The Rural Economy of New England: A Regional Study

By John Donald Black | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 17 New England's Dairy Farming

In this and ten chapters following, the rural economy of New England will be considered in terms of the production, marketing, and prices of the products of its farms -- one chapter for each product, except three for dairying. The unit of analysis for the production part of the job will be the farm as a whole and not one product considered by itself. Thus the dairy farms studied in this and the following chapter are analyzed in terms of all the products which these farms sell.

As indicated in Table 32 in Chapter 13, dairy products alone account for 34.1 per cent of the 1936-1940 gross farm income of New England, and cattle and calves, virtually all from dairy herds, for 4.3 per cent more of it. Maine, at the bottom, obtained 27.1 per cent of its income from these two sources, Connecticut 36.3 per cent, Rhode Island 43.2 per cent, and Vermont 64.9 per cent. The percentage of gross farm income for the Middle Atlantic states averaged 44 per cent from these two sources in 1936-1940, but the Middle Atlantic states have more beef cattle than New England. For dairy products alone, New England obtained a 9 per cent larger fraction of its farm income from dairying than did the East North Central states, which include the great dairy states of Wisconsin and Michigan. Corn, hogs, and beef cattle compete successfully with dairying in the southern part of that region.

Other comparisons are as follows: In number of dairy cows and heifers per 100 acres of land in crops, New England averaged 19.9 in 1945, compared with Wisconsin's 19.9 and New York's 18.3. In cows per 100 acres of all land in farms, New England was under the Middle Atlantic division. New England had 5.7 cows per 100 acres of land in farms, the range being from 3.1 in Maine to 8.8 in Rhode Island. Wisconsin had 9.6 and New York 7.9. In per 100 acres of land area, however, New England came third, follow-

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