Effects of the Great War upon Agriculture in the United States and Great Britain

By Benjamin Hibbard H. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII
The Effect of the War on Agricultural Prosperity

A glance at the export table will reveal at once the great increase in the demand for the products of the farm. Never before was there such a sudden and pronounced expansion of the agricultural market. Reckoned in dollars the amount of exports of 1917 exceeded those of the year preceding the war by 164 per cent. In other words, where there was one dollar's worth of produce sold abroad in 1913, there were $2.64 worth sold in 1917. This is merely a criterion. The bulk of the farmers' sales are not to Europeans but to the non-farming population of the United States. Assuming that in this market the same amounts of produce all told were sold from year to year the receipts would vary with the price. Of the five leading cereals the increases in price from March 1, 1914, to March 1, 1918, ranged from 70 per cent for oats to 225 per cent for rye.1 Cotton rose 140 per cent; hay 50 per cent.

In the prices of animals and animal products, the increased prices were pronounced, but not so much so. Hogs rose almost 100 per cent; beef cattle 38.8 per cent; milch cows 34 per cent; sheep 130 per cent; wool 264 per cent. Horses, alone, show a slight decrease.

The total value of farm products for 1917 is estimated by the Department of Agriculture at $19,444,000,000. This value is reached twenty-one years in advance of the time when at the rate of increase of the period 1889-1909 such a sum would have been obtained. The value of farm products in 1915 rose a billion dollars over the value of the preceding year. This was looked

____________________
1
The Department of Agriculture reports an increase in the price of all cereals from July, 1916, to 1918, of 98.3 per cent. Of meat animals for the same time 70.3 per cent. Monthly Crop Report, July, 1918.

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