The Rural Economy of New England: A Regional Study

By John Donald Black | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 13
Organization of the
Agriculture

Let us now pass from land use in general to agricultural use in particular; and following the same strategy as with land use, observe its present organization before looking into its evolution. If the agiculture of New England had to be described in one sentence, that sentence would be that New England has the kind of agriculture that is commonly found near metropolitan centers. Most agriculture near cities is diversified in the sense that a wide variety of products is produced, but any one farm is likely to confine itself to one or two products. This description fits most of New England. The poultry, vegetable, or fruit farms of New England as elsewhere generally turn out no other product. At least, this is true near the cities. The dairy farms are specialized near large cities in New England as elsewhere. Only in a few other sections as far from market as Vermont's dairy farms will one find dairy farms given over as completely to dairying as Vermont's. The cities of the northeast must reach far for their milk supplies. The total effect of the foregoing, however, is considerable diversity of agriculture for the region as a whole, especially after allowance is made for the several small areas of intensive specialization for a larger market -- potatoes in Aroostook County, Maine, blueberries in Washington County, Maine, cranberries in southeastern Massachusetts, and tobacco in the Connecticut Valley.

World War II induced some major shifts in the output of New England farms. We had better first see how production was organized just before the war. Table 32 indicates the relative importance of different sources of agricultural income by states in terms of the average for the five-year prewar period 1936-1940. Dairy products were easily the largest income producer

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