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Profitable Farming

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Parent Issue
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OCR Text

Th ere appears to be mu oh confusión of ideas with regard to what is usually ealled profitab'.eagrieulture. ín many instancias - and, in fact, we might say as a general rule- the prevalent idoa ainong farmers is that he who obtaiús most frórri bis lana with the least outlay in money or labor seeures (lie largii.-if, prolit on the investment. Carrjing this idea into practice haaruined millions of acres of farming lands, and left them little better than a worthless waste. 'J'o wear out soil as rapidly as gossible by constant cropping, returning nothing to restore or keep up its fertility may appear for a while to be profil able farming; bul it is far otherwise, as many have loavned through bitter experien(!e. The impoverished farmrf of tfte older States, and the' rapidly increaaing number in the new, wiih the constant falling oll'inthe yield of grain and other crops on land not long ainee declarad to be simply ínexhaustible, show that to expeet large returns at the expenso of the capital n vestod in farming is a ruinouspoliey. íf a man can obtain forty bnsnels of wheat per acre, or seventy-nve of corn, and leave the land no worse for ing produced the erop, then he caa easily figure up his protits by counting the cobt of raising the erop, adding interest on the value of the land. But when he has impaired the intrinsic value of the land by dirninishing its capabilities ior producing a succeeding erop, this should also be charged to the capital account, and deducted from the protits. This charging loss of fertility to erop accounts would, no doubt, be considered by many farmers a rather iniusiial proceeding; but that ït ia perfeetly legitímate and necessary, in ordtr to arrive at anything li'xe an acourafe basis for calculating prolit and loss, must be apparent to every one who will give it a moment' s thought. We frp'i'iently hear farmers resrretting the loas of fertility in their lands, and they will teil us that twenty, thirty, or more years ago, when their land vas new, they thought nothing of getling thirty or forty bushels of wheat per acre, at a cost not exceeding the value of ten; "and then," say they, "there was money to be made in farming." It may be true that a littlo money was made, but the Capital upon whioh they were obtaining an excessive interest was rapidly being impaired, as the resul ts in loss of fertility plainly show. Had they pursued a different course, and kept the land rich by raising more oattle, feeding the hay to their own stock instead of ser.ding it to market, or practiced a rotation of crops, plowing one under occasioually for manure, the result would have been far different, and farming on these old lands would have proved even more prontable than when they were new. We have, however, a goodlv number of furmers who do not count "all, taken from their land as profit, but aim to keep their original capitij invested in the huid good, and the crops raised as interest, less the cost of production. Farms of this kind are seldom for sale for less than the cost of improvements, for they are still proiitable in hands that know how to use them. To point out and explain how a certain class of farmers always manage to come out ahead, whother pricesof farm products rule high or low, would require a repetition of the historyof scientilicorgood farming in all ita details; but the foundation of proiitable farming is, as it ahvays has been, a fertile soil judioiously managed. Wo frequently hear of good old farms, near good markets, being sold for less than the original improvements on theiu oost the owner; and while it may seem hard that land should be given away to any one who will pay the value of the buildings, they no doubt fetch all they are worth. The large old barns on sorne of these farms cost a good sum, iind there was, no doubt, a time when they were woll fllled with grain and hay cut from the surrounding fields; but a man would now have to sorape long and close to get weeds or straw enough from the same land to make a show in these capaoious receptaoles of farm produots, and they aro oonsequently of little value in their present location. That these old worn lands will again be made productivo thejre is not a shadow of a doubt, but it will cost all they are worth; and it can only be done by men of means and intelligenoe, who are willing to invest their capital in farm ing in the same way that they would in any othor legitímate business, expecting to realize a reasonable prqüt upon the amount invested. If every acre should cost lifty dollars to make it fertile, they will look for a reasonable return upon the amount, and upon all other outlays. The days for speculating in farui3 and farm lands are probably past, except in some of the newer States and Territories, where land is worth a mere nominal price, and its future value is dependent upon local intluences, of which little or nothing can be known in advance of tbeir actual


Old News
Ann Arbor Argus