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Duffus, William M. / Report on agricultural settlement and farm ownership. Part I: state loans to farmers

Chapter VII. Farm tenancy in Wisconsin and the need of a system of long-time loans for the tenant farmer,   pp. 130-143 PDF (3.8 MB)

Page 137

                  STATE LOANS TO FARMERS.                 1:37
cannot amount to much as a positive social force in the com-
munity in which he lives. He holds his farm, as a rule, for a
short time only and he is interested in it merely as a tempor-
ary stopping place. His struggle to pay rent and to save
money to buy a farm for himself some day-granting that the
assumption that most tenant farmers eventually become farm
owners is correct-leaves him no energy for participation in
the larger affairs of the community in which he lives. The re-
sult is seen in poor roads, poor schools. and in general in a
deadening lack of community enterprise and community life.
The effect on the individual is in turn equally deadening. This
is true, although perhaps not in the same degree, of the tenant
who expects eventually to become a farm owner, as well as of
the tenant who never hopes to be more than a tenant.
   The general prevalence of tenancy as a form of land tenure
results not only in great economic and social waste but it gives
rise to social conditions which are intolerable in a democracy.
'As the price of land becomes higher and higher." Professor
T. N. Carver says in a recent books, "it will become more and
more difficult for the man who starts with nothing but his
Ibands to become a farmer. This is a situation which contains
possibilities of evil in the form of separating our rural popula-
tion into two groups, the landowners and the landless. Such
a separation of classes has never failed in the history of the
world to breed jealousies and animosities."
   There are two kinds of landlordism: resident landlordism and
 absentee landlordism. Of these the latter is by far the worse-
 Prof. Carver says4 that "next to war, pestilence and famine, the
 worst thing thing that can happen to a rural community is ab-
 sentee landlordism."  As yet Wisconsin and the Middle West
 in general have not suffered greatly from absentee landlordism.
 That is, most of the owners of rented farms continue to live in or
 near the community in which the farms are located. The census
 of 1900 showed' that of the 21,553 rented farms concerning
 which information was obtained in Wisconsin, 17,112, or 79.4
 per cent, were owned by persons who were residents of the
 counties in which the farms were located, and that of the re-
   'CABvE: Rural Economics, pp. 114-115.
   4CABvEn: Rural Economics, p. 377.
   * Vol. V, pp. 310, 311.

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