Full text: Modern business geography

The United States as a Farming Country 33 
wastes it in feasting, or saves the surplus in order that he’may do 
less work during the next farming season. 
Evidence of the farmer’s intelligence. The intelligence of the 
American farmer shows itself in his eagerness to improve his farming 
methods. He is continually seeking to make his own labor more 
effective by the use of improved machinery, which will enable him 
to farm more acres or to farm the same area in a better way. On 
many a farm machinery is at work plowing, planting, cultivating, or 
reaping a crop. A machine, instead of a team, may be used to haul 
the crop to the market. Machinery is often employed for much of 
the incidental work of the farm, such as separating the cream from 
the milk, sawing the winter's wood, and clipping the horses. 
The American way of farming by machinery has been adopted to 
a large extent in such new countries as Canada, Argentina, and Aus- 
tralia, and to a less degree in the progressive parts of Europe. In 
tropical and oriental countries, farming is carried on chiefly with 
the hoe, with a simple plow drawn by horses or cattle, and with a 
sickle. It is no wonder that while the American farmer raises, on 
the average, more than two thousand dollars’ worth of products a 
year, the farmer in India produces crops worth only about twenty 
dollars there and worth only four or five times that amount in our 
own country with its high prices. 
How new soil has helped the United States. In farming, new 
countries usually have an advantage over older countries. The ad- 
vantage lies chiefly in the fact that the soil has not been robbed of 
its plant food. It has long been known that when the soil of almost 
any region is first cultivated, it yields large crops; but after a few 
years the crops decline, and in time the yield becomes very small unless 
the farmer devotes much time and energy to renewing the soil by 
means of fertilizers and the rotation of crops, and by allowing the 
land to lie fallow. The fact that the yield of wheat in North Dakota 
fell quite steadily from 14.5 bushels of wheat, between 1886 and 1895, 
to 10.4 bushels, between 1914 and 1920, illustrates how the wheat crop 
in some of our western states fell off after the first years of cultivation. 
The large crops in the early years are certainly an advantage to the 
farmer, yet in a sense they do harm, because they lead him to be care- 
less of the soil and to think that he can gain wealth without much work.

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