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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)

Page 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
  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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