in increasing the efficiency of the farms. This fact was emphasized in a recent address by Mr. R. L. Thornton, Dallas banker, before the Dallas Agricultural Club. Mr. Thornton pointed out FOR BETTER FARMS that houses on farms are in very poor con dition, as compared with the average city or town dwelling, and that the unpainted farm houses with cracked walls, leaky roofs, and without the modern conveniences of light and water and sanitary installations, offer little inducement to young people to stay on the farm. As a result, many of those who would make the best farmers desert the farms and leave the most poorly qualified to till the land. Poor housing also makes it difficult, if not impossible, for the farm owner to obtain desirable tenants or laborers, since the quality o f housing usually is closely related to the quality and efficiency of the tenant or farm worker. Therefore, in addition to the longrun benefit of encouraging more ambitious youths to remain on farms, better housing should be of immediate aid to many landowners in securing more satisfactory tenants. It has been frequently demonstrated, particu larly during the war period when the short age of farm labor was severe, that the land lord with good houses to offer has less diffi culty in securing the best tenants that are available. Such tenants farm the land more efficiently and thus secure a larger return for both themselves and the landlord. The trend toward greater diversification and mechanization in many areas, which was accelerated by the war, has created the need for a great number of new farm structures other than houses. The addition of livestock enterprises to numerous farms has made it necessary to provide buildings for them. The inclusion of feed crops in the expanded pro duction plans of many farms has created the need for barns, cribs, and granaries so that the feed may be stored without loss or waste. 2 AGRICULTURAL NEWS LETTER Tool sheds and storage barns also are needed to house the greatly increased numbr of farm machines. Installation of stationary equip ment, such as feed mills, power plants, milking machines, and cooling equipment, is also re quired to handle efficiently the increased and diversified production of modern farms. Mr. Thornton, in the address above men tioned, raised a significant question regarding the financing of farm construction. The Gov ernment dees much, he said, for the benefit of the farmer, but there is no governmental agency which assists farmers specifically in financing home construction in the manner that the Federal H ousing Administration helps the urban dweller who wishes to build a home. If there were, it could do much to alleviate the present serious shortage of ade quate farm dwellings. Referring to the gov ernm ent-guaranteed loans now offered through the F.H.A. for erection of homes in the cities, Mr. Thornton expressed the belief that "hundreds of millions of dollars in city banks would be invested in new, well equipped, modern farm residences if banks and other lending agencies were given a similar guaran tee.” Doubtless banks in rural communities would respond in like manner. Shortages and high costs of labor and ma terials have been serious obstacles to under taking extensive construction of all types of farm buildings. As these obstacles are over come, needs will remain for credit adapted to the requirements of builders of rural homes and other farm structures. The supplying of such needs will afford commercial banks and other private lending institutions an oppor tunity to invest idle funds safely even without government guarantees and, at the same time, to contribute to the betterment of living conditions on the farm. FARM MANAGEMENT Assets of Formers Show Wide Disparities According to a full and final report of a study of the financial conditions of American farmers made by the United States Depart ment of Agriculture, farmers’ equities in farm real estate and other farm assets, both physical and financial, on January 1, 1946, amounted to $93,185 million, or 92 per cent of the total value of all their assets.* This compares with equities of $43,682 million in 1940, or 81 per cent of total assets. The value of all physical assets of farmers at the begin ning of 1946 was $81,472 million, or nine per cent above that of 1945. The increase has been due largely to a rising price level, however. The liquid assets of persons living on farms increased during 1945 to $20,050 million. Deposits and currency amounted to nearly $14 billion and United States Savings Bonds to more than $5 billion, each showing a gain of approximately 25 per cent during the year. Farm debts were reduced by $668 million during 1945, with the aggregate m ort gage indebtedness on real estate falling to $5,081 million, or nearly four per cent for the year. Such statements based on the composite or average, however, do not reveal the wide disparity of financial conditions among farm ers, and the Department warns against an unduly favorable interpretation of these data. It points out that liquid assets were con centrated in the hands of a comparatively small segment of the farm population. About 10 per cent of the farm operators held 70 per cent of the farmer-owned demand de posits and about 75 per cent of the United States Savings Bonds, while about half of them had neither deposits nor bonds to their credit. It calls attention also to the probabil ity that farmers who have heavy debts have low cash reserves and that those who have high cash reserves have small debts. President Proclaims July 20-26 a s Farm Safety Week The President has named the week begin ning July 20 as National Farm Safety Week and has urged farm people to observe the week by giving serious consideration to meth ods of preventing accidents. Proving the need for greater safety on the farm are certain rather startling facts. Every day more than 50 farm inhabitants in the United States die as a result of accidents; every minute some farmer is disabled by an accident; each year * United States Department of Agriculture, Miscellaneous Publication No. 620. AGRICULTURAL NEWS LETTER there is an accidental death in one out of every 3 50 farm families. On the basis of a survey made in January 1947 by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics regarding losses resulting from farm accidents, it is estimated that the 210,000 accidental injuries suffered by persons on farms during the last three months of 1946 cost a total of $8,750,000 for medical, dental, and hospital services and accounted for a loss of 4,500,000 man-days from usual activities. FARM PRICES Price Support Programs The United States Department of Agri culture has announced that prices of oats, wheat, and grain sorghums will be supported by government loans and purchases during 1947. Oats grading No. 3 or better will be supported at 63 cents per bushel. The loan and purchase rates for the 1947 wheat crop will vary with location, grade, and quality. For No. 1 wheat the terminal market rate will be $2.11 per bushel at Galveston, Hous ton, and New Orleans. The loan and pur chase rates for grain sorghums will vary also, with $2.58 per 100 pounds as the rate an nounced for No. 2 grade or better at these three markets. Loans on oats and wheat will be available until December 31, 1947, and on grain sor ghums until February 28, 1948. All loans will mature on April 30, 1948, or earlier on demand. ______ President's Conference on Land Values The dangers inherent in the present high level to which farm land values have risen, and the degree of responsibility for this situa tion shared by both public and private credit agencies through their lending policies, have become quite generally recognized. For the purpose of reviewing the current inflationary trends in land values, Secretary of Agriculture Anderson, at the request of the President, recently called a national conference of rep resentatives of farm lenders, farm organiza tions, and government agencies. This group, meeting in Washington June 9, adopted the following resolution: 3 Recognizing the unusual character of the farm income and the farm land price situation at the present time, it is agreed that the Department of Agriculture, the State Colleges, farm organizations, lend ing agencies, and their associations should discourage borrowing to speculate in farm land or borrowing to buy land at prices which are not justified by long term income prospects. Lending agencies represented at the meeting agreed that loans on farm land should be based on an appraisal of the normal earning capacity of the farm over a long period of years. Further it is urged that educational efforts call particular attention to the more rapid rise which has occurred in the prices of farm lands of low produc tivity and land which is hazardous for crop and grazing uses. Also emphasis should be placed upon the favorable weather in recent years which cannot be expected to continue indefinitely. TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS Crossbred Dairy Cows Produce More Milk Crossbred dairy cows produce more milk and butterfat than their purebred mothers. That is the conclusion to be drawn, at least tentatively, from results of experiments with cross-breeding conducted by the Bureau of Dairy Industry at its Beltsville, Maryland, Experiment Station. Milk production data for a year indicate that 42 dairy cows of twobreed crosses produced an average of 12,970 pounds of milk, compared with an average of 10,636 pounds for their purebred mothers. Likewise, the two-breed crosses produced an average of 588 pounds of butterfat, compared with an average of 460 pounds for the purebreds. O f the 42 two-breed crosses in the ex periment, 33 produced more milk than their purebred mothers, and 3 8 produced more but terfat. A further increase in average production per cow was obtained in the second genera tion of crossbred cows. Fourteen daughters of two-breed cows and purebred bulls of a third 4 AGRICULTURAL NEWS LETTER breed produced during a year an average of 14,376 pounds of milk and 644 pounds of but ter fat, compared with 12,874 pounds of milk and 598 pounds of butterfat for their twobreed mothers. Eleven of the fourteen threebreed cows produced more milk than their two-breed mothers, and twelve of them pro duced more butterfat. versity in Baton Rouge, August 12, 13, and 14. During that time the National Cotton Council plans to hold a state-wide meeting; the Louisiana Poultry Improvement Associa tion will conduct its annual training school for flock testers; garden clubs will meet; and there will be a marketing clinic and other activities of interest to farmers. Recent Publications Tests conducted by the Department of A g Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station, Oklahoma A gricultu ral and M echanical riculture indicate that an iceless refrigerator College, Stillwater: car can maintain temperatures of approxi The Oklahoma Small Grain Testing Pro mately 0° F. under conditions of summer gram, Bulletin B-308, by Roy M. Oswalt and heat. It is claimed that this car can be used A. M. Schlehuber. for transporting frozen foods and maintain ing them in prime quality. A ten-day test Conservation and Land Use Investigations, with frozen tangerines demonstrated the abil Bulletin B-309, by Harley A. Daniel and ity of the car to keep frozen foods in good others. condition. Such a car, when available for gen Brush and Tree Removing Machinery, Bul eral use, should be of immense help in trans letin B-310, by Maurice B. Cox. porting to eastern and northern markets the Methods Used in Planting Bermuda Grass large crops of fresh fruits and vegetables pro Roots at Coalgate Pasture Fertility Station, duced in the Southwest. Miscellaneous Publication No. 10, by Horace The car in which the tests were conducted J. Harper. is equipped with a split-absorption system of Progress R eports; Feeding Tests w ith refrigeration. Cooling is achieved by the pas Sheep, Swine, and Beef Cattle, 1946-47, Mis sage of anhydrous ammonia through cooling cellaneous Publication No. MP-11, by O. B. coils located in the ceiling of the car. There Ross and others. are no moving parts in the cooling system. Will It Grow in Oklahoma? A Summary of Tests and Observations on the Oklahoma ANNOUNCEMENTS Adaptation of New and Unusual Crops, Bul Meetings letin B-307, by L. L. Ligon. The Fourth Annual Texas Peach and Fruit Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College, Col Show will be held at Stephenville, August 1 lege Station: and 2. Information concerning awards for entries in competitive exhibits may be secured Cotton Varieties in the Loiver Rio Grande from the county agricultural agent at Ste Valley, 1946, Progress Report 1079, by W. H. phenville. Friend. Wintering Steer Calves at the Amarillo Soil The Tenth Annual New Mexico Ram Sale will be held in the sheep barn at the State Conservation Station, Progress Report 1082, Fair grounds in Albuquerque, August 12 and by C. J. Whitfield and others. 13. The sale is primarily a grower’s sale, con Mineral Supplements in Sorghum Rations, ducted for the improvement of the sheep and Progress Report 1083, by J. M. Jones and wool industry of the State. Rambouillet, De- others. bouillet, Corriedale, Panama, Hampshire, and Fattening Steers in the El Paso Valley, Prog Suffolk rams will be offered for sale. ress Report 1084, by R. G. White and others. Copies of these bulletins may be secured The first postwar Farm and Home Week in Louisiana will be held at the State Uni by request to their respective publishers. Iceless Refrigerator Car Developed