Income from Land Use
The final test of an economy is the kind of income and living it provides for its people. This is the subject of this chapter and the next. The analysis in this chapter will be set up in terms of income and in the next in terms of living.
Unfortunately in both chapters, the data and analyses are almost solely in terms of income and living in agriculture. Very little can be added to the little already written about non-farm income from the use of rural land.
The procedure in the present chapter will be to present as good a description as possible of income from farming at one point in time, and then to present series showing how the income has changed from year to year, principally in terms of typical farms such as those whose operating statements have been presented in earlier chapters. The point of time that will be taken for the cross section will be, for the most part, the crop-year 1929 as reported in the 1930 census. Farm receipts and expenses were more nearly in normal relationship in 1925-1929 than they have been for any period of several years since. Moreover, the net farm incomes of the decade ahead when reduced to terms of what they will buy, are likely to be in about the same relation to the incomes of other groups in the population as were the net farm incomes of 1925-1929. It is of course income parity and not price parity in which farmers are really interested.
In attempting to indicate the level of income, we shall of course have to use averages; but these will be supplemented where possible by data showing the range and frequency of different incomes. This is particularly important in the Northeast. If one will go down a road almost anywhere in the region and stop at only the places that look like farms as farms are accustomed to look, one will find the scale of their operations and their incomes comparing very favorably with what one would find following a similar course in Indi