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Farm Labor

Farm Labor image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

A miscellaneous report of the departoient of agriculture furnishes interesting notes and tabulated data on investigations of wages at nine different times dnring a period of twenty-six years (1860 tü 1882) on the supply of labor in the different states uid locafities and on wages in eaiiier years. Beginning when labor was in demaiid to repair the wastes of war, the average rates were high, gradually declining, finding lowest level in 1879, then rising to a normal status, which has been niaiiitained with wonderful uniformity during the last ten years. While farmers have suffiered from low prices of certain producís they have been unable to reduce the rate of wages. It might be supposed that the depression in agriculture, of which so much has been said and written, would be attended with a decline in the rate of compensation paid (oí) labor. This has not taken place. The demand is well sustained and wages have not declined. Many a farmer complains that labor costs too much; that values of producís do not warrant the rates deinanded, and yet he must have it, and proruptly makes the engagement. The returns give a true explanationof the appárerit anomaly of low prices and high wages. There is a difference in employers. Some are progressive, increase I the fertility of their lands, use the best methods and implements, employ labor, pay good wages and make money. Others ave less enterprising, diligent orprogressive, and make small profit or none at all. The returns are full of indications that the present is a crucial test of the individual farmers. They teach the necessity of progress in agriculture, and especially a facility for prompt adaptation of cijrrent effort to changing conditions. It is said that a certain analysis of all the data collected concerning farm wages from 1840 to 1865, in comparison with results of the more recent investigations, wili show that in fifty years the compensation of farm labor has very nearly doubled. In comparison with other conntries American farm labor stands first in the rate of compensation. The present rate of $282 per annum for labor of the Caucasian race can scarcely be approached by any country, unless by Australia. Current estimates for other countries have been frequently quoted about as follows: Great Britain, $150; France, $125; Holland, $100; Germany, $90; Eussia; $60; Italy, $30, and India, $30. The present rate can only be maintained by keeping up the fertility of the soil, utilizing the best results of invention and skill in implemeuts and machinery, advancing the status of practical agricultare, supplying all domestic demands for all required products and seeking foreign markets for the surplus.


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News