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Interesting Facts

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Parent Issue
Day
7
Month
January
Year
1891
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

From a report signed by the executive eoinmittee of the Michigan State Grange, of which Judge J. O. Bamsdell, of Mauistee, is chairman, we take the following extracta hearing apon the present situation and its causes. These we cornmend to our readers, and hope they will peruse them thoughtfully : AGRICULTDRAX DBPBES8I0N. The causes which have led to the depressed conditimi of agricultura which has prevailed not only in this country, but all over the civilized world, and in Great Britain and Germaiiy to a greater exteut than here, have not been lully understood by the people, and it is to this misapprehension thsi we attribute the wild Bchemes proposêd tor the relief of the farmer, and the discontent which political demagogues have fanned into a fiame of indignation against all other callings and professions. While the acts of demonetizing silver in Germany, Scandinavia and the United States and the cessation of silver coiuage in France was one of the causes of such depresBion, it was not the solé cause. Those acts bore equally hard apon all productivo industry. But a far" more potent cause for such depression in the agricultura] industries of the world, comes from the rapid expansión of the cultivated area in all agricultural countries, which has taken place in the last twenty years. The rapid and cheap transportation which briaga the production of this increased area of cultivation to the centers of demand, and the stationary condition, and in some respects decrease in demand at those centers, occasioned by an increased home supply in soine of the countries which have heretofore been more largely dependent upon importations of farm producto, has been the most potent factor in producing the decline in value of farms and farm products. EXPANSIÓN IN AMERICA. During the last twenty years the extensión of railroads throughout the vast plains of the west, and the greal improvements in farm implements and machinen-, aided by the free land system of the government, have develóped and made productive a vast extent of the riehest lands of the country. Over two hundred million husliels of wheat are annually grown, and a proportionate increase in the productiou annually of oats and corn wnere twenty years ago the Indian reigned supreine. The same extensión of railroads has opened a larger región to grazing, where millions of eattle and sheep are now fed, where the buffalo and antelope roved before. This expansión in the cultivated área lias been so great that {rom ninety million acres under cultivation at the close of the war, over two hundred and twelve million flve hundred thousand acres are under cultivation now, and the average yield per acre of farm produce as a whoíe bas been largelv increased. OTIIER COfXTKIES. In other countries the extensión of the cultivated áreas has advanced froin the same cause (cheap transportion) not so last in any one country but in the aggregate to a greater extent. Russia, ludia, Australia, South África, South Anierica and Xew Zeeland have feit the stimulus of cheap transportaron, and have rapidly extended their cultivated area. Modern improvements in railroad building and their equipment, have so cheapened inland transportación that interiors are able to compete with seaboard countries, and the application ol the compound steam engine to marine navigation, the introduction of refrigerator compartmente in steam and rail transportation, and the shortening of routes by the Suez canal, have brought tlie whole agricultura! world to the vory doors of the center of deniand as competitors for its supply. The center of demand is now confined to Great Britain, France, and the smaller states of Western Europe. And, aecording to C. Wood Da vis, the equivalent of 300,000,000 bushels of wheat and a proportionate amount oí other producís for the table are sufficient to supply the import demand of all these countnes. Farm produetions, even in these eountries, England exceptad, have largely increased; according to Prince Protopkin, of Paris, the ratio of increase of the animal wheat erop of France has been two and one-half jer cent. greater than the ratio of increase in population. While the population has increased but five millions iu fortv-five years, the annual production of wheat has increased 117,400,000 bushels. Here, then, we find ampie cause for the world-wide depressioo in agriculture, as compared with other fields of production. While the import demaud of western Europe for agricultural producís was whollv supplied by easteru Europe, Egypt and Xorth America, the proñts of capital and labor invested in and applied to agriculture were fairly proportionate to the profits of capital and labor employed in other branches of production. But now with forty-four different nations competing forthat market.with aeupply so greatly disproportionated to the demand, no other result than a decline in prices all around could or should be expected. THE OUTLOOK. It rnay be asked, how long is this condition of things to continue. For foreign countries which depend upon Europe for a market we see no ate relief. Expansión in the culüvated área of Russia, India, África, Australia, New Zealand and South America niay continue indefinitely. The unoccupied area of arable lands in those countries is for the present inexhaustible. For the farmers of the United States, however, the outlook is more cheerful. ïlie rapid expansión of cultivation hasceased for want of territory to occupy - hereafter the population of the country will increase niucli faster in proportion than tlie iields of agriculture. Our grain üelds and grazing grounds have been pushed to the utmost western limit of profltable production, and hereafter any increase in production must result from better inethods of cultivation ; 'M per cent. of the aggregate of agricultural productions in the United States, cotton excepted, finds a market for its consumption at home, and the urban population as shown by the late census is rapidly increasing, while the rural population remains nearly stationery ; at the same ratio of increase in urban over rural population, the home demaud will absorb all our productions, cotton cepted, within lesa than flve years.when ivt' shall no longer be compelled to cuínpete with the cheap lands and cheap labor of other covmtnee East and South for a market in Western Europe. It is hoped that the policy Lately adopted by Dongress will build up new manufacturing industries and emarge and extend the oíd, and thereby increase the home demana and basten the dayol ouremancipation íroin European dependence.

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Subjects
Old News
Ann Arbor Courier