Hibbard, Benjamin Horace, 1870-1955 / The history of agriculture in Dane County, Wisconsin
Chapter III: Tobacco, pp. 155-175 PDF (4.7 MB)
174 BULLETIN OF THlE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN. buildings merely good enough to answer the purpose. It is also urged that many of the tobacco growers began with nothing and cannot be expected to pay for such high-priced land and put on good improvements all within a few years. There is some truth in both of these arguments, but the fact remains that the other parts of the county have more of the appearance of permanent prosperity. A system of farming which encourages investment in land for the hopes of big returns and no work, as seems to be the case where land is held by a man living in town, and let out to sharemen, can hardly be commended from either an economic or a moral standpoint. ACREAGE AND PRICES. For the following tables no minute accuracy is claimed. The acreage figures are taken from statistics given in the reports of the secretary of state; they were compiled from the assessors' books. made out in May of each year, and. therefore, based on estimates of what was intended to be planted. The census enu- merators invariably find more acres than do the assessors, and this is hard to account for unless it be that there is less reserve on the part of the farmer in dealing with an officer whose duties are of a scientific nature and in no wise connected with taxation. No doubt there are many inaccuracies in the best of these figures, as tobacco fields are so often small and irregular and seldom ac- curatelv measured. There are still greater difficulties in getting representative prices. Each year there is some tobacco which stlls for a cent or two a pound. and any attempt to average such extremes is useless. The prices given are for good grades, the highest prices are not quoted and the very lowest are not con- sidered at all. For the years previous to 1870 the data are very meager: since that time price lists are abundant. The average given for i862-1865 is an estimate made by a government statis- tician. However, the table is sufficiently accurate to show the general tendency of prices over the main tobacco period.
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