FARMING FOR EXERCISE
The necessity we are all under to pigeonhole our problems under one classification is responsible for the illusion that there is one farm problem, one problem for the industrial worker, and so forth. As a matter of fact there are as many farm problems as there are types and conditions of farmers. A farm program primarily designed to raise prices for growers of grain and cotton is no solution at all for the difficulties of the dairy farmer, who usually has to buy a large part of his grain and all his cotton goods. A benevolent government has built up an uneconomic beet sugar industry with viciously bad conditions for the workers by a high tariff on sugar. This device forces the overwhelming mass of farmers to pay just as much for sugar as consumers who live in the city.
Nevertheless, there are economic and sociological factors which do give a certain unity to the diverse conditions to be found on dairy farms of New York, the fruit and vegetable ranches of California, the wheat farms of Minnesota, the corn and hog regions of the Middle West, and the cotton plantations of the South. In all these diverse types of farming the farm is at once home and job. Farming is the last stronghold of individualism, rugged or ragged. It has heretofore yielded slowly to mechanization. Yet as the result of mechanization and a very imperfect application of science to agricultural production a steadily dwindling proportion of the population is able to produce an increased supply of foodstuffs.