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More Opinions On Farming

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Ccmtinrmg his talks with Washtenaw county farmers, Britton, of the Detroit News, iuterviewed E. Nordinan, and other prominent citizens inolusive of some of the supervisors. "Weread in the newspapers, " said Mr. Nordmau, of a revival in business. It may be that there is a boom in manufacturing and other circles. ii there is any boom or revival of prosperity in farrning, it hasu't got down Lima way yet. Maybe it's missed us. In fact, the only booin we have had down there in the last 10 years bas been a tapering boom. "The cause of the depression f rom which we are the sufferers is ascribed to overproduction. My investigatioa leads me to believe that that is not the trne cause. The foundation of our troubles is in the legislation of the country in the interest of the corporations. . In a thousaud different ways it is made easy for them, who are independent of drouths and frosts, to make money. In a'thousand different ways it is made hard for us to ruake any. We are ready for a change. How it is going to be brought about, I cannot teil. That is a difficult problem, and men at voting time think more of party than principie. Wheat is ten cents higher than last year, but farmers haven 't much of it to seil. Sheep and wool are lower and wheat and shesp have been the main dependence of this county in the past. "When a man has had the toothache for a long time, he kind of gets used to it, and still the time will come when he gets ready forheroic masures. I believe the farmers are getting ready to do osmethin'? for their long continued toothache. Not one per cent has been made on farm investmentsf or years past, and if everythmg had been hired done, most farmers' ledgers would have shown an adverse yearly balance. The silver question is an important one, but there is a bigger question than the silver question. That is the question as to corporations. " N. S. Carpenter is the owner of 148 acres of farm land which the drouthhas parohed this sumiuer, and lives in Pittsfleld township. "It has seemed to me,' he said, "that it has come toa point where the natural laws of supply and demand havo very little to do with iixing the price of farm producís. The natural operation of the law is iuterfered with by artifiial restrainta The corporatou and general capitalistic privileges have rauoh to do with this interference, frorn which the farmers have to suffer. The boards of trade also assist iu artiflcally fixing low prices. The dealers iu optious put thiugs up and put them down,_,without reference to supply aad demand, and it is geuerally a down effect whioh they have on the farmers. " Your Mayor Pingree is an old buil dog to fight, isn't he? Lots of interest seems to be shown in hiscourseout this way." The Washtenaw county board of supervisors, of which about a score are country members, wasfound in sessiou, and somewhat dazed over the size of state taxes. When Anu Arbor was reached in the progress of the testimony-collecting, Supervisor John L. Hunter, of Ypsilanti township, was one of those who was asked for his idea on the situation. "This," he said, "has certainly not been a good year for farmers in this looality, although it may have been iu Monroe county, where the land is lower and not so ruuch affected by the drouth. In f act, I don 't know of any oné in the last 10,years in which farming has paid arouud here. Farm lands, in which so many have their all, have become poor investments, and it is not surprising that farm owners have become discouraged. "It is the queerest streak of hard times of which there is a record. There seems to be no great visible surplus of farm produce ; in f act, we have on any date during the years of depression been within six months of a famine, should crops fail. Still prices have kept down. " "Have you any theory as to the reason?" "The great reason to be assigned for the low prices is the opening up of the western country by the government before it was ready. Hundreds of thousands of foreigners went out there, settled, became producers and entered into competition with the farmers of regions previously settled further east. I don't think the tariff has much to do with it. The depression has continued under both high aDd low tariffs. Farmers who are out of debt can plug along,but those who are in debt will have to gite up their farms." "Have you a remedy to prescribe?" "I see nothing that seems hopeful at this date. The mischief is done. The pr maturely settled western country, which entered the oompetition before the markets of the world needed its products, cannot be unsettled. ' ' The president of the board is Hiram Lighthall, of Sylvan township, who is not actively engaged in farming, but who deaJs with farmers most of the time, selling agricultural implements, as well as running a sawmill. He thought from his extensivo observation that it had been a fairly good year for farmers, except that they had mach to complain of iu the drouth. Farmers hadn't had mucb use for their hayforks in harvesting the grass erop, but the yiled of other crops had been large. "Would you want to put your money into farm property yourself?" Mr. Lighthall was asked. "I don't know," he said, " as I would want to put very much. Still, if I had money to invest I wouldn't know what else to put it into, especially in our locality." Walter H. Dancer, a welldressed member of ihe board, whose use of language showed more than the average educational training, ia the supervisor of Lima township. "There isn't any doubt that farmers are beooming thoroughly disgnsted with fanniiig, " he said. "I've qnit myself. I've let my farin to the boys and ain going to see if they can support two families whon I oould hardly support one. The best I've doue dnring the past fonr years has been to send niy sou to college, and it took hustling to do that and look after other things. "In the first place there is soarcely anything we raise that does more th;m pay the cost of raising. With almost no profit to pay interest on the investment, taxes are all the time increasing. "In the secontl place, the government has entered into competiiton with us by practically giviüg away land in the west. This competition, too, is not by our own people, bnt by f oreigners. Why, there are wliole counties out west in which the English language is scarcely heard. The people already oat there cannot be removed, but the process, so ruinous to us, should be stopped. This is something which should receive the serious consideration of every Michigan congressman. The government should charge not less than $500 for every 80 acres of land still left it, and there are large areas out there still in the public dornain. "There is something wrong with the state tax and it should he looked into. Washtenaw's state tax last year was $46,000. This year it is $83,000." Supervisor George Walter, of Bridge water: "I havo 100 acres of land and did not get interest this year ou what it cost. This is worse than the average year, and it has been bad enouirh, as everybody knows.for some years back." Supervisor Thomas McQuillan, of Dexter, advanced a new theory as to the cause of the depressiou. He said it was becanse the cloverseed doesn't "catoh" as it used to. This, he declarerl, is one of the farmer's most important crups, both because of the hay it produces and because of its fertilizing qualities. Now the clover seed doesn't grov and a great loss is entailed on the farmer. The farmer was accordingly much more dependent on rainfall than the tariff or governmental policies. William Bnrtless. supervisor of Manchester - It's no good to (jomplaiD, but it's awfully hard. The wheat and hay crops are this year light, bnfc there is the best erop of corn in years. Suporvisor Michael P. Alber, of Freedom - It is a hard and discouraging business to foilow these times. Ten years ago it was a good paying business. There is very little wheat this year, and we gefc very little for what we do have. Farmers are disheartened, but we've got to stick to it. Perhaps there is no member of tlie board whose judgment is moie respected than that of Morton F. Case, of Pittsfleld, a careful official in the county board and a prudent farmer. "This season," he remarked in the; course of a long conversation, "is the worjtwehave ever experienced. The drouth bas been particularly disastrons. Farming has returued only meagre j fits in the last 10 years. In that time farm property in Pittsfleld township has depreciated more tban one-third in valne. That in itself is a great loss, and farmers' wages for their work have, in additon, only aflorded them a bare living. "


Ann Arbor Argus
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