Hibbard, Benjamin Horace, 1870-1955 / The history of agriculture in Dane County, Wisconsin
Chapter V: The size of farms and estates, pp. 185-191 PDF (1.4 MB)
1-IBBARD-H1STORY OF AGR1CULTURE IN DANE COUNTY. 191 average size fell from eighty-two acres in 1890 to seventy-seven acres in 1899. During the same period the change in the town of Perry was from one hundred eleven acres to one hundred twenty-three acres; yet if these two be averaged there is little meaning to the result. No better illustration of the point in question could be found than the census figures for Wisconsin which show the average size of farms to be one hundred fourteen acres for the years i86o, 1870, and x88o, yet all sorts of changes must have been in progress. It may be of some slight consequence to know that the size of estates in those two towns is on the increase, just as it may be of some avail for a dealer in fruit to know that the average price per bushel of apples, pears, and grapes taken together has fallen ten per cent., but before he makes further sales or purchases it will be necessary to inquire into the market. Thus before anything can be predicated as to the changes in landed estates it would seem desirable to know what is taking place under the various systems of farming within definite physiographic areas, and during periods of time which have some business significance, rather than to take arbitrary divisions of both time and territory, and adding together the like and the unlike, strike general averages, into which, and out of which, the economist and the historian may read results illustrative of pre-conceived notions. It may finally be said that there is positively no tendency in this county toward either large estates or large farms.
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