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Progressive Farming

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The question of paramount interest among the farmers of the country to-day is, not so much how to grow good crops of grain or how to breed and raise good cattle, sheep, horses, swine, etc., as to devise some means by which they may receive a fair equivalent for them in the markets of the country in the form of money. Various theories and ideas on this subject are being promulgated by numerous doctors on political economy, which are as greatly at variance with each other as newborn theories ore apt to be. The successful physician before prescribing for his patiënt will carefully diagnose the case, and after having satisfied himself what is the matter, will prescribe proper and suitable remedies. A large number of patients who come under doctors' care are there from fancied ills and disorders. The skilled physician will soon discover the real from the fancied illness of his numerous patients and prescribe accordingly. In a similar manner should the doctors on political economy proceed in discovering the real from the fancied troubles in this AGRICULTURAL DEPRESSION and great care should be observed in ail directions lest the remedies be vorse than the disease. ' In undertakingto evolve any ' )ry which will accomplish what is ( lesired in the way of better prices ' ind a greater demand for farm '■ naodities, there are many things to ' be considered. First, have we, as : farmers, carefully considered and : formed any satisfactory opinión as to the kinds and qualities of : cultural producís needed in the markets of the world? Are we cognizant of the fact that agriculture is undergoing a revolution in nearly all of its departments; that the rapid settlement of the vast tracts of fertile, cheap lands of the west has transferred a large amount of thegrowing of grains and stock to those localities, and that the more eastern portions of tha country no longer have a monopoly on these productions? Such are the facts, and the farmers of Michigan and other central states mustunderstand them andbeguided by the logic of passing events. We must take things as they are, not as we might wish they were. We must raise what is most demanded and brings the best prices provided our farms are adapted to their cultivation. The cost of production must be less per pound or bushei by the greater yield per head or acre if the price is lower. These are some of the matters that the intelligent farmer must investigate and in which he is vitally concerned. With all the details in the production of grains, wool, stoek, etc.,understood, the fact still remains that farm produce is low, and what shall be done to enhance prices to a paying basis is the question of the hour. Among the numerous reasons given for this state of affairs and upon which much stress is laid is the lack of sufficient circulating medium. To this real or supposed deficiency in money is attributed largely the cause of low prices for farm produce by a large number of people, and as a remedy they DEMAND AN INFLATION in the curreney in the form of greenbacks, silver certificates, free coinage of silver, or in other forms of government notes, even to the amount of fiity dollars per capita for every man, woman and child in the country. Good business judgment would halt, before adopting so ionary a scheme, at least long enough to calcúlate the indebtedness it would entail upon the government. In individual transactions the creditor wishes to know whether the debtor or maker of a note has the ability to pay at the time the noteor obligation matures before he will advance money on them. I havenoted that government securities in the money markets of the world are largely influenced as to value according to the flnancial condition of the government offering them for sale. The greater the outstanding amount of indebtedness against an individual the less his promises to pay are worth. So it must be with any government that adopts such a scheme as the one under consideration. I am not entirely satisfied that there is so great a lackof circulating medium in the country as some people claim. There are times when some avaricious speculator or a number of therci wish to make a corner on the grain markets and buy largely and hold the product bought that money may be scarce, but that is the abuse of a privilege and not in the honest, legitímate way of doing business. I hardly think there is a farmer in this audience that has any trouble in getting all the money for his products that they would bring. I have never seen the time when I had produce to sell that was wanted but there was money enough to pay for it at its market value, which is and always must be largely controlled by the laws of suppiyand demand. If the experience of other farmer has been like mine, and what has been said be true, we must seek some other cause for the existing depression and suggest different emedies. It costs a certain amount n labor, land and material to proiuce a bushei of wheat, and it is juite important that the farmer should receive for it when taken to market what it is worth for manuEacturing purposes at the place of manufacture, a fair commission to the party buying and handling and freightage deducted. He should not be confronted with the fact that down in Detroit or elsewhere there is a combination of men who make laws governing THE INSPECTION OF WHEAT to suit their speculative purposes without regard to the good of the producer. But such is the fact, and by the methods pursued the farmer who is careful to offer no wheat in the market except it be in first-class condition as to quality and cleanliness, does not receive what his wheat is worth, while the farmer who is careful in regard to the quality of his grain receives aprice comparitively greater, a premium upon poorer methods in farming and inferior quality of grain, and thus poor and good wheat is mixed togetherwith other wheat of doubtful quality and a grade made and price established in conformity to the desires of the gentlemen who control the inspection, and the farmer who furnishes the different parts in this mixture is left entirely in the dark as to the real valué of his part of the contribution. The difference that the farmer received for his good wheat from what he should have received had it been properly classed went to line the pockets of the men who live largely upon what rightf ully belonged to the producer. This part of agricultural depression can be remedied by proper legislation in the form of state inspection, and every farmer in Michigan should demand of the member of the legislature from his district that he shall be instrumental in passing such a law that shall place this matter of inspection of wheat and other grains under some form of adequate state inspection. In connection with this matter of inspection, which I believe is injuri1 ous to the interests of the farmer, is ; what is styled the DETROIT BOARD OF TRADE. ! It is an institution either legal or ilt legal, which controls the price of (Concluded on Fourth Page.) PROGRESSIVE FARMING. (Continued from Flrat Pase.) wheat after it has passed through the inspection process by a sympathetic organization, if not a part and parcel of the same concern. By its manipulation and operations, the grains raised by the farmers of the state are sold and resold times without number, without any actual livery of thegrains sold. The farmer no longerendeavors to find out what his wheat is worth for actual manufacture and consumption, but takes what he can get when he is compelled to sell, and the price is entirely controlled by the stock jobbers and gamblers who control and manage this concern of doubtful utility and legality. The Louisiana lottery business has at last been largely curtailed by government interposition, and I fail to see but little difference in many of its features, as both are really games of hazard, and injurious to the good business interests of the country. This and similar Boards of Trade are composed of a large number of men who live sumptuously, sustain expensive buildings and expensive equipments, and pay high salaries to employees, live and thrive out of the profits, a large part of which belong to the producers of the grains thus gambled over. This also is i matter that the farmers of the state should investígate, and if found as stated above, the assistance of the state should be invoked and asked to control by law or else to eradicate the unmitigated evil. Such efforts would be more practical and more in line of safe procedure than the scheme of inflating a currency, which would enable these organizations to still further oppress the producer. These two monopolies are not needed for the good of communities of business legitimately performed, and if suff ered to exist they should be placed under legal restraint and control. If so placed, and their power to do harm be greatly lessened, quite a large margin of profits wrongfully wrestec from the producer by these concerns would revert to the parties to whom it rightfully belongs. Another syndicate, or trust, commonly known as the "Big Four," by its extended power and avaricious greed, as shown by its operations, has had much influence in materially inj uring one of the greatest departments in diversified agriculture, namely, the production of BEEF CATTLE. It controls and establishes the price of the steer when brought to market to be sold on foot, and the price of a pound of steak or roast to the consumer. lts power is unlimited for evil from the vast amount of concentrated capital under its control. It has jeopardizedthewhole business of cattle-raising over the entire country, and it is still managing to acquire greater power. Like the devil-fish, it is fastening its tentacles upon all departments of industry. Unless checked in its rapacious career, it will be only a question of time as to the practical abandonment of the business by the farmers in the middle and eastern states. It not only makes the price of a pound of beef on foot, but also to the consumer, and it in a large degree controls transportation rates to its advantage when compared with less pretentious shippers. It is also a fact that for months ahead it has an entire control of the carrying capacity of ocean steamers engaged in the cattle and beef trade to Europe. Thus it is that this octopus is preying upon and destroying one of the most valuable industries of this country, making it subservient to its power for greed. This is a matter for national legislation, and every farmer is or should be interested in placing it under national control. In so doing another hindrance to agricultural prosperity would be removed. The farmers' organizations throughout the country should look into these matters, and by their power could do very much toward regulating these hindrances tosuccessful agricultural operations. There would be no doubtful experiments in this course, for it is a fact that the producer and consumer alike were better off before the creation of these organizations than they are under their control and supervisión. Various schemes are on foot all over the country to aid in the general depression in agriculture. Among them, besides the inflation scheme proper, is the one demanded by political economy doctors as feasible and full of promise. It is the one known as THE TWO PER CENT LOAN SCHEME introduced into the United States senate by Senator Leiand Stanford, of California, which is that the government of the United States loan money to farmers upon real estáte, payable at the option of the borrowers any time before the expiration of twenty years from the . time of the loan, at an interest annually of two per cent. Aside from the grave doubts as to the policy ol the government becoming a loan association, there are several peculiarities connected with this scheme which need attending to. One is, that the demand comes from a class of farmers who individually and collectively have condemned what is known as CLASS LEGISLATION. During the past few years, there has been a strong feeling forming in the minds of farmers generally that too much legislation has been in the interests of moneyed monopoly. It has been severely condemned by honest people and political demagogues alike. Many of the same men individually and in an organized capacity are now asking for special class legislation for the benefit of a class. Another is, that its champion should be one of the wealthiest millionaires in the country. When was ever a plan so ridiculous? The champion of the so-called oppressed being one of the very men whom they claim has been largely instrumental in bringing about the state of affairs now existing, and which has largely augmented his accumulations; president of one of the great railroads of the country; a large beneficiary of the government in the form of millions of acres of valuable public domain in the form of agricultural lánds. He! the champion of a measure to help out of difficulty the men whom he by his vast monetary power has placed in this unfortunate condition. Was ever a thing more absurd? The scheme is not a tenaDle one, for a large number who would avail themselves of its benefits, if any there might be, would be deprived of any help on account of not owning a sufficient amount of real estáte or farming lands to enable them to become debtors to the government. It would be class legislation with a vengeance. Without stopping to discuss what might or might not ensue, if such a scheme should be enacted into a law, I am happy to say that for the present at least it will not become a law. The committeeonfinancein the senate reported adversely the bill for said purpose. Embodied in the report is the following language: "The bill appears to be intended to supply a paper legal tender currency by permitting any owners of land to give a lien upon the same for twenty years to the United States government, for which the mortgagees are to receive legal tender paper currency and be charged two per cent interest. The measure is of unlimited magnitude." The report contends that land owners for the larger part (the only class to bebenefitted)are too prudent to cover their homesteadswith mortgages and even the young men starting in life borrowing capital, do not intend to remain twenty years in debt. But the low rate of interest offered to land owners might inspire improvident habits and extravagnt speculations in a mass of people not f ree f rom such temptations. The report says that the bill indorses the principies put forth more than a century ago by the notorious John Law. Experience has shown that whenever such reckless experiments intended to secure cheap money have been tried they have ended in commercial crisis, bankruptcy and national disaster. There is no question in my mind but that the UNEQUAL TAXATION on the different forms of property in this state adds largely to the burdens of the farmer. In too many instances his lands are mortgaged. Upon this indebtenness he pays ar agreed interest. He Qwns in fet simple only so much of his land as would be left after deducting the amount of the mortgage. He pays the tax, however, upon not only the land he owns but also upon the incumbrance. Some plan should be devised by which this inequality in taxes should cease. All property o: whatever nature should pay its just share towards defraying the expenses of the state and municipal governments. OUTSIDE OF ALL LÈGISLATIVE MATTERS and dependences upon governments for aid, the farmer, as a business man and an intelligent agriculturalist has a duty to perform, and if well performed he will do much to relieve himself and the communities of much of the fancied or real depression existing. The farmer is no worse off than the mechanic, the merchant or the common laborer. The commercial world is stirred to its very centre. Failures of immense magnitude are of daily occurrence all over the globe. There are fewer failures among farmers than among any other business portion of the country. With these facts before us, there should be no need of despair. Farming, if it be made successful in the future, must be conducted upon the same business principies that make success in any other business enterprise. First, a competent knowledge of the business engaged in. Second, a careful conduct of affairs every day in the year. The successful merchant has no winter, no summer, but a full business year. HE CANNOT SIT IDLY BY through the long winter months and see wasted by neglect and indifference what he had gathered in the summer. The successful manufacturer of ores never sees the fires of his furnace go down. It is one continued fíame. The forces are in operation every day in the year. No wastes are allowed either in time or material. Everything is saved. The railroad enterprise that is successful must be kept running night and day ; through times of depression aswellasin times of prosperity ; through rain storm and sunshine alike. Everything in exact order and on time. The success oí the " Big Four " not only depends on the ill-gotten profits that belong to the cattle and swine producers, but also on strict business methods and a close attention to all the details of their enormous business. Nothing goes to waste ; the hair, the hoofs, the blood, the offal, and, in fact, everything not consumed directly as food goes to its appropriate place, and by means of thought and skill, aided by a practical knowledge of chemistry, is converted into some useful ingrediënt and becomes an article of commercial valué. No summer, no winter here, but one continued daily hum of business. There is no need of multiplying illustrations to show that in any business that is made successful, thought, skill and labor the year through are strictly necessary. What is true, and has been in all other branches of business in their past history, will be true in agricultural operations in the future. The SHARP COMPETITION in all other enterprises is already at the door of the farmer's business, and he is wise who gives heed to the fact and prepares himself to meet it successfully. Some well-devised, well-studied and carefully matured plan of proceedure should be made by every farmer, and faithfully and persistently followed throughout the whole year. The wastes attending the barn yard, the waste of good food in suffïcient quantities to poor scrub stock must cease. Less numbers, but more pounds and of better quality must be bred and fed. Better quarters, better care, more time and attention to the peculiar wants of different animáis fed must be given if a profit is made in rearing and feeding any kind of farm stock. Better wool and more to the carcass must be grown. Better judgement in breeding must be used and more care in raising lambs. Nothing should be wasted or lost for want of care and thought. Less number of acres of land should be planted or sown;but by better tillage, a better condition of the soil tilled with better judgement used, more will be raised on the less number of acres tilled. More land can be used for pasturing, more and better cattle, horses, sheep and swine can be kept and the fertility of the soil increased. Leaks in the waste of the farmers time in winter generally should cease. Less expense should be indulged in to gratify the growing, foolish and injurious habits of using tobáceo, beer, etc. Less time should be spent in town and more given to thought and labor on the farm in winter to help on the work of the summer. More reading and study should be given by farmers to the business they are engaged in. The cost of stock raised or the grain grown should be known as well as the amount received in the way of sroceeds either by increase or sales made, in order to determine the profit or loss. Better care of tools should be jiven by proper housing and clearing. Habits of economy should be encouraged, andchildsen taught that self-dependence is necessary if success is reached. Habits of industry hould be insisted upon, and every child old enough should be required to do manual labor in proportion to its age and physical ability. NO HEALTHY DRONES should be allowed in any well regulated household upon the farm. Edúcate the children as their capabillties will warrant. Give them the same chances that are offered to any other children if of proper character. Make home pleasant and attractive. Plenty of good reading matter should abound. Make no more debts than are necessary. Let us live as we are able, not to imitate some one else, and prosperity will again dawn upon the farmer, and his business well managed will emerge from under the cloud (which has of late obscured it) and occupy its old place as one of profit as well as pleasure.