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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 143

work enthusiastically for the development of his farm as he
pays for it, he must be reasonably sure of his tenure and of his.
ability eventually to become the owner of his farm. If he is.
to work efficiently, take care of his farm properly and give his
children an opportunity in life, the tenant should have a period
of at least twenty or twenty-five years in which to pay for his
farm unless he chooses to complete payments in a shorter time.
le should not be compelled to live on a bare minimum of subsis-
tence and to work with the poorest equipment possible
to use, in order to pay for his farm in five, ten or fifteen years.
At the same time he should be able to feel that if he makes his
payments regularly for the specified number of years-or for a
shorter time if he is able to complete payments earlier-the farm
will be absolutely his. In short, the tenant farmer should be
given the opportunity to select the farm he desires to buy, if
the farm is on the market, and to occupy it under an unques-
tionable tenure for the twenty or twenty-five years that he may
need to pay the purchase price. Only in this way can the ten-
ant be induced to exert himself to anything like his greatest
efficiency either as a producer or as a citizen.
  The state is the only institution in the economic and social life
of this country that is broad enough, powerful enough and long-
lived enough to secure for the tenant farmer the kind of credit
that he needs. It is useless to wait for private enterprise or phil-
anthropy to enter the field. Both may accomplish something
but it will necessarily be on a small scale. Other countries, as
has been shown in this report, have been forced to meet the
problem of farm tenancy. They have almost invariably met it
by helping the tenant-farmer to buy his farm through the medi-
ulm of a state loan running for a long term of years at a low rate
of interest and secured upon the land to be bought. If we ex-
pect to check the growth of farm tenancy in the United States.
we will be compelled to devise a similar system for our own
use. The writer believes that we should inaugurate such a sys-
tem in Wisconsin just as soon as it is possible to secure the nec-
essary amendments to the constitution of our state and devise
a plan for state loans to tenant farmers adapted to our local

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