Monday, April 18, 2011

1946 Farm Statistics ...

I may or may not be addicted to my new book, Success on the Small Farm, but one thing is for sure ... there are a lot of quotes from this book that jump out at me and just scream that they want to be shared and commented on. Here are a couple I came across last night ::
"Statistics tell the story. Only 25 per cent of the farms of the United States have telephones; 40 per cent have no bathtubs; 56 per cent have no mechanical refrigerators; 83 per cent have no running water; 69 per cent have no electric lights."
It is mind boggling how much can change in about 60 years. Now the statistics would have to be about high-speed internet connections, smart phones, satellite television, and iPads! The point though that Mr. Pearson (that's the author) is getting at is that farmers don't have to live without those "luxuries" just because they are farmers. Of course I can't ever think of time when I thought of electric lights as a luxury!

That quote was just for fun though. It shows how much things have progressed and gives an interesting historical glimpse into the farming of six decades ago. This next quote hit much closer to home and should probably be included in every book, article, blog, tweet, or anything else directed at a beginning farmer!
"It's an odd quirk of human nature that once a man has made up his mind to be a farmer, he wants to get into action quickly, irrespective of the doze and one factors involved."
Yes. That is an odd "quirk". And, for my experience it is completely and totally true. At least for me it was and is true and I'm constantly have to try and hold myself back and slow down in order to make intelligent decisions instead of hasty excited decisions. I've written about this subject before, but it is always nice to get a pleasant reminder of the realities of farming and of starting a farm.


BadVooDooDaddy said...

Things sure have changed but one thing has remained the same the farmer still gets up just as early as back then and the job really has remained the same. The tools might be a bit different but the job still remains the same. I am glad that we still have people that have a passion for farming and the lifestyle that goes along with it. It is hard but rewarding. Great post. I really like the part about the amount of farmers with a telephone! lol

Rich said...

I have some farm ledgers from my grandfather and I found one from 1947 that has some details about prices etc. (if I am reading his handwriting correctly).

In his 1947 ledger he set the values of the following livestock he owned:

- Dairy cow - $100 each
- Beef cow - $85
- Yearly heifer - $65
- Bull - $150

- Brood sow - $85
- 170 lb. market hog - $50
- 70 lb. market hog - $20

- 300 layer chickens - $300

The only feed costs I could decipher were:

- 150 bu of corn cost $300 (or $2.00/bu.)

- A square bale of prairie hay was worth $0.70

- Wheat was worth about $2.50/bu
- Oats were worth about $1.00/bu

- It cost about $11.00 per week for the feed for 300 layers whose eggs were sold for about $20.00 each week.

I also found some info about some cattle he sold (they seem a lot smaller than today's cattle):

- 900 lb. bull sold for $0.135/pound (or $121)
- Three 413 lb steers sold for $0.17/lb ($70/head)
- Two 470 lb steers sold for $0.19/lb ($90/head)
- Two 375 lb steers sold for $0.15/lb ($56/head)

I don't know if anybody else thinks this is interesting, but there it is.

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