Prices of Farm Products
If this book were a book on the economics of the agriculture of New England, it would need to analyze fully and carefully the prices received by its farmers for its products, and paid by them for its feed, fertilizer, farm machinery, and other supplies and equipment. It would need not only to present the facts as to these prices and their historical changes, but to account for them. Its subject being the narrower one of the land use of New England, it needs to present only those aspects of prices which have conditioned land use. These mainly are: A, the levels of prices received and paid in New England as compared with those in other regions; and B, the major differences in these price levels within New England.
Prices received are not of so much relevance standing by themselves as their relationship to prices paid. In the main, the prices received and prices paid series have moved together -- it is their divergencies that count most. Also prices of individual products may not be of much significance by themselves in determining land use. Commonly it is the level of prices of all the products sold from the farm in an area that determines whether this area can continue in agricultural use, or how intensively it can be farmed. Accordingly, the main presentation of price changes is in the form of indexes of the prices received and paid on typical dairy, poultry, and other farms in different parts of New England; and this presentation is in the separate chapters on dairy, poultry, and other farms in succeeding chapters, and in the chapter on farm incomes.
However, it will be helpful to present at this point a simple rough comparison of price movements in New England and the United States since 1910-1914, as in Chart 64. The index number series for prices received is a