Learn about Life in the 1920s

Trend towards Farm Incorporation

INCORPORATED farming seems to be entering upon a new stage of its development, according to a Kansas City dispatch to the New York Evening Post.

Three Kansas wheat farmers, it seems, have formed a $150,000 corporation, with the intention of cutting expenses all along the line, harvesting their crops more expeditiously, and selling cooperatively through a sales agent. According to the Kansas City dispatch:

The three farmers have put in their farms, and they propose that the management be under a skilled head; that farming operations shall be conducted as a unit, with equipment thus minimized and the cost of overhead reduced. More than 5,000 acres of wheat will be sowed this fall, but it will be done by a few tractors and carried on as one field. Instead of a dozen complete farm equipments in machinery and motor-trucks, there will be only the number required to handle the acreage, and the production will be marketed cooperatively through a sales agent.

This season has seen great loss to farms of the Wheat Belt because of delay in harvesting and threshing, grain having been ruined by long-continued rains while the producer waited for the coming of a threshing crew to care for his crop. With combined forces each group could have its own equipment and the entire acreage could be cared for promptly. Likewise the preparation of ground for next year's crop is delayed when, by combined management, all could be done in proper time.

This, remarks the Mobile Register, may be the beginning of a more extensive movement, with all kinds of farmers incorporating. Moreover—

Such a movement brings us face to face with a new kind of trust in America, and a trust, too, of rather dangerous significance. But the farmers of this country have as much right to form these corporations as any other class of citizens, and the fact that they have failed to do it extensively up to this time has too often left them to the mercies of men not much interested in farming except for the unearned profits they could get out of it.

True, some of the big stock farms of the country have been incorporated. Orchardists, too, are incorporated. These corporations have made huge successes, too, and are outstanding among great American enterprises. Some of the cotton plantations also have been owned and operated by corporations; but, as a rule, the incorporators were not "dirt farmers." In this Kansas case, the incorporators are wheat farmers, men on the ground, men familiar with the needs and problems of the wheat farmers of the country. It will be interesting to see how it works out.

If these Kansas wheat farmers can thus successfully pool their issues, there does not seem to be any good reason why farmers of other kinds in other sections of the country may not do likewise. Soon we may have all the farms of the country operated by corporations, and this may bring us face to face with a new economic order of large meaning in our national life.

Source: The Literary Digest for October 1, 1927