The Rural Economy of New England: A Regional Study

By John Donald Black | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 26
General and Family-
Living Farms
There is a good deal of land use in farms in New England not within the specialized and combination farms which have been analyzed in the nine preceding chapters. Some of it is in full-scale family farms or larger that have a diversity of sources of income. To these, Elliott applied the term "general" in his 1930 classification. Other of it is in farms which have only small amounts of commercial production, the bulk of product being used by the family. If the family has outside labor as an important source of income, these are properly called "part-time" farms. If it does not, but lives largely on accumulated wealth, or a pension or the like, or perhaps on nothing else at all, some other description is needed. Davis called part of these "residential" farms in his Connecticut classification, but this term does not fit many of them. Elliott, after much debate over a name, chose to call them "self-sufficing" farms. The writer has always preferred to call them "family-living" farms. We of course are interested in the facts about these farms and not in their names, but if we are to have any data about them which we can use, we shall have to use the names that have been used in compiling the statistics. In this chapter, we shall deal with what Elliott put under his general and his self-sufficing heads, and in the next with part-time farms. The 1940 and 1945 censuses used the classification called general only in the sample survey, and the self-sufficing farms were mostly included, along with most of the part-time farms, as a group called "farm produce used by the household," the groupings in these censuses being solely in terms of lines of production.The exact language of the 1930 census description was as follows:
General. -- Farms were classified as "general" where the value of products from any one source did not represent as much as 40 per cent of the total value

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