Monday, July 19, 2010


When city people find themselves in a time of depression, they are certain to sound the cry, "Back to the Land." We hear it now, and there are serious proposals to work out plans for moving large numbers of unemployed out of industrial centers and locating them on farms.

That is not strange, for as the city man out of work looks forward he sees that the man on the land still has his job. It may not pay as much as it should, but it is a permanent job at any rate. And he also sees that the family on the land is at the very source of the food supply and more certain of enough to eat than any other family.

But the city man who never lived on the land does not understand this important fact--that to make a successful farmer you have to start with a capable man who loves the land, train him through many years, give him a wide range of experiences, and provide him with a helpmeet and family who likewise love the soil and to labor with it.

In the procession of those who set out from the city to the farm will be some who will find joy and a reasonable measure of success in farming. But there will be many more who will be foredoomed to failure from the beginning,--men much like this one: He used his savings to make part payment on a forty-acre farm. Before he put up house or barn, he stretched his credit to buy a tractor. That done, he had neither money, credit nor knowledge to do anything more. And so he retired from farming, right then and there,--and went back to the city for life.

The present agitation for a "back to the land" movement is not likely to mean much to farm folks, one way or another. If the stranger who comes into your community to try his hand at farming truly belongs on the land, you'll soon find it out, and you'll be glad that he came; if he doesn't, he'll soon find it out, and he'll be glad to go.