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Title: Economic study of farming in the Plant City area, Hillsborough County, Florida
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Title: Economic study of farming in the Plant City area, Hillsborough County, Florida
Physical Description: Book
Creator: Greene, R. E. L.
Publisher: University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Publication Date: 1953
Copyright Date: 1953
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Bibliographic ID: UF00026824
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Resource Identifier: aen7048 - LTUF
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HISTORIC NOTE



The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
(EDIS)

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.






Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida







Bulletin 533 December 1953




UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATIONS
WILLARD M. FIFIELD, Director
GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA











Economic Study of Farming in the Plant


City Area, Hillsborough County. Florida




R. E. L. GREENE
Agricultural Economist

















Single copies free to Florida residents upon request to
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION
GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA










BOARD OF CONTROL EDITORIAL

Hollis Rinehart, Chairman, Miami J. 'lancis Cooper, M.S.A., Editor
J. Lee Ballard, St. Petersburg J. N. Joiner, B.S.A., Assistant Editors
Fred H. Kent, Jacksonville William oiner. Mitchell, A.B.J., Assistant Editor
Wm. H. Dial, Orlando William G. Mitchell, A.B.J., Assistant Editor
Mrs. Alfred I. duPont, Jacksonville Samuel L. Burgess, A.B.J., Assistant Editor
George W. English, Jr., Ft. Lauderdale
W. Glenn Miller, Monticello ENTOMOLOGY
W. F. Powers, Secretary, Tallahassee A. N. Tissot, Ph.D., Entomologist
EXECUTIVE STAFF L. C. Kuitert, Ph.D., Associate
H. E. Bratley, M.S.A., Assistant
J. Wayne Reitz, Ph.D., Provost for Agr.3 F. A. Robinson, M.S., Asst. Apiculturist
Willard M. Fifield, M.S., Director R. E. Waites, Ph.D., Asst. Entomologist
J. R. Beckenbach, Ph.D., Asso. Director S. H. Kerr, Ph.D., Asst. Entomologist
L. O. Gratz, Ph.D., Assistant Director
Rogers L. Bartley, B.S., Admin. Mgr.3 HOME ECONOMICS
Geo. R. Freeman, B.S., Farm Superintendent
Ouida D. Abbott, Ph.D., Home Econ.l
R. B. French, Ph.D., Biochemist
MAIN STATION, GAINESVILLE HORTICULTURE
AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS G. H. Blackmon, M.S.A., Horticulturist 1
I. G. Hamilton, Ph.D., Agr. Economist 3 R. A. Dennison, Ph.D., Hort. & Interim Head
R. E. L. Greene, Ph.D., Agr. Economist 3 F. S. Jamison, Ph.D., Horticulturist 3
M. A. Brooker, Ph.D., Agr. Economist s Albert P. Lorz, Ph.D., Horticulturist
Zach Savage, M.S.A., Associate R. K. Showalter, M.S., Asso. Hort.
A. H. Spurlock, M.S.A., Agr. Economist R. H. Sharpe, M.S., Asso. Horticulturist
D. E. Alleger, M.S., Associate V. F. Nettles, Ph.D., Asso. Horticulturist
D. L. Brooke, M.S.A., Associate F. S. Lagasse, Ph.D., Horticulturist2
M. R. Godwin, Ph.D., Associate 3 R. D. Dickey, M.S.A., Asso. Hort.
W. K. McPherson, M.S., Economist 3 L. H. Halsey, M.S.A., Asst. Hort.
Eric Thor, M.S., Asso. Agr. Economist 3 C. B. Hall, Ph.D., Asst. Horticulturist
Cecil N. Smith, M.A., Asso. Agr. Economist Austin Griffiths, Jr., B.S., Asst. Hort.
Levi A. Powell, Sr., M.S.A., Assistant S. E. McFadden, Jr., Ph.D., Asst. Hort.
Orlando, Florida (Cooperative USDA) C. H. VanMiddelem, Ph.D., Asst. Biochemist
Buford D. Thompson, M.S.A., Asst. Hort.
G. Norman Rose, B.S., Asso. Agri. Economist M. W. Hoover, M.S.A., Asst. Hort.
J. C. Townsend, Jr., B.S.A., Agr. Statistician
J. B. Owens, B.S.A., Agr. Statistician 2 LIBRARY
F. T. Calloway, M.S., Agr. Statistician K in C
C. L. Crenshaw, M.S., Asst. Agr. Economist Ida Keeling Cresap, Librarian
B. W. Kelly, M.S., Asst. Agr. Economist PLANT PATHOLOGY
AGRICULTURAL ENGINEERING W. B. Tisdale, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist 1
Frazier Rogers, M.S.A., Agr. Engineer 1. Phares Decker, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
J. M. Myers, M.S.A., Asso. Agr. Engineer Erdman West, M.S., Botanist & Mycologist :
J. S.MNortn, M.S. Asst. Agr. Engineer Robert W. Earhart, Ph.D., Plant Path.'
S. Norton, MS., Ast. Ag. Engineer Howard N. Miller, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Path.
AGRONOMY Lillian E. Arnold, M.S., Asso. Botanist
C. W. Anderson, Ph.D., Asst. Plant Path.
Fred H. Hull, Ph.D., Agronomist 1
G. B. Killinger, Ph.D., Agronomist POULTRY HUSBANDRY
H. C. Harris, Ph.D., Agronomist
R. W. Bledsoe, Ph.D., Agronomist N. R. Mehrhof, M.Agr., Poultry Husb. 3
W. A. Carver, Ph.D., Agronomist J. C. Driggers, Ph.D., Asso. Poultry Hush."
Fred A. Clark, M.S., Associate 2
E. S. Horner, Ph.D., Assistant SOILS
A. T. Wallace, Ph.D., Assistant F. B. Smith, Ph.D., Microbiologist' 3
D. E. McCloud, Ph.D., Assistant 3 Gaylord M. Volk, Ph.D., Soils Chemist
G. C. Nutter, Ph.D., Asst. Agronomist J. R. Neller, Ph.D., Soils Chemist
I. M. Wofford, Ph.D., Asst. Agronomist Nathan Gammon, Jr., Ph.D., Soils Chemist
Ralph G. Leighty, B.S., Asst. Soil Surveyor 2
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY AND NUTRITION G. D. Thornton, Ph.D., Microbiologist a
C. F. Eno, Ph.D., Asst. Soils Microbiologist
T. J. Cunha, Ph.D., Animal Husbandman H. W. Winsor, B.S.A., Assistant Chemist
G. K. Davis, Ph.D., Animal Nutritionist R. E. Caldwell, M.S.A., Asst. Chemist 3
It. L. Shirley, Ph.D., Biochemist V. W. Carlisle, B.S., Asst. Soil Surveyor
A. M. Pearson, Ph.D., Asso. An. Hush.' J. H. Walker, M.S.A., Asst. Soil Surveyor
John P. Feaster, Ph.D., Asst. An. Nutri. William K. Robertson, Ph.D., Asst. Chemist
H. D. Wallace, Ph.D., Asso. An. Husb.3 O. E. Cruz, B.S.A., Asst. Soil Surveyor
M. Koger, Ph.D., An. Husbandman 3 W. G. Blue, Ph.D., Asst. Biochemist
J. F. Hentges, Jr., Ph.D., Asst. An. Husb. 3 J. G. A. Fiskel, Ph.D., Asst. Biochemist a
L. R. Arrington, Ph.D., Asst. An. Husb. L. C. Hammond, Ph.D., Asst. Soil Physicist '
A. C. Warnick, Ph.D., Asst. Physiologist H. L. Breland, Ph.D., Asst. Soils Chem.
W. L. Pritchett, Ph.D., Soil Technologist
DAIRY SCIENCE
VETERINARY SCIENCE
E. L. Fouts, Ph.D., Dairy Technologist
R. B. Becker, Ph.D., Dairy Husbandman 3 D. A. Sanders, D.V.M., Veterinarian 1
S. P. Marshall, Ph.D., Asso. Dairy Husb.3 M. W. Emmel, D.V.M., Veterinarian 3
W. A. Krienke, M.S., Asso. Dairy Tech.3 C. F. Simpson, D.V.M., Asso. Veterinarian
P. T. Dix Arnold, M.S.A., Asso. Dairy iIusb. 3 L. E. Swanson, D.V.M., Parasitologist
Leon Mull, Ph.D., Asso. Dairy Tech.3 W. R. Dennis, D.V.M., Asst. Parasitologist
H. H. Wilkowske, Ph.D., Asst. Dairy Tech.3 E. W. Swarthout, D.V.M., Asso. Poultry
James M. Wing, Ph.D.. Asst. Dairy Hush. Pathologist (Dade City)













BRANCH STATIONS F. T. Boyd, Ph.D., Asso. Agronomist
M. G. Hamilton, Ph.D., Asst. Horticulturist
NORTH FLORIDA STATION, QUINCY J. N. Simons. Ph.D., Asst. Virologist
D. W. Beardsley. M.S., Assc. Animal Husb.
W. C. Rhoades, M.S., Entomologist in Charge
R. R. Kincaid, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist SUB-TROPICAL STATION, HOMESTEAD
L. G. Thompson, Jr., Ph.D., Soils Chemist
W. H. Chapman, M.S., Agronomist Geo. D. Ruehle, Ph.D., Vice-Dir. in Charge
Frank S. Baker, Jr., B.S., Asst. An. Husb. D. O. Wolfenbarger, Ph.D., Entomologist
Frank E. Guthrie, Ph.D., Asst. Entomologist Francis B. Lincoln, Ph.D., Horticulturist
Robert A. Conover, Ph.D., Plant Path.
Mobile Unit, Monticello John L. Malcolm, Ph.D., Asso. Soils Chemist
R. W. Wallace, B.S., Associate Agronomist R. W. Harkness, Ph.D., Asst. Chemist
R. Bruce Ledin, Ph.D., Asst. Hort.
Mobile Unit, Marianna J. C. Noonan, M.S., Asst. Hort.
R. W. Lipscomb, M.S., Associate Agronomist MI. H. Gallatin, B.S., Soil Conservationist 2
Mobile Unit, Pensacola WEST CENTRAL FLORIDA STATION,
R. L. Smith, M.S., Associate Agronomist BROOKSVILLE
Mobile Unit, Chipley Marian W. Hazen, M.S., Animal Husband-
J. B. White, B.S.A., Associate Agronomist man in Charge

CITRUS STATION, LAKE ALFRED RANGE CATTLE STATION, ONA
W. G. Kirk, Ph.D., Vice-Director in Charge
A. F. Camp, Ph.D., Vice-Director in Charge E. Hedges, Ph.D., Agronomist
W. L. Thompson, B.S., Entomologist D. W. Jones, M.S., Asst. Soil Technologist
R. F. Suit, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
E. P. Ducharme, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Path. CENTRAL FLORIDA STATION, SANFORD
C. R. Stearns, Jr., B.S.A., Asso. Chemist
J. W. Sites, Ph.D., Horticulturist R. W. Ruprecht, Ph.D., Vice-Dir. in Charge
H. O. Sterling, B.S., Asst. Horticulturist J. W. Wilson, ScD., Entomologist
H. J. Reitz, Ph.D., Horticulturist P. J. Westgate, Ph.D., Asso. Hort.
Francine Fisher, M.S., Asst. Plant Path. Ben F. Whitner, Jr., B.S.A., Asst. Hort.
I. W. Wander, Ph.D., Soils Chemist Geo. Swank, Jr., Ph.D., Asst. Plant Path.
J. W. Kesterson, M.S., Asso. Chemist
R. Hendrickson, B.S., Asst. Chemist WEST FLORIDA STATION, JAY
Ivan Stewart, Ph.D., Asst. Biochemist
D. S. Prsser, Jr., B.S., Asst. Engineer C. E. Hutton, Ph.D., Vice-Director in Charge
R. W. Olsen, B.S., Biochemist H. W. Lundy, B.S.A., Associate Agronomist
F. W Wenzel, Jr., Ph.D., Chemist
Alvin H. Rouse, M.S., Asso. Chemist SUWANNEE VALLEY STATION,
H. W. Ford, Ph.D., Asst. Horticulturist LIVE OAK
L. C. Knorr, Ph.D., Asso. Histologist'
R. M. Pratt, Ph.D., Asso. Ent.-Pathologist G. E. Ritchey, M.S., Agronomist in Charge
W. A. Simanton, Ph.D., Entomologist
E. J. Deszyck, Ph.D., Asso. Horticulturist GULF COAST STATION, BRADENTON
C. U. Leonard, Ph.D., Asso. Horticulturist E. L. Spencer, Ph.D., Soils Chemist in Charge
W. T. Long, M.S., Asst. Horticulturist E. G. Kelsheimer, Ph.D., Entomologist
M. H. Muma, Ph.D., Asso. Entomologist David G. A. Kelbert, Asso. Horticulturist
F. J. Reynolds, Ph.D., Asso. Hort. Robert O. Magie, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
W. F. Spencer, Ph.D., Asst. Chem. J. M. Walter, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
R. B, Johnson, Ph.D., Asst. Entomologist S. S. Woltz, Ph.D., Asst. Horticulturist
W. F. Newhall, Ph.D., Asst. Biochemist Donald S. Burgis, M.S.A., Asst. Hort.
W. F. Grierson-Jackson, Ph.D., Asst. Chem. C. M. Geraldson, Ph.D., Asst. Horticulturist
Roger Patrick, Ph.D., Bacteriologist
Marion F. Oberbacher, Ph.D., Asst. Plant
Physiologist FIELD LABORATORIES
Evert J. Elvin, B.S., Asst. Horticulturist
R. C. J. Koo, Ph.D., Asst. Biochemist Watermelon, Grape, Pasture-Leesburg
J. R. Kuykendall, Ph.D., Asst. Horticulturist
J. M. Crall, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Path. in Chg.
C. C. Helms, Jr., B.S., Asst. Agronomist
EVERGLADES STATION, BELLE GLADE L. H. Stover, Assistant in Horticulture

W. T. Forsee, Jr., Ph.D., Chemist in Charge Strawberry-Plant City
R. V. Allison, Ph.D., Fiber Technologist A. N. Brooks, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
Thomas Bregger, Ph.D., Physiologist
J. W. Randolph, M.S., Agricultural Engr. Vegetables--Hastings
R. W. Kidder, M.S.. Asso. Animal Hush. A. H. Eddins, Ph.D., Plant Path. in Charge
C. C. Seale, Associate Agronomist E. N. McCubbin, Ph.D., Horticulturist
N. C. Hayslip, B.S.A. Asso. Entomologist T. M. Dobrovsky, Ph.D., Asst. Entomologist
E. A. Wolf, M.S., Asst. Horticulturist
W. H. Thames, M.S., Asst. Entomologist Pecans-Monticello
W. G. Genung, M.S., Asst. Entomologist A. M. Phillips, B.S., Asso. Entomologist 2
Robert J. Allen, Ph.D., Asst. Agronomist John R. Large, M.S., Asso. Plant Path.
V. E. Green, Ph.D., Asst. Agronomist Frost Fo
J. F. Darby, Ph.D., Asst. Plant Path. Frost Forecasting-Lakeland
V. L. Guzman, Ph.D., Asst. Hort. Warren O. Johnson, B.S., Meteorologist in
J. C. Stephens, B.S., Drainage Engineer 2 Charge 2
A. E. Kretschmer, Jr., Ph.D., Asst. Soils
Chem. 1 Head of Department
Charles T. Ozaki, Ph.D., Asst. Chemist In cooperation with U. S.
Thomas L. Meade, Ph.D., Asst. An. Nutri. a Cooperative, other divisions, U. of 1.
U. S. Harrison, M.S., Asst. Agri. Engr. 4 On leave

4















CONTENTS
PAGE
INTRODUCTION ....... .... .. ... ......... ... ..... . ... .................. 5
METHOD OF PROCEDURE ................................. 5
Source of Data ............ .................. .. 6
M ethod of Analysis ...................... .............. -- ... ... .. . 6
DESCRIPTION OF THE AREA .. ....--.. ..---.. ......------------------.--------.. .. 8
Location ........... .. ......... .. .... ... .. .. .... ...... 8
Loyscation-------------- -------------- --- ---- --------- --------------- 8
Physical Features ..................... .. ........ ......... .... .. .. 8
Soils and Topography ... .. .. .... .. 8
Clim ate ........................................ .. .. .... .. .... . 10
The Farming Pattern ................. ....... .......... ............. .... 11
Trends in Agricultural Production .. .......... ................. .... 11
Present Systems of Farming .. .......-.. ..................... .... 12
M market O outlets ...... ....... .......... .... ........ ....... ......................... 15
Population .................. .. .. ... ..... ... .... ........... 18
Off-The-Farm Employment .... .. ... .... ................... .. 19
SUMMARY OF FARM BUSINESS STUDIES .... .. .............. ..- --- ...... 22
General Land Use ........................... .. ...... ..................... 24
Crops Grown .......... ....................... ....... ................. .......... 25
Y ields per A cre ............ ... ... .. .....-- - ............-- 26
Farm Capital ............. .................... ..... ......................... 26
Farm Receipts ................. ...... .... .....-- 28
Farm Expense ................... ................ ....... .. ........ ..-......... 29
Farm Returns ............. ........ ........... .......................... ..... 32
FACTORS AFFECTING FARM RETURNS .............. .. ..... .........-......... 33
Size of Business .......... . .... ..... .......... ................ .. 33
Crop Yields ......... ... ... ... ...- 35
Prices Received ...........-...-... - - .......----------.. .- 36
Crop Yields and Prices Combined ..... .................-...... ........ 36
IMPROVING FARM RETURNS ........................... ...-...-- ---- .------..-.-------- 38
Rates of Crop Production with Normal and Improved Practices ...... 39
Seed and Fertilizer -..--..--...............-- ........----- .. ------ --- .. 40
Insects and Disease Control .....-........-------... ---.........-- ....- 40
Y fields -..-....-..........- ......... ..... .-------- -... . ---.... ..--- ------... 41
Relative Costs and Returns with Present and Improved Practices .... 43
Effects of Changes in Level of Practices on Farm Income ................---. 45
Organization of Farms .............-......................... ........-- -----..--...- 48
Production and Value of Crops ....... ...- ..... .........- .... --.. .... ........ 49
Operating Expenses .................. ...... -..-.---- --...---- -......---.. 50
Financial Summary --.............. ......--.........- .--.. --- ---.. .--.-- 50
SUMMARY .-....-....--.--....------- ..... ...---.---.--.--.. ..---..------------ ---------- 51








Economic Study of Farming in the Plant

City Area, Hillsborough County, Florida

INTRODUCTION
The agriculture of the Plant City area is characterized by
small but intensively operated farms growing crops that require
large amounts of hand labor. Most of the labor is furnished
by the operator and his family, so the acreage of crops grown
is to a large extent determined by what the family can harvest.
Strawberries are the main cash crop, but most operators also
grow a number of other truck crops, such as peppers, Southern
peas, and tomatoes. Much of the cultivated acreage is usually
double-cropped to one or more intensive truck crops.
As a result of the intensive farming practiced, inter- and
double-cropping of land over many consecutive years, insufficient
cover crops, and other soil-depleting practices, "mineral de-
ficiencies are developing, insect populations are building up,
and fungus, bacteria and pathological diseases are increasing." 1
An increasing population in the area also raises the question
of whether many additional people can obtain a satisfactory
living from farming the land resources available.
Some of the problems of the Plant City area were minimized
or postponed by the war and immediate postwar period, which
provided high prices for crops and off-farm employment for
many of the people. The decline in net farm income now taking
place emphasizes the need for more efficient methods of pro-
ducing and marketing farm products. Unless the farmers can
meet the problems of intensive land use and organize their units
on a more efficient basis, many will be faced with difficult eco-
nomic problems. Some may be forced out of farming altogether.
Drawing upon the experience and knowledge of farmers and
those who work with farmers, this study provides information
that may suggest to the people in the area ways and means
by which they may improve their system of farming and in-
crease their incomes.

METHOD OF PROCEDURE
This report presents data on the organization and incomes
of farms in the Plant City area. It shows some of the adjust-
ments made in farm organization and operation during the past
SAnnual Report of County Agricultural Agent, Hillsborough County
Agricultural Department, 1948, p. 32.







6 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

30 years. Data are also presented on some of the factors affect-
ing farm returns and the expected improvement in farm income
with a change in the present level of farm practices.

SOURCE OF DATA
Data were obtained from a series of farm management studies
in the Plant City area and special surveys of cropping prac-
tices, method of marketing, and kind and amount of farm re-
sources. These data were supplemented by the results of
various technical experiments and the recommendations of agri-
cultural workers and leading farmers in the area.
The first farm management study was made in October
and November 1917 for the farm year beginning October 1,
1916. Data were obtained each fall for five additional years
and 100 usable records were collected in each survey. When
a farm was visited, a record was made of the year's business
including an inventory of all farm property at the beginning
and end of the year, crops grown, livestock kept, and receipts
and expenses for the year. Farm business surveys were ob-
tained also for the crop year ending September 30 on 113 farms
for the 1926-27 season, and 112 farms for the 1931-32 season,
and one June 30 on 52 farms for the 1944-45 season. During
1951, farm business records were obtained for six farms for
the 1950-51 crop year. These farms were selected as being
representative of farms in the area, and the records were ob-
tained to be used in developing farm budgets.
During the summer of 1945, Agricultural Adjustment Admin-
istration (AAA) crop acreage data were obtained for 259 farms
for the 1942-43 season. In a farm survey, 88 labor and mate-
rial records were obtained for individual crops. Data were
obtained on 40 farms on method of marketing each crop, method
of land preparation, cover crop program, irrigation and other
cultural practices. During November and December 1948 a
survey was made of the kind and amount of resources of all
farms in nine square mile areas selected to represent the Plant
City area. In this survey, special attention was given to ob-
taining information on non-farm income of farm operators and
also non-farm operators living in the area.

METHOD OF ANALYSIS
In preparing this report, data from the studies made in 1945
and 1948 have been used in describing recent farming and farm








Study of Farming in the Plant City Area 7



ro hnp4rhis


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p 7nTj LaGwf7nd
92 *c jn
-- 24 -u ." Y







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.. "'S I I













S, I.....TAT HU
Si - ar












*s, IN........... ... ................... .. .BUSINESS IND DWILLIH6
S ..................... ........ ROWS OR GROUPS OF DWELLINGS CLOSE SPAIC D
S....... .... ............................. ....TENANT HOU


Fig. 1.-Map of Plant City area.
Fig. 1.-Map of Plant City area.







8 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

practices and in pointing out some of the major agricultural
problems. Information obtained in the survey of labor and
materials used in producing individual crops were used in de-
termining the normal crop production practices. Data from
the farm business studies have been used in showing the organ-
ization of the farms, receipts and expenses, and some of the
changes that have taken place in the farming in the area. Mate-
rial from these studies was also used in studying factors that
affect farm income.
Two of the farms on which records were obtained in 1951
were selected for reorganization. Suggested farm plans were
developed and budgets prepared showing expected improvement
in farm income if the reorganization were made and improved
practices used. In developing the budgets, the actual acreage
of individual crops on each farm in 1951 was used. Production
was calculated in terms of normal practices and rates of pro-
duction. Cost and price relationships used were those that
existed in the Plant City area during the 1950-51 season. The
net farm incomes for the farms with normal practices were
compared with what could be expected had a higher level of
practices, such as higher rates of fertilizer and better disease
and insect control programs, been used. The budgets were
developed in terms of the normal for the area rather than using
the actual situation for the individual farm, for this gives a
better indication of what can be expected for the average farm.

DESCRIPTION OF THE AREA

LOCATION
This area, known as the "Plant City Trucking Area," is located
in eastern Hillsborough County. It consists of about 110 square
miles lying in townships 28 and 29 south, ranges 21 and 22 east
(Fig. 1). Plant City, which is approximately in the center of
the area, is 20 miles east of Tampa. Plant City and Dover serve
as the principal market outlets for strawberries and other
products.
PHYSICAL FEATURES
Soils and Topography. -The soils around Plant City are quite
variable. Sometimes several soil types are found on the small
acreage of an individual farm. In general "flatwoods" soils, in-
cluding Scranton, Rutlege and Leon soil types, predominate.
The Rutlege and Scranton soils have fine sands usually to








Study of Farming in the Plant City Area 9

depths more than 42 inches, while the Leon soils are underlain
at depths ranging from 16 to 30 inches with an organic hardpan
of varying permeability. A soil association map for the Plant
City area is shown in Fig. 2. The two most important associa-
tions are the somewhat poorly drained, dark colored sands and
the somewhat poorly drained sands with an organic hardpan.


R 21 E R22 E






::... _______ j






















Lesend! Somewhat poorly Very poorly
Well drained sands. drained sands with drained
an organic hardpan. organic soils.
Well drained sands -.Excessively or
"mixed with phospha- well drained, deep Swamps.
tic materials, sands.
colored sands sands



Source: From Soil Association Map of Hillsborough County, prepared by
Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta. and BPISAE and SCS of U. S. Dept. of Agr.

Fig, 2.-Soil association map of the Plant City area.
4 T I irr

















Fig, 2.--Soil association map of the Plant City area.







10 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

The best soil for growing truck crops is Scranton fine sand
(Table 1). This soil is dark gray to almost black in color and
retains moisture well. However, it is rarely found in large
tracts and usually there are less productive soils at lower or
higher elevations with graduations in between of the good and
poor soils. Rutlege fine sand is commonly used for truck crops
but it is less productive than Scranton in years of adverse
weather conditions. Leon soils are used primarily for pasture
and woodlands.

TABLE 1.-TYPES, CHARACTERISTICS AND COMPARATIVE COMMERCIAL
PRODUCTION RATINGS OF SOME HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY SOILS.*

Nat- Color of Comparative Ratings for
Soil Type ural Surface Commercial Production of
Drain- Soil Truck Improved
age Crop Citrus Pastures
Scranton fine sand poor dark gray good fair- fair
to black good
Rutlege fine sand poor dark gray fair poor fair-good
to black
Orlando fine sand good dark gray fair- good poor-fair
to almost good
black
Leon fine sand poor gray poor poor fair

Source: Preliminary Report, Land Use Planning, Hillsborough County, Florida, p. 7.
1941.

The topography of the area is flat to undulating. Natural
surface drainage is usually poor and drainage ditches and canals
have been constructed to facilitate removal of surface water.
Small acreages of higher, better drained land intersperse the
low areas. A great many farms include some of the higher,
better drained land along with the more prevalent low lands.
The more intensive truck crops-such as strawberries, peppers
and tomatoes-are planted on beds in the less well drained
lands; while the higher, better drained areas on individual farms
are used for producing citrus and less intensive truck crops,
such as field peas and market corn.
Climate.-The climate of the area is sub-tropical. The annual
mean temperature at Plant City is 71.5" F. (Table 2). Killing
frosts are rare although the temperature occasionally drops
below freezing during the winter months. The annual mean








Study of Farming in the Plant City Area 11

rainfall is 50.2 inches. Rainfall as shown in Fig. 3 is not equally
distributed throughout the year. The mean rainfall for the
five months period May through September is 34 inches as
compared with 16.2 inches for the other seven months of the
year.

TABLE 2.-MONTHLY MEAN TEMPERATURES AND AVERAGE TEMPERATURES IN
1945 AND 1951 AT PLANT CITY, FLORIDA.*
Mean
Month Tempera- Mean Temperature
ture ** 1945 1951
"F. 'F. "F.

January ...........-..-.........-........-. 61.0 60.4 61.6
February .........................----- ........ 62.1 67.0 61.6
M arch --..........................-.......---.. 66.5 72.2 67.6
April ..........--.......---- .................. 70.7 75.6 69.0
M ay -........--- ..........------....---....... 74.3 74.9 74.3
June .............------....-----... 79.8 81.4 80.3
July ..-........ ...... .........--........-... 81.0 80.7 81.5
August .............. --............. -..... .... 82.8 81.6 83.3
September ...........-...--. .... 79.6 81.0 81.8
October ............ ............-------------------. 73.6 75.2 76.1
November ...............-- ....-- --..--. - 66.0 65.4 64.7
December ..---... ......---. --... ...-. 61.0 60.9 67.0
Mean or Average -----------... ..--- 71.5 73.0 72.4

Source: U. S. Climatological Reports.
"** Average for the period 1895-1950.

A mild climate during the fall, winter, and spring is favorable
for the production of winter and spring vegetables and citrus
fruit. However, a mild climate and heavy rainfall are also favor-
able factors for the development of insects and plant diseases.
These tend to reduce yields and increase costs because of large
expenditures for insecticides and fungicides. Variation in cli-
matic conditions as found in this area-such as too much or too
little rain-may make it difficult for farmers to prepare their
land and plant at the proper time. Cool weather often prevents
healthy germination and growth. These hazards make it hard
for farmers to carry out a definite program and partly account
for some of the variation in acreages of crops in different years.

THE FARMING PATTERN

Trend in Agricultural Production.-The original crops planted
in the Plant City area have been superseded largely by vegetable







12 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

and truck crops. Listed among the leading early products were
Indian corn, sweet potatoes, molasses, cane sugar and cane syrup,
cotton, and Irish potatoes.


Inches
Actual



12




8 Mean \

6







J F M A M J J A SO N D J F M A M J J A S O N D
1945 1951

Fig. 3.-Monthly mean rainfall and actual rainfall in 1945 and 1951
at Plant City, Florida.

The first railroad was built to Plant City in 1870. Truck
farming began to develop about that time, with Tampa as the
leading market. However, trucking did not gain a place of
importance until around 1900 as the increased use of carlot
refrigeration opened up Northern markets for off-season truck
products. The U. S. Census of 1900 indicated that a change
in the type of agricultural enterprises around Plant City was
already underway.
Present Systems of Farming.-Small units are characteristic
of the farming in the Plant City area at the present time. Data
on AAA worksheets for 1943 on 259 farms showed that 59 per-
cent had 15 acres or less of cropland and 42 percent had 20 acres
or less of total farm land. Records obtained in 1948 on 39
truck farms on which citrus was grown and 72 truck farms







Study of Farming in the Plant City Area 13

on which citrus was not grown showed that cropland per farm
averaged 15 acres or less on 46 percent of the farms growing
citrus and 83 percent of the farms not growing citrus (Table
3). Farms with citrus had an average of 25.1 acres of crop-
land used for crops including citrus while farms that did not
grow citrus average 10.3 acres (Table 4).

TABLE 3.-VARIATION IN ACRES OF CROPLAND ON 39 FARMS GROWING CITRUS
AND 72 FARMS NOT GROWING CITRUS, PLANT CITY AREA, FLORIDA, 1948.

Number of Farms Percent of All Farms
Acres of Farms
Cropland Farms 1 Not All Farms *FarmsNot All
Growing Growing Farms Growing Growing Farms
Citrus Citrus Citrus Citrus
5.0 and less. 1 5 16 21 12.8 22.2 18.9
5.1-10.0 ........ 8 29 37 20.5 40.3 33.4
10.1-15.0 .... 5 15 20 12.8 20.8 18.0
15.1-20.0 ........ 5 6 11 12.8 8.3 9.9
20.1-25.0 ........ 4 2 6 10.3 2.8 5.4
25.1-30.0 ....... 1 1 2.6 0.9
30.1-35.0 ........ 2 2 2.8 1.8
35.1-40.0 ........ 4 1 5 10.3 1.4 4.5
40.1-45.0 ..... -
45.1-50.0 ....
50.1 and more 7 1 8 17.9 1.4 7.2

Total 39 72 111 100.0 100.0 100.0


The small area of cropland available on the average farm
is devoted to vegetable crops that require a large amount of
labor (Table 4). Double-cropping and interplanting are com-
mon practices. On many farms one to three acres are devoted
to strawberries, which are harvested from late December through
March; peppers or tomatoes are often planted between the
strawberry plants or are planted alone and are harvested in
April, May, and June. Less intensive spring truck crops such
as Southern peas, snap beans, squash, and corn may be grown
on the strawberry land not followed by peppers or tomatoes,
or they may be grown on other land. Because of the high cost
of fertilizer, spray material and labor, combined with hazards
of weather and price, most farmers produce several crops to
offset the possibility of a loss on any one crop. A number of
crops also gives a better use of resources and a fuller utilization
of family labor.







14 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

TABLE 4.-USE OF CROPLAND ON 39 FARMS GROWING CITRUS AND 72 FARMS
NOT GROWING CITRUS, PLANT CITY AREA, FLORIDA, 1948.

Farms Reporting Average Acres of
Item Specified Item Specified Item
Per Farm
Number Percent Reporting All Farms
Farms Growing Citrus

All citrus -...-................... 39 100 12.5 12.5
Peppers .--......................-.. 29 74 2.2 1.7
Strawberries -................... 22 56 2.8 1.6
Southern peas .................. 21 54 3.9 2.1
All corn -.............-............ 21 54 8.5 4.6
Squash .....-....................... 17 44 3.7 1.6
Tomatoes .........................-.. 12 31 2.7 0.8
Lima beans ........................ 10 26 1.6 0.4
Snap beans ....................... 10 26 2.0 0.5
Cucumbers -..............-....... 10 26 1.8 0.5
Okra .-...-........................-.... 2 5 1.2 0.1
Eggplant ......................-..- 4 10 1.5 0.2
Irish potatoes ..-............ 3 8 3.2 0.2
Other crops .................-..... 13 33 11.0 3.6
Total acres in crops .... 39 100 30.4
Double-cropped and
interplanted ............. 23 59 9.0 5.3
Acres used for crops .... 39 100 25.1 25.1

Farms Not Growing Citrus

Peppers ..........-- ..........---- ... 63 88 2.3 2.0
Strawberries ......- -...----..-- 47 65 2.2 1.5
Southern peas .....------...... 53 74 3.5 2.6
All corn ---......---..-..----. .. 53 74 4.1 3.0
Squash .....--..-- ...--..-.....--. 47 65 2.1 1.4
Tomatoes .........-------.....--.. 23 35 1.6 0.6
Lima beans ...-- .........-- ..- 21 29 1.5 0.4
Snap beans ............... . 20 28 1.6 0.4
Cucumbers ......-....-------. 18 25 1.9 0.5
Okra ..----...............- .. --- .... 16 22 1.0 0.2
Eggplant ..-......... ..- ....-.--- 14 19 1.6 0.3
Irish potatoes .......----... --5 7 1.0 0.1
Other crops ..--.....-........--. 21 29 1.9 0.6
Total acres in crops ... 72 100 13.6
Double-cropped and
interplanted ............. 57 65 4.1 3.3
Acres used for crops ... 72 100 10.3 10.3



In terms of cash income and labor requirements, strawberries
are by far the most important crop grown. In 1939, income
from strawberries contributed 61 percent of the value of all sales
on the Plant City Farmers' Market. During the war years
receipts from strawberries declined drastically amounting to
only 25 percent of all sales in 1944. By 1951, they regained







Study of Farming in the Plant City Area 15

some of their importance and accounted for 42 percent of the
value of total sales. Most of the strawberries grown in Hills-
borough County are grown around Plant City so the trend in
acres in the County is representative of this area. The acres
of strawberries harvested in Hillsborough County from 1928-29
to 1950-51 are shown in Fig. 4. The largest acreage during this
period was 4,600 in 1933 and the smallest acreage 600 in 1944.
Acreage increased to 4,550 in 1951. Factors that contributed
to the decline in acreage during the war were high cost and
scarcity of labor, increase in relative returns from competing
crops, and availability of off-the-farm employment.


Acres
Harvested


375C

3000

225c

1500c

750c

0 I I I I i I I 1 I -- 1 1 1i I I I l. I I1
1928-29 1933-3L 1938-39 1943-44 1948-L9
Season

Fig. 4.-Acres of Strawberries Harvested, Hillsborough County, Florida,
Seasons 1928-29 to 1950-51.

MARKET OUTLETS
Most of the products grown in the Plant City area are mar-
keted through the Plant City Farmers' Market at Plant City, the
Dover Market, and the Wholesale Produce Market at Tampa.
The Plant City market is the most important of the three.
Records of sales through the Plant City market for the market-
ing seasons 1938-39 to 1950-51 give a good indication of the
relative importance of the various crops as a source of income,
prices received, and also shifts in production that occurred dur-
ing the war and post-war periods (Table 5).










TABLE 5.-AVERAGE NUMBER OF UNITS OF PRODUCE SOLD PER SEASON AND AVERAGE PRICE PER UNIT, 1939-42, 1943-46, 1947-50,
1951 AND 1939-51, PLANT CITY STATE FARMERS' MARKET, PLANT CITY, FLORIDA.*

Commodity i Unit Average Number of Units Sold Average Price per Unit
1939-42 1943-46 1947-50 1951 1939-51 1939-42 1943-46 1947-50 1951 11939-51
No. No. No. No. No. Dol. Dol. Dol. Dol. Dol.

Beans, snap Bu. Hpr. 115,379 52,855 38,241 25,633 65,502 1.39 2.52 2.79 2.36 1.95
Beans, pole Bu. Hpr. 3,845 1,932 16,164 51,067 10,679 2.33 3.16 4.81 3.87 4.10
Beans, baby lima Bu. Hpr. 18,284 14,742 12,415 16,843 15,277 1.78 4.51 4.00 3.38 3.28
Beans, butter Bu. Hpr. -- 10,466 16,793 4,512 3.58 3.36 3.52
Beans, Fordhook lima Bu. Hpr. 10,905 5,397 3,815 5,752 6,632 1.58 4.79 3.73 3.03 2.86
Corn, green 5 doz. crate 28,720 13,304 13,692 4,405 17,482 1.25 2.27 2.23 1.63 1.73
Cucumbers, fancy Bu. tubs 30,569 13,165 23,082 14,805 21,698 1.49 4.28 4.00 2.27 2.87
Cucumbers, choice
and grade Bu. tubs 5,306 3,141 1,874 1.94 1.19 1.85
Eggplant Bu. Hpr. 7,996 8,192 21,281 18,537 12,954 1.28 1.43 1.55 1.52 1.47
Okra Bu. Hpr. 5,928 4,793 7,962 23,712 7,573 3.02 7.48 6.70 7.12 6.07
Peas, Southern Bu. Hpr. 51,845 83,628 115,262 179,431 90,952 1.36 2.30 1.99 1.66 1.92
Peppers, bell fancy Bu. Hpr. 112,516 123,155 167,536 164,640 136,728 1.97 3.07 3.71 2.55 2.99
Peppers, bell choice Bu. Hpr. 45,431 47,106 17,602 1.01 .83 .97
Potatoes, No. 1 Bu. Hpr. 28,156 19,081 14,853 15,457 19,614 1.04 2.50 2.52 1.91 1.84
Squash, yellow fancy Bu. Hpr. 41,762 41,463 54,279 73,160 47,936 1.81 2.82 3.19 1.92 2.57
Squash, yellow jumbo Bu. Hpr. 4,545 9,990 13,061 5,477 1.80 1.16 .85 1.26
Squash, white fancy Bu. Hpr. 5,974 4,744 5,866 4,261 5,430 .96 2.06 2.14 1.59 1.69
Squash, white jumbo Bu. Hpr. 591 606 228 1.05 .73 .99
Tomatoes Bu. Hpr. 111,934 48,358 37,363 56,458 65,160 2.31 3.47 3.27 2.74 2.77
Strawberries 36 pt. crate 222,140 66,610 104,485 126,858 130,753 4.61 8.53 9.10 8.50 6.62
Strawberries ** 24 qt. crate 17,056 31,559 32,918 17,491 4.75 3.32 4.92 3.98

Value of all truck
crops sold $1,000 2,019 1,941 2,825 2,980 2,316

Source: Commodity reports from R. E. Johnson. Plant City State Farmers' Market. Season begins July 1, of preceding year and ends June 30.
of year indicated.
"** No. 2's and field run for cold pack.








Study of Farming in the Plant City Area 17

During the 13-year period covered by these data, the number
of units sold on the market decreased considerably for straw-
berries, tomatoes, snap beans, potatoes and corn. However,
substantial increases occurred for peppers, Southern peas, okra,
pole beans, fancy yellow squash and eggplant. The price, per
unit of most products showed fairly large increases, but prices
of many products in 1951 were lower than the average for the
four-year period, 1947-50. During the seasons 1939-42, straw-
berries accounted for 51 percent of the value of all vegetables
sold, but only 31 percent in 1947-50 and 42 percent in 1951. The
proportion that peppers were of the total value increased from
11 percent during the 1939-42 period to 24 percent during the
1947-50 period, but amounted to only 15 percent in 1951.
The harvest season usually begins with strawberries in De-
cember or January and continues with various crops until June.
Marketing is a relatively expensive and a time-consuming opera-
tion on most farms, for the various truck crops grown are
usually "picked over" a number of times during the harvest

Fig. 5.-Number of cars and trucks waiting in line indicates activity
on Plant City State Farmers' Market. (Photograph courtesy R. E. Johnson.)
_ _-. --- .






W





Alp!t




do








18 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

period. All produce normally is marketed the day it is harvested
or the following day, so one or more trips to market are usually
necessary each day any crop is harvested. A survey in 1946
of 213 farms using the Plant City Market showed that the
average producer made 81 trips per season to market. The
average time required to travel to the market, sell produce and
return to the farm was 2.9 hours 2 (Fig. 5). Some farmers sold
produce on other markets in addition to the Plant City Market
so this means marketing consumed about one-sixth of one man's
time during the harvest period.

POPULATION
There has been a rapid growth in the population of Plant
City and the surrounding area during the last 50 years. Start-
ing from a village of 349 persons in 1890, Plant City increased
in population to 9,230 by 1950 (Fig. 6). The largest increase
occurred between 1920 and 1930.


Population
8,000

6,000

4,000-

2,000 .


1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 19l10 1950
Source: U. S. Census Reports Tear

Fig. 6.-Population growth in Plant City, Florida, 1890-1950.

A study of the age-sex structure of the population in rural
precincts surrounding Plant City show that in 1940 children
and young people were relatively numerous and persons 65 years
or older were proportionally fewer than for the state as a whole
(Table 6). In the rural area around Plant City slightly more
than one-third of the population was under 15 years of age,
compared to only about one-fourth for the state as a whole.

The Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market of Tampa, Florida, by
William H. Elliott, A. B. Lowstuter, A. H. Spurlock and G. B. Hogan.
Mimeograph report, Production and Marketing Administration, Marketing
Facilities Branch, April 1947, pp. 32-36.







Study of Farming in the Plant City Area 19

The age-sex structure is an outgrowth of many influences,
among which are natural increases and a heavy immigration of
white persons largely from the Southeastern states. New land,
which encouraged pioneer settlement, is now limited. It will
become increasingly difficult for the land resources to support
the expanding population unless additional non-agricultural em-
ployment is provided in or near Plant City or many of the
youths leave the community to live in other areas. How well
the youths will be prepared for non-farm occupations will de-
pend largely upon the type of training provided in the local
schools.
OFF-THE-FARM EMPLOYMENT

Many of the farm people in the Plant City area already engage
in off-the-farm work in order to supplement farm incomes. In
addition, there are a number of people living in the rural area
who do not farm, but obtain all of their income from non-farm
sources. Data showing the pattern of employment in gainful
occupations for the Plant City area are not available. Em-
ployment information that is available for Hillsborough County
is believed to indicate the employment situation in the Plant
City area.

TABLE 6.-PROPORTION OF THE POPULATION BY SEX IN THE PLANT CITY
AREA AND FLORIDA IN DIFFERENT AGE GROUPS, 1940.

Male Female
Rural Rural
Precincts Precincts
Item 47 to 54 Plant Florida 47 to 54 Plant Florida
Inclu- City Inclu- I City
sive sive *
Percent Percent Percent Percent Percent Percent
Under 5 years 11.2 8.4 8.1 11.6 9.2 7.9
5-14 ........... 22.6 19.1 17.4 24.4 17.7 16.8
15-24 ............ 20.0 17.5 17.4 19.8 19.9 18.4
25-44 ......... i 24.7 30.2 31.2 25.7 29.5 32.1
45-64 .......... 16.4 18.6 18.8 14.6 18.3 18.1
65 and over 5.1 6.2 7.1 3.9 5.4 6.7

Total ..... .. 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Total
Population 8,421 3,595 943,123 7,755 3,896 954,291

*Precincts are now designated as 63 to 72, inclusive, plus 75 and 76. Source: U. S.
Census Reports.







20 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

In 1940, according to the United States Census, 44 percent
of the farm operators in Hillsborough County reported off-the-
farm work.3 Of those working off the farm, 96 percent worked
100 days or more. Farmers who worked in industry averaged
220 days per year off-the-farm employment, compared to 146
days for those who worked on other farms. Full owners worked
off their farms 227 days, as compared to 110 days for tenants.
According to the 1950 Census, 42 percent of the operators re-
ported off-farm work. However, only 81 percent of those work-
ing off worked 100 days or more.
During the war, there was a great increase in non-farm em-
ployment opportunities at the shipyards in Tampa and in other
war industries. Many farmers reduced the scale of their farm
operations and others ceased farming entirely. After the war
some of the available opportunities for non-farm employment
decreased, but the number of people working off the farm con-
tinued to be greater than before the war.
In the survey made in 1948, information was obtained on
sources and amounts of non-farm income for both farm and
non-farm operators and members of the family living in opera-
tor's household. A complete enumeration was made for all
units in nine selected areas. Records were obtained for 111
operating farm units and 82 units that were classified as rural
residences.4 The average number of people living in the opera-
tor's household was 3.9 in the farm unit and 4.3 in the rural
residences (Table 7).

SIn considering these off-the-farm employment data, one should bear
in mind that the 1940 Census defined a farm as follows: "A farm for
census purposes is all the land on which some agricultural operations are
performed by one person; either by his own labor alone or with the as-
sistance of members of his household or hired employees." Any tract of
less than three acres was excluded as a farm unless its agricultural pro-
duction in 1939 was valued at $250 or more. Obviously, according to this
definition, any small acreages that are used primarily as residences for
non-farm workers are included as farms. The data do suggest widespread
off-the-farm employment in the Plant City area, which is confirmed by ob-
servation.
"Rural residents were units occupied by people that did not actively
engage in agriculture. They worked in various occupations or were too
old to do much work. If they had suitable land it was usually rented out
to active farmers in the area. In a few cases the land was lying idle. In
the group classified as rural residences, 31 rented a house and lot and 12
owned a house and lot of one acre or less. Twenty-nine people in this
group operated 3 acres of land or more and would have been classified as
farms by the Census. This land was in woods, open pasture or was in
cropland lying idle so these units were classified as rural residences. The
average amount of land operated by this group was 10.6 acres.








Study of Farming in the Plant City Area 21

TABLE 7.-AVERAGE NUMBER OF PERSONS LIVING IN OPERATOR'S HOUSEHOLD,
PLANT CITY AREA, FLORIDA.*

Item Operating Farm Units Rural Residences

Total number of units ....... 111 82
Members of the family:
Males:
15 years and over ...... 1.2 1.2
Under 15 years .......... 0.7 0.7
Females:
15 years and over ........ 1.2 1.2
Under 15 years ............ 0.7 0.9
Other .............................-...-.. 0.1 0.3

Total ....................... 3.9 4.3

Season July 1, 1947 to June 30, 1948.

On the operating farm units, 24 of the operators worked off-
the-farm all or a part of the time, nine received pensions, social
security or disability payments, three were farming under the
G. I. training program and four received income from doing
custom work with their equipment (Table 8). In addition to
the operator, others working off the farm were 10 wives, eight
sons, two daughters, and one son-in-law. The average non-
farm income for all farms was $1,052. Sixty-eight of the opera-
tors classified as rural residents engaged in outside employment
and their average earnings were $1,983. In addition, 16 members
of the family also worked part or all the time. The average in-
come for all sources on these units was $2,132.
Table 9 shows by major occupations the average months
worked and the average earning of people that engaged in "out-
side" employment. Census classifications were used in classify-
ing occupations. These people were engaged in many different
occupations. Classified by major occupations, operatives and
kindred workers were the most important group, craftsmen,
foremen and kindred workers second, farm laborers third and
professional workers fourth. The average length of time that
farm operators worked was 9.6 months, and non-farm operators
10.9 months. Many of the farm operators working off the farm
were employed in full-time work, and the farm work was done
mainly by members of the family and hired labor.









22 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

TABLE 8.-NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS RECEIVING OUTSIDE INCOME AND
AVERAGE AMOUNT OF NON-FARM INCOME FOR PERSONS IN OPERATOR'S
HOUSEHOLD, PLANT CITY AREA, FLORIDA, JULY 1, 1947, TO JUNE 30,
1948.

Operating Farm Units Rural Residents
Average Income Average Income
Source of Income Per In- Per In-
No. dividual Per Unit No. dividual Per Unit
Re- All Re- All
ceiving Units ceiving Units

Total number of
units ..-................... 111 82
Operators

Pensions .---............. 9 $ 816 $ 66 10 $ 914 $ 111
G. I. Training ....... 3 1,390 38
Rentals and interest 1 2,000 18 3 2,108 77
Custom machine ....
work ...-- ......-.. .... 4 1,362 49
Outside employment 24 2,362 511 68 1,983 1,645

Total and average 40** 1,891 682 80** 1,878 1,833
___________________ _______________ ___________
Others in Operator's Household

Pensions ........... 2 630 11 2 498 12
Outside employment 21 1,897 359 16 1,472 287

Total and average 23 1,786 370 18 1,364 299

Grand Total and
Average ...... 63** 1,853 1,052 98* 1,784 2,132

Pensions, social security, disability payments, etc.
** Corrected for one individual reported in two places.

SUMMARY OF FARM BUSINESS STUDIES
As indicated in the introduction, considerable shifts have oc-
curred in the agriculture of the Plant City area. These have
been caused by a number of factors such as improvements in
transportation, increased competition from other areas, mechan-
ization, and changes in technology. Some of the changes that
have taken place on the commercial farms in the area are re-
flected in summaries of farm management studies covering the
seasons ending in 1945, 1932, 1927, 1922, and 1917 to 1922 inclu-
sive.








Study of Farming in the Plant City Area 23

Summaries relating to various phases of the farm business
are presented in Tables 10 to 17. They include records on 52
farms for 1945, 112 farms for 1932, 113 farms for 1927, 100
farms for 1922, and an average of 100 farms for 1917-1922.
These data are believed to be sufficiently representative of full

TABLE 9.-NUMBER OF EMPLOYED WORKERS, AVERAGE TIME WORKED AND
AVERAGE EARNINGS BY MAJOR OCCUPATIONS, PLANT CITY AREA, FLORIDA,
JULY 1, 1947, TO JUNE 30, 1948.

Operating Farm Units I Rural Residents
Major Occupation No. | No. of No. No. of
Em- Months Average, Em- Months Average
| loyedi Worked Earnings'ployed Worked Earnings
Operators

Operatives and kindred
workers ..................... 6 11.3 $2,513 24 10.8 $1,937
Craftmen, foremen and
kindred workers ........ 5 6.4 1,307 13 10.0 2,366
Farm laborers ............ 2 5.0 500 10 9.0 911
Professional workers 2 11.0 3,135 7 11.7 2,882
Proprietors, managers
and officials except
farm ............................ 4 10.5 4,116 5 12.0 2,076
Service workers except
domestic ..........-- ..- 2 12.0 1,710 5 10.4 1,408
Laborers except farm 5 10.8 1,660
Clerical, sales and
kindred workers ... 3 12.0 2,641 1 12.0 2,600


Total and average 24 9.6 2,362 68*'* 10.9 1,983

Others in Operator's Household

Operatives and kindred
workers ..-.................- 12 9.9 1,582 7 7.7 1,297
Craftmen, foremen and
kindred workers ...... 1 12.0 1,500
Farm laborers ..-........... 1 3 9.7 1,160
Professional workers .. 5 10.8 2,752 2 10.0 2,750
Service workers except I
domestic ....-- ...........-.. 1 9.0 1,820 1 9.0 400
Laborers except farm .. 1 ** I* -
Clerical, sales and
kindred workers .... 1 12.0 3,000 2 12.0 1,795

Total and average 21 10.2t 1,997t 16 9.2 1,472

Grand Total and
average ............ 45 10.0 2,145 84 10.6 1,886
"* Corrected for two people engaged in two different occupations.
** Data not obtained.
"y Does not include farm laborer and laborers except farm.







24 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

time farms in the area to give a reasonably accurate picture
of the average situation on such farms. In recent years, there
appears to have been an increase in part-time farms, that is
farms on which the operators obtain a substantial part of their
income from non-farm sources. These data cover full operating
units. If the operator worked off-the-farm, the amount of earn-
ings were included in other income. Such units were summarized
with other units and no separate summary was made for part-
time farms.
GENERAL LAND USE
Farms in the Plant City area are relatively small in terms
of cropland and total acreage. Over the period covered in the
various studies, there was a slight decrease in acres in cropland
and a considerable decrease in total acres operated. The greatest
change was in the amount of woodland (Table 10). In 1945 crop-
land per farm averaged 16.6 acres compared to 16.3 acres in
1932 and a high of 19.0 acres in 1927. Total acres per farm
was 39.8 for the farm studied in 1945, but averaged 52.7 acres
during the 1917-1922 period. In 1945, slightly less than half
of the total land area was in cropland.

TABLE 10.-GENERAL LAND USE, PLANT CITY AREA, FLORIDA, 1945, 1932,
1927, 1922 AND AVERAGE 1917 TO 1922.
SAverage
Item 1945 1932 | 1927 1922 1917-1922
Average Acres per Farm

Cropland ................ 16.6 16.3 19.0 18.1 18.9
Tillable land idle ......--- .... 2.3 2.8 2.2 3.4 2.2
Open pasture ...................... 4.2 0.7 0.9 0.9 1.0
W oodland ......................... 15.2 10.7 17.4 25.4 26.8
Farmstead, roads, waste .. 1.5 2.6 2.6 3.6 3.8

Total .--.................... 9.8 33.1 42.1 51.4 52.7

Percent of Total

Croplands .--.......-.....- ---.. 41.7 49.3 45.1 35.2 35.9
Tillable land idle ................ 5.8 8.4 5.2 6.6 4.2
Open pasture ..----............... .. 10.5 2.1 2.2 1.8 1.9
W oodland ......................-- ... 38.2 32.3 41.3 49.4 50.8
Farmstead, roads, waste .. 3.8 7.9 6.2 7.0 7.2

Total ....................- 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
~I__ ________________ L








Study of Farming in the Plant City Area 25

CROPS GROWN

Average acres of crops per farm are given in Table 11. In
1945 the acreage in strawberries was less than in other years
shown. Over the period covered there was a substantial increase
in acres in Southern peas, green peppers, squash and green
corn, and a decrease in snap beans, cabbage, cucumbers, and
watermelons. There was also a decrease in the amount of land
planted to feed crops.

TABLE 11.-CROPS GROWN, PLANT CITY AREA, FLORIDA, 1945, 1932, 1927,
1922 AND AVERAGE 1917 TO 1922.

SAverage
Crops 1945 1932 1927 1922 1917-1922

Acres of truck:
Southern peas .......... 3.4 0.2 2.5 1.1 0.6
Peppers ..................... 2.9 2.1 0.9 0.1 0.2
Squash ..........- ....... 1.9 0.3 0.3 *
Tomatoes ..................... 1.4 1.4 3.1 2.0 1.3
Strawberries ........... 1.3 4.8 3.2 2.4 1.6
Snap beans ...... ...-.... 1.1 1.0 2.2 2.9 2.1
Green corn ................. 1.0 0.2 1.0 0.7 0.5
Irish potatoes .......... 0.9 0.1 0.9 1.1 2.0
Cabbage ..................... 0.3 0.2 0.4 1.3 1.1
Cucumbers --.....----.... 0.2 0.2 0.5 1.1 0.8
Watermelons ........ 0.2 0.5 0.6 0.4
Other truck ...... .... 1.3 1.5 0.5 1.3 1.9

Total .... ... .. .. 15.9 12.0 16.0 14.6 12.5

Bearing Citrus:
Oranges ....- ...- ..-.. .. 1.8 3.7 4.8 2.0 1.8
Grapefruit ........... 0.4 0.2 0.2 0.2
Tangerines .............. 0.2 0.1

Total .. .......... 1.8 4.3 5.1 2.2 2.0

Non-bearing Citrus ...... 0.3 0.5 0.8 3.0 2.1
General crops:
Corn for grain ........ 4.7 4.6 5.2 6.4 10.0
Hay .........- ..........-.. 0.1 2.0 2.0 2.3
Other ........... ............ 0.3 0.4 1.0 1.2 3.0

Total ........ ....... 5.0 5.1 8.2 9.6 15.3

Total acres of crops ... 23.0 21.9 30.1 29.4 31.9
Acres re-cropped .... 6.4 5.6 11.1 11.3 13.0

Acres used for crops ..... 16.6 16.3 19.0 18.1 18.9
Less than one-tenth.
** Included under other.

The shifts in acres of individual crops are believed to re-
flect changes in the relative profitableness of the crops. Profit-








26 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

ableness may increase or decrease due to a change in the price
of the product or a change in the cost of producing the product,
or both. Lack of labor may make it impossible to handle certain
enterprises although the price is such as to make them relatively
profitable. Farmers faced with a shortage of labor tend to direct
their production into lines that require less labor. They also
tend to select those enterprises that appear to offer the greatest
opportunity for profits.
During the four periods covered in this study, farmers in the
Plant City area turned to peppers-which are somewhat less
intensive than strawberries-and to field peas, squash and green
corn, which require much less labor. For example, in 1945
the strawberry acreage was only 8 percent of the total acres
in truck crops while in 1932 it amounted to 40 percent. On the
other hand, the acreage of Southern peas, peppers, squash and
green corn amounted to 63 percent of the total acres in truck
crops in 1945 but was 23 percent in 1932. In 1945, only 39
percent of the total acres used for crops was double-cropped
compared to 69 percent for the period 1917-1922.
Yield per Acre.-Per acre yield of important crops is given in
Table 12. No significant trends in yields are indicated. In 1945,
however, the yields of cucumbers and cabbage were substantially
above previous years. Considerable fluctuation occurred in yields
of individual crops from year to year.

TABLE 12.-YIELDS PER ACRE OF SPECIFIED CROPS, PLANT CITY AREA,
FLORIDA, 1945, 1932, 1927 AND AVERAGE 1917 TO 1922.
Average
Item | Unit 1945 1932 1927 1917-1922

Strawberries .............. Pints 4,406 4,282 4,440 4,086
Peppers ............. Bushel 283 96 245 196
Squash ..... .... ..... Bushel 76 43 146 74
Tomatoes ............... Bushel 60 i 70 66 59
Snap beans .......... Bushel 42 56 79 76
Green corn ......... 5 Doz. 22 31 42 23
Irish potatoes ...... Bushel 50 78 56 63
Cucumbers ....... I Bushel 160 65 88 110
Cabbage ................ Crate 200 142 90 99
Eggplant .......... Bushel 404 204 413 176


FARM CAPITAL

Each time a survey was made the farm operators were asked
to estimate the value of their land, buildings and other capital
resources. Values fluctuated considerably over the period, de-









Study of Farming in the Plant City Area 27

TABLE 13.-AVERAGE FARM CAPITAL, PLANT CITY AREA, FLORIDA, 1945,
1932, 1927, 1922 AND AVERAGE 1917 TO 1922.

Average
Item ] 1945 1932 1927 1922 1917-1922
Average Investment per Farm:

Land .......................-............ $4,725 $5,634 $12,132 $6,717 $5,286
Dwelling .....-----------............. 1,706 1,340 1,959 1,109 901
Other buildings .............. 777 683 671 356 276

Total real estate ........ $7,208 $7,657 $14,762 $8,182 $6,463

Livestock .----.......-------......... 407 212 309 538 580
Machinery .---....--..-..-......... 556 315 572 291 236
Irrigation equipment ......... -507 131 61 129 92
Feed and supplies .............. 87 88 123 165 183
Cash ........................................ *- 326 354 308

Total capital .----------- $8,765 $8,403 $16,153 $9,659 $7,862

Percent of Total Investment:

Land ....-... ... ...-- ..--- ............. 54 67 75 70 67
Dwelling .......................-....... 19 16 12 11 12
Other buildings .............. .. 9 8 4 4 4

Total real estate ....... 82 91 91 85 83

Livestock ............................. 5 2 2 5 7
M achinery ............................ 6 4 4 3 3
Irrigation equipment .......... 6 2 1 1
Feed and supplies ............. 1 1 1 2 2
Cash ........................................ 2 4 4

Total capital- ........--.-.. 100 100 100 100 100

Investment per Acre in:

Land ...--------------------..-- $ 119 $ 170 $ 288 $ 131 $100
Dwelling ....--...........--- ......--------......... 43 1 40 46 21 17
Other buildings ................. 19 21 16 7 5

Total real estate ....... $ 181 $ 231 $ 350 $ 159 $ 122

Livestock -...-.--- -...-.....-.... 10 6 7 10 11
Machinery .-- ....-- ..-- ..-- .. 14 10 14 6 5
Irrigation equipment ......... 13 4 1 3 2
Feed and supplies .............. 2 3 3 3 3
Cash ..................---------....----- 8 71 6

Total capital ..--.........- $ 220 $ 254 $ 383 $ 188 $ 149

Data not obtained
** Less than 0.5 percent.








28 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

pending on economic conditions. The total investment per
farm in 1945 amounted to $8,765 (Table 13). This was within
$1,000 of the investment per farm in all other years except
1927. In that year the average investment per farm was $16,153.
Much of this valuation was due to the high value of $288 per
acre placed on land. This was more than double the value of
$119 per acre placed on land in 1945. Land amounted to 54
percent of the total investment in 1945 which was less than
any other year by more than 10 percent. On the other hand,
the value of dwellings and other buildings in 1945 was 28 per-
cent of the total investment, which was a greater proportion
than any other year.
Of considerable significance is the relatively small proportion
of total investment represented by livestock and machinery,
which amounted to 5 and 6 percent, respectively, of the total
investment in 1945. A distinct increase in mechanization has
occurred since 1945. At present the majority of farmers are
using mechanized equipment either through ownership or cus-
tom work. Investment in irrigation equipment amounted to 6
percent of the total investment in 1945, compared to 2 percent
or less in previous periods. Owing to recent increases in irriga-
tion in the area it seems likely that investment in irrigation
equipment would now constitute a larger proportion of the total
investment.
FARM RECEIPTS
Gross farm receipts in 1945 amounted to $6,560, or more than
double the amount of any other year except 1927. Gross receipts
that year totaled $4,180 (Table 14). Receipts from crops ac-
counted for 91 percent or more of the total receipts in each
survey (Table 15). Sales of strawberries were the major source
of income every year except 1945, when they were second to
peppers. In 1945, sales of strawberries accounted for only 22
percent of the gross receipts, compared to 60 percent in 1932.
In 1945, income from peppers, squash, eggplant, and Southern
peas increased relative to other sources, while income from
snap beans and Irish potatoes declined. There was an increase
in other income which represented more off-farm employment.
Changes in sources of income on these farms are similar to
those shown by sales on the Plant City Market as given in
Table 5.
Prices per unit for most commodities in 1945 were about
double the price in any of the other years (Table 15). In turn,








Study of Farming in the Plant City Area 29

receipts per acre were much higher than in other years. Over
the period of these surveys income from peppers showed the
largest relative increase, and income from strawberries the
largest decrease.

TABLE 14.-SouRCES OF FARM RECEIPTS, PLANT CITY AREA, FLORIDA, 1945,
1932, 1927, 1922 AND AVERAGE 1917 TO 1922.
Average
Item 1945 1932 1927 1922 1917-1922

Crops:
Strawberries .................-.... $1,430 $1,817 $1,763 $1,515 $ 913
Oranges ............................. 289 254 522 258 355
Tomatoes -...---....-..-..-.....-----.. 338 160 411 201 191
Snap beans ......................... 139 147 301 303 255
Peppers ...............-......--...-- 2,316 325 285 28 33
Irish potatoes .................-.... 94 7 83 180 248
Grapefruit ............................ 14 26 80 27 28
Berry plants ...................... 15 73 72 107 42
Cucumbers .......--.....----- 189 32 70 103 140
Green corn .......................... 51 7 51 23 21
Squash .................................. 408 13 49 18 17
Eggplant .-.................---.. --- 268 35 33 4 21
Cabbage ............................. 106 19 33 45 165
W atermelons .--................... 41 30 4 11
Okra .....---------......... ...-..-... 5 4 27 14 12
Sweet potatoes ............... 13 9 5 16
Sugar cane ......-................. 4 9 55 82
Southern peas --........ ..... 188 4 *
Other crops ........................ 207 34 76 21 64

Total crops ..-.......-........--- $6,098 $2,974 $3,904 $2,911 $2,614


Livestock and Products:
Dairy products ................... 9 10 9 3 5
Cattle .........- ........................ 97 9 18 11 43
Horse and colts .................. 20 1 1 3
H ogs ...................................... 11 6 11 9 50
Poultry ............- ........--- 27 7 43 24 28
Eggs ......-..--------.....- ....-.....-... 54 13 88 81 66
W orkstock .......................... 28 5 10 5

Total -.........$................ $ 246 $ 51 $ 179 $ 129 $ 200

Increase in feeds ................ 11 35 14

Other receipts: ....................... 205 27 62 33 48

Grand total ...................... $6,560 $3,052 $4,180 $3,073 $2,876
Less than one dollar.

FARM EXPENSE

Gross farm expenses in 1945 amounted to $4,759 (Table 16).
This was more than 11/2 times as much as expenses in 1927,
and more than double expenses in other years. The largest









30 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

TABLE 15.-PERCENT RECEIPTS FROM INDIVIDUAL ENTERPRISES WERE OF
TOTAL RECEIPTS, PRICE RECEIVED PER UNIT AND RECEIPTS PER ACRE FOR
SPECIFIED CROPS, PLANT CITY AREA, FLORIDA, 1945, 1932, 1927 AND
AVERAGE 1917 TO 1922.

Average
Item Unit 1945 1932 1927 1917-1922

Percent of Total Receipts

Strawberries ..----.........---. Pints 21.8 59.6 42.1 31.7
Peppers ......-. .-- --....-........-- Bushel 35.3 10.6 6.8 1.1
Squash .-......---.............. -- Bushel 6.2 .4 1.2 .6
Tomatoes ---.....- -..-...-..... Bushel 5.2 5.2 9.8 6.6
Snap beans .............-.... Bushel 2.1 4.8 7.2 8.9
Green corn -............. 5 doz. .8 .2 1.2 .7
Irish potatoes ...- .......... Bushel 1.5 .2 2.0 8.6
Cucumbers ..................... Bushel 2.9 1.1 1.7 4.9
Cabbage -..................- .. Crate 1.6 .6 .8 5.8
Eggplant ......-- .......- ...-- ... Bushel 4.1 1.2 .8 .7
Southern peas ...-..---........-. Bushel 2.9 .1 *
Citrus -....-..- ..-.. ....-....---- .. Box 4.6 9.2 14.5 13.3
Other .........-...................... --4.0 4.2 5.3 7.9

Total crops .........- 93.0 97.4 93.4 90.8

Livestock and products ...- 3.7 1.7 4.3 7.0
Other ............................... 3.3 .9 2.3 2.2
Total ....-.........- 100.0 100.0 100.0 i 100.0
100.0 __________________

Price per Unit

Strawberries ................... ---- Pints $ .254 $ .094 $ .125 $ .145
Peppers .......-.................---. Bushel 2.790 1.540 1.300 1.130
Squash ......-------.--..... Bushel 2.940 1.180 1.000 1.040
Tomatoes ---....................... Bushel 4.060 1.740 1.990 2.470
Snap beans -...........-.....- Bushel 2.930 2.630 1.770 1.740
Green corn ............--......- 5 doz. 2.440 1.240 1.150 2.090
Irish potatoes ..............-... Bushel 2.160 1.600 1.690 2.190
Cucumbers ....................... Bushel 4.830 2.610 1.660 1.670
Cabbage .-...--.....-- ..-......... Crate 2.030 .600 .950 1.510
Eggplant .............. ....... Bushel 2.070 .700 1.140 1.100

Receipts per Acre

Strawberries- ................. Pints $1,121 $ 379 $ 548 $ 595
Peppers .......--....-...-...- Bushel 791 153 319 203
Squash ............-....--- ...... Bushel 215 50 148 75
Tomatoes ...............---- .. Bushel 245 110 131 151
Snap beans ... ...-----....-- Bushel 123 146 140 129
Green corn .................-..- 5 doz. 55 38 48 46
Irish potatoes .---------..... Bushel 108 99 95 130
Cucumbers ..................-. Bushel 774 167 147 179
Cabbage ......-- ...-- ..----- ....- Crate 405 85 85 176
Eggplant ... .--- ..--..... Bushel 836 141 470 192

Less than .05 percent.








Study of Farming in the Plant City Area 31

item of expense each year was labor; this amounted to about
50 percent of the total expenses in 1945 and 1932 and about
40 percent in other years. The amount of cropper labor in
1945 was substantially greater than in other years. From 12 to
24 percent of the labor charge each period was for family labor.
Actually, the farm operator did not pay cash for family labor,
so the charge is based on what the farmer would have had to
pay to hire the work of the family done. In making compari-
sons between farms in studies such as these, it is necessary to
show the value of family labor as an expense item, otherwise
farms using family labor would appear at an advantage with
those that hired all of their labor.

TABLE 16.-ITEMS OF FARM EXPENSES, PLANT CITY AREA, FLORIDA, 1945,
1932, 1927, 1922, AND AVERAGE 1917 TO 1922.
SAverage
Item __ 1945 1932' 1927 1922 1917-1922

Labor:
Hired labor ...-...--------- $ 264 $ 208 $ 334 $ 215 $ 213
Cropper labor ...---....--.-- 1,443 390 565 350 153
Family labor ............. ..... 484 118 198 177 161
Contract and other ............ 214 308 194 181 151

Total ................ ............. $2,405 $1,024 $1,291 $ 923 $ 678

Fertilizers ...................... ..---- 432 253 443 396 352
Containers ......------... ---....-...... 297 141 164 113 141
Seeds and plants .................... 198 129 107 111 102
Feed ......-...............................- 335 68 193 136 103
Auto, truck and tractor
for farm use .................- 276 116 133 122 67
Repairs:
Machinery ..........................-- 12 18 34 11 11
Building ...............-------- ..---- .. 89 21 56 30 1 28
Depreciation:
Machinery ...................-...... 104 60 158 38 30
Building .................. -....... .. 115 58 162 63 55
Decrease in inventory:
Feed ..............-.............---.. .. 84 62 10 98 21
Livestock .............................. 115 17 52 80 58
Taxes .....................................- 12 54 77 49 36
Irrigation system ................. 19 8 6 8 6
Fuel and oil .......--- ......--- 48 7 49 9 6
Spray and dust material .... 59 24 17 8 5
Team and machine work hired 60 11 13 1 3
All other items................... 99 21 29 29 19

Total .......... --------.. 4,759 2,092 2,994 2,225 1,721

Expenses for fertilizer increased over the years covered, but
the proportion of total expenses spent for fertilizer was less
in 1945 than in 1917-22. However expenses for auto, truck








32 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

and tractor for farm use, fuel and oil, spray and dust material,
team and machine work hired and irrigation increased in rela-
tive importance. In 1945, expenses per dollar of receipts
amounted to 73 cents, whereas during the period 1917-22 the
amount was 60 cents.

FARM RETURNS
A number of different measures of farm returns are given in
Table 17, the most important of which are farm income, labor
income, and return to capital. Farm income is the difference
between gross farm receipts and gross farm expenses. It is in
effect a measure of what the farm operator gets for his labor
and management and for the use of the capital invested in the
farm business. Labor income is calculated by subtracting in-
terest on the average capital invested for the year at a specified
rate from farm income. It is a measure of what the operator
gets for his labor and management after allowing a charge for
the use of capital. Return to capital is calculated by subtracting
the estimated value of operators labor from farm income. In
considering all of these measures it should be remembered that
they do not include any value for family living-such as food
and dwelling-that the farm operator gets from his farm.

TABLE 17.-SUMMARY OF FARM RETURNS, PLANT CITY AREA, FLORIDA, 1945,
1932, 1927, 1922, AND AVERAGE 1917 TO 1922.
Average
Item 1945 1932 1927 1922 1917-1922
Farm receipts ----....-. ...--...- $6,560 $3,052 $4,180 $3,073 $2,876
Farm expenses .......... ...... 4,759 2,092 2,994 2,225 1,721

Farm income .................. 1,801 960 1,186 848 1,155
Interest on average capital 526 588 1,131 676 550

Labor income ...............- 1,275 372 55 172 605
Value of operator labor ....... 1,241 514 625 624 621
Returns to capital .............-- 560 446 561 224 534
Percent return on capital .... 6.4 5.3 3.5 2.3 6.8

Interest on Average Capital calculated at 6 percent in 1945 and 7 percent in 1932,
1927, 1922, and Average 1917 to 1922.

In 1945, the average farm income was $1,801. This was about
$600 more than any previous year. Labor income of $1,275 in
1945 was also $600 more than in any previous year for which







Study of Farming in the Plant City Area 33

data were obtained. The percent return on capital invested
was 6.4 percent in 1945. This was greater than in any other
period except 1917-1922, when it amounted to 6.8 percent. A
study of these data indicates that the average full-time farmer
was better off in 1945 than in previous years in terms of income,
even after allowing for changes in the purchasing power of the
dollar. However, average return to the operator and his family
for their labor amounted to less than $150 per month. This
was slightly less than the average earnings of 68 rural residents
in 1948 who lived on the farm but worked full time at non-farm
work (Table 9).

FACTORS AFFECTING FARM RETURNS
In any community there are some farmers who make more
money than others. Differences in income may be caused by
many factors, the importance of which vary from year to year
depending on economic conditions. Three factors that have a
high correlation with income are size of business, crop yields,
and prices received. The relation of these factors to labor
income will be shown for the various periods. Of the group of
100 farms studied from 1917 to 1922, 83 were operated by the
same farmers throughout the six-year period. A six-year aver-
age was calculated for each of these farms and these data used
in studying factors which affected profits over a series of years.

SIZE OF BUSINESS
As a general rule the majority of farms in the Plant City
area are small. Many are too small for most efficient operation.
One way of increasing the efficiency of these farms, and thus
increasing returns, is to increase the size of business. This
may be done by increasing the acreage of crops grown, by
planting a large part of the acreage in the more intensive crops,
by increasing production per acre, by double-cropping and in
other ways. It is entirely possible, however, for large businesses
to make less money than small businesses in unfavorable years.
When prices received for products grown are relatively high,
profits are likely to increase with size of business. If prices
are very low, losses are likely to increase with an increase in
the size of the farm.
In this study, acres in truck crops were selected as the meas-
ure of size of business. This is a fairly good measure of size,
but it does not include acres of citrus which were important on








34 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

some farms. In each period labor income increased as the acres
in truck crops increased, except in 1945 and 1932. During this
period the average labor income on farms with 20 acres or more
of truck crops was less than the group of farms with 15.0 to
19.9 acres in truck crops (Table 18). In each period, the amount
of capital investment per acre of truck crops was less on large
than on small farms.

TABLE 18.-RELATION OF ACRES OF TRUCK CROPS TO CAPITAL INVESTED
AND LABOR INCOME, PLANT CITY AREA, FLORIDA, 1945, 1932, 1927 AND
1917 TO 1922.
Acres in Average
Truck Crops 1945 1932 1927 1917-1922
Number of Farms

Less than 5.0 .................. ... 3 20 18 6
5.0- 9.9 .............. ..................... 12 35 39 32
10.0-14.9 ......... .... ..................... 8 26 22 25
15.0-19.9 ........ ................ 5 17 14 11
20.0 and over .............................. 11 14 20 9

Total 39 112 113 83
Total .........--.... .................... 39 112 113 83
Average Acres in Truck Crops

Less than 5.0 .............................. 3.7 3.0 4.0
5.0- 9.9 ............ ..................... 7.3 7.3 7.4 7.7
10.0-14.9 ............................... ...... 13.1 12.2 12.1 12.0
15.0-19.9 ................................. 16.7 16.6 16.8 17.1
20.0 and over ..................... ....... 31.2 32.8 34.3 32.3

Average ............................. 16.2 12.4 13.5 12.6
Amount of Capital (dollars)

Less than 5.0 ....... ................. 4,116 10,002 3,243
5.0- 9.9 .......... ....... ........... ....... 4,519 4,355 10,642 5,461
10.0-14.9 ........................... ......... 10,876 11,101 17,955 9,087
15.0-19.9 .................................. 4,634 8,193 19,000 9,456
20.0 and over ........................... 14,419 19,898 28,459 19,232

Average ... .............. 8,765 8,403 16,153 8,416
Labor Income (dollars)

Less than 5.0 ............ 78 -24 378
5.0- 9.9 ........................ --36 287 -267 340
10.0-14.9 ....................... ..... 1,428 366 28 514
15.0-19.9 .................................... 2,647 1,159 144 592
20.0 and over ............................ 2,283 20 786 1,584

Average ...... ...... .. 1,275 372 55 564
Too few records for a summary.









Study of Farming in the Plant City Area 35

CROP YIELDS

If one is to make a good income in farming it is very important
that good yields be obtained, especially on the more intensive
crops. A crop index was calculated for each farm showing the
relative yield of all crops on the farm with the average for the
group of farms." An index of more than 100 means the yield was
better than average, while an index below 100 means a yield
less than average.

TABLE 19.-RELATION OF CROP YIELDS TO PRICE INDEX AND LABOR INCOME,
PLANT CITY AREA, FLORIDA, 1945, 1932, 1927, AND 1917 TO 1922.

Number Average I Average Labor
Crop Index of Farms Index farms Index IPrice Index Income
1945*

Less than 70 .........-....... 14 52 ** $ -211
70-129 ....................... .. 10 99 1,560
130 and over .................... 12 157 3,113

Total or average .... 36 100 1,389
1932

Less than 85 .................... 40 63 98 66
85-114 .............................. 36 99 105 260
115 and over ................. 36 144 97 954

Total or average .... 112 100 100 372
1927

Less than 80 ................ 37 59 98 -814
80-109 ............................ 37 92 102 24
110 and over ................... 39 150 101 956

Total or average .... 113 100 100 55
1917-22

Less than 90 ....--..--. ..... 26 i 72 99 34
90-109 ....---.................. 28 101 97 600
110 and over .................... 29 133 100 1,003

Total or average .... 83 10313 99 564
Crop index for 1945 was based only on strawberries, peppers and tomatoes. Crop index
is weighted by acres and productive man work units in each period except 1917-22, when
it was weigh'led by acres only.
** Data not available.

For the period 1917-1922 the index was weighted by acres. For the
other periods, the index was weighted by both acres and productive man
work units in order to give more weight for the crops that require more
labor per acre. The index for 1945 was based on the yields of strawberries,
peppers and tomatoes only.







36 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

The farms for each period were sorted into three groups of
low, average, and high yields so that about an equal number of
farms fell in each group. In each case, there was a positive re-
lationship between yields and income (Table 19). In 1945, farms
with low yields made a labor income of minus $211 compared to
$3,113 for those with high yields. There was little relationship
between yields and prices received which tends to indicate that
the quality of the product placed on sale by farmers with high
yield was not greatly different from the quality of the product
placed on sale by farmers with low yields. However, on farms
with low yields more culling may have been necessary in pre-
paring the product for sale.
Good crop yields show good management. Crops are some-
times grown on soils unsuited for the crop. Good seed, proper
use of fertilizer, proper insect and disease control, good cultiva-
tion and care of growing crops are all important factors affecting
yields.
PRICES RECEIVED
Prices received reflect quality and grade of the product, care
with which it is prepared and packed, time of selling, bargaining
ability of the farmer and other factors. A price index was
calculated for each farm by dividing the actual receipts from
products by what the sales would have been had the crops been
sold at average prices received by all farmers in the group. No
price index was calculated for the group of farms surveyed in
1945.
As with crop index, there was a close relationship between
price index and labor income (Table 20). The greatest differ-
ence in labor income was in 1927, when labor income was minus
$746 on farms with low prices and $733 on farms with high
prices. In 1932 and 1927, farmers receiving average prices
operated farms that were larger than those receiving either
high or low prices. For the period 1917-22 farms with the
highest average prices were also the largest farms. In this
period the high average labor income in the group with high
prices was partly accounted for by the increase in size of busi-
ness.
Crop Yields and Prices Combined.-A farm may be high in
one factor and low in another; this will serve to keep income
low. When an operator excells in both factors income may be
much higher than it would be otherwise. This is shown by
these farms when the effects of good yields and high prices







Study of Farming in the Plant City Area 37

were combined. The farms were sorted first on the basis of low
or high crop yields. Each group was then subsorted on the
basis of low or high prices. Table 21 shows the relation of both
yields and prices to income. In each case farms that had low
yields and prices had low incomes, while those with high yields
and prices had better incomes. In 1927, the difference between
the two groups of farms amounted to $2,366. Farms with low
yields did not receive a high labor income even though they
received a relatively good price for the products they sold.

TABLE 20.-RELATION OF PRICE INDEX TO ACRES IN TRUCK CROPS AND LABOR
INCOME, PLANT CITY AREA, FLORIDA, 1932, 1927 AND 1917-22.

Price Index 1932 1927 '1917-1922
Number of Farms

Less than 95 ................ ................ 24 37 25
95-109 .............................-- ----..... 46 39 42
110 and over ..--..........--------........... ... --42 37 16


Total ..................... .--- .....-- .....- 112 113 83

Average Price Index

Less than 95 ...................................- -. 85 84 90
95-109 .......................................... ....96 100 100
110 and over .................---------- ...- ...... 113 117 110


Average ..-............. ..................--. 100 100 100

Acres in Truck Crops

Less than 95 .....-- ..--...-----....--.........-- 9.9 11.8 10.5
95-109 .-.................... .................. ----- 14.8 17.1 12.7
110 and over ...-..................... .......... -11.3 11.5 16.0

Average .--..-.... ........----- ....--- 12.4 13.5 12.6

Labor Income (dollars)
--1---- -----
Less than 95 .-....- .................................. 127 746 227
95-109 .......................................... . 400 174 496
110 and over .---..---....-... ............. 468 733 1,267


Average ...----..-- ...........-- ......--..-----372 55 564







38 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

IMPROVING FARM RETURNS

Data presented in previous sections of this report indicate a
wide variation in rates of production, resources and incomes on
farms in the Plant City area. Relative to potential levels, farm

TABLE 21.-RELATION OF CROP YIELDS AND PRICES COMBINED TO LABOR
INCOME, PLANT CITY AREA, FLORIDA, 1932, 1927 AND 1917 TO 1922.

| Number Average Average
Crop Index IPrice Index of Crop Price Labor
Farms Index Index Income
1932

Below 100 [ Below 100 24 67 90 $ -34
Below 100 100 or above 34 75 108 -25
100 or above Below 100 23 137 89 289
100 or above 100 or above 31 127 107 1,164

Total or
average 112 100 100 372
1927

elow 100 Below 100 30 69 88 -709
Below 100 100 or above 35 74 110 -251
100 or above Below 100 25 133 88 -72
100 or above 100 or above 23 149 113 1,657
Total or
average 113 100 100 55
1917-22

Below 100 Below 100 17 78 93 50
Below 100 100 or above 17 77 103 132
100 or above Below 100 22 116 92 548
100 or above 100 or above 27 125 106 1,172
Total or
average 83 103 99 564

incomes are low. On many farms there are significant oppor-
tunities for improving net incomes by incorporating improved
practices and adjusting the present enterprise combination for
a more effective utilization of land, labor, and other resources
of production.
Opportunity for increasing size of farm by adding additional
acres is limited because of the scarcity or high price of land.
Because of the small size of farm, livestock cannot expect to
be important in the average farm business except for home








Study of Farming in the Plant City Area 39

consumption. Farmers also find it difficult to handle commercial
poultry because of the high labor requirement for crops during
the harvesting and marketing period. Some shifts can be
made in acres of individual crops, but at present no new crop
appears feasible for the area. The present crops grown are
well adapted to the area as a whole and the experiences of most
agricultural workers are favorable for their production.
Therefore the best opportunity to increase income is to in-
crease production per acre. This can be done by improving the
present level of farm practices such as using higher rates of
fertilizer, better insect and disease control programs, doing a
better job of seed bed preparation, growing more cover crops,
and a recognition of the importance of better crop selection for
different types of soil.

RATES OF CROP PRODUCTION WITH NORMAL AND
IMPROVED PRACTICES

In order to show changes in net incomes that might be ex-
pected if farmers raised their general level of practices, data
are presented showing normal practices and yields in the Plant
City area and estimated yields that might be obtained if im-
proved practices were followed. Data are also presented on a
per acre basis showing the gross value of selected crops and
the cost of fertilizer, seed, spray and dust materials, containers,
and selling cost with normal and improved practices. A com-
parison is then made for representative farms showing esti-
mated net income with normal practices and net income that
might be obtained if improved practices were used. Rates of
crop production with normal and improved practices are dis-
cussed in this section.
Normal practices and rates of production were determined
from data obtained from various studies in the Plant City area.6
Data for each crop were checked with agricultural workers and

c It is realized that practices and rates of production vary widely be-
tween farmers and from year to year. By normal practices, it is meant
the ones that are followed by the largest number of farmers. Normal
rates of production are those that one would expect if the normal practices
were used and there were no extreme variations in weather conditions.
In determining normal practices and rates of production, data from all
of the studies in the Plant City area were considered. Tentative figures
were determined for practices and yields for each crop, but these were
checked with agricultural workers and farmers in the area in arriving
at a final figure. For a discussion of labor and materials used on crops
in the Plant City area see Florida Agricultural Experiment Station bulle-
tin 489, "Labor and Material Requirements for Crops and Livestock-II
Truck Crops" by A. H. Spurlock, Donald L. Brooke, and R. E. L. Greene.







40 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

farmers in the area in arriving at a final figure. They represent
the practices and yields most common in the area under normal
conditions of weather and prices. Improved practices are
based on experimental data and experiences of farmers and
agricultural workers as to the most efficient fertilization, seed-
ing rates, and insect and disease control programs.7 Rates of
production under improved practices are those that could be
expected if the improved practices were used, normal weather
prevailed, and the cost and price relationships were about the
same as existed in 1951.
Seed and Fertilizer.-Table 22 gives normal and improved
rates of fertilization and seeding for principal crops grown in
the area. In general, it would be desirable for the average
farmer to increase the application of fertilizer on most crops.
This is especially true of those crops that are grown less fre-
quently in the area at the present time. In the case of straw-
berries, farmers are normally applying adequate amounts of
complete fertilizer and top dressing, but it would be desirable
to use 1,000 pounds of castor pomace per acre.
Insect and Disease Control.-Table 23 gives normal and im-
proved amounts of poison materials for insect and disease con-
trol. The materials and amounts under improved practices are
not meant to be recommendations. They represent the prac-
tices that agricultural workers and experienced farmers consider
necessary to give an adequate control program. The amounts
are based on the number of applications usually applied and
cover the common diseases and insects. Materials for controlling
diseases and insects that are encountered only occasionally are
not included. Farmers are already following some program
of insect and disease control on most crops. The main dif-
ference between normal and improved practices is that more
effective materials are to be used. The value of any control

SImproved practices are based on the recommendation of the Experi-
ment Station and Extension Service. In some cases, general recommenda-
tions were adjusted for the Plant City area where the experience of
agricultural workers and leading farmers indicated such adjustments were
desirable. Rates of production with improved practices are those that
agricultural workers and leading farmers in the Plant City area thought
farmers could expect if improved practices as indicated were used and
there were no extreme variations in weather. For a discussion and recom-
mendations for various crops see "Strawberries in Florida Culture, Dis-
eases and Insects," Florida Agricultural Experiment Station bulletin 148
by A. N. Brooks and E. G. Kelsheimer, Production Guides for Peppers,
Squash and Tomatoes, and issues of the Vegetarian published by the
Agricultural Extension Service and Handbook on Pesticides and their use
in Florida Agriculture.








Study of Farming in the Plant City Area 41

program depends to a large extent on the timeliness in applying
the various materials and the thoroughness with which they
are applied.

TABLE 22.-NORMAL AND IMPROVED ANNUAL RATES OF FERTILIZATION AND
SEEDING, PRINCIPAL CROPS, PLANT CITY AREA, FLORIDA.

Fertilizer Application per Acre Seeding Rate per
Crops I Acre
Complete Top Dressing
Formula! Lbs. Formula | Lbs. Unit Amount
Normal Amount per Acre

Beans, Fordhook lima 4-7-5 450 bu. 1.00
Beans, lima ..........-. 4-7-5 450 bu. 0.75
Collards ............ .. ... 4-7-5 1,500 16-0-0 400 lb. 0.50
Southern peas ............ 4-7-5 475 pk. 1.50
Okra ..................... 4-7-5 1,000 17-0-5 100 lb. 8.00
Peppers ...................... 4-7-5 1,800 17-0-5 275 lb. 1.00
Squash ...................... 4-7-5 700 10-0-12 200 lb. 2.50
Strawberries .........-- .. 4-7-5 .1,800 17-0-5 175 Thous. 20.00
Nitrate of
Tomatoes .................- 4-7-5 1,500 Potash 285 lb. 1.00

Amount with Improved Practices

Beans, Fordhook lima 4-7-5 800 16-0-0 100 bu. 1.00
Beans, lima ................ 4-7-5 800 16-0-0 100 bu. 0.75
Collards .................... 4-7-5 1,800 16-0-0 400 lb. 1.00
Southern peas .......... 4-7-5 800 pk. 1.50
Okra ........................ 4-7-5 2,000 10-0-12 100 lb. 8.00
Peppers ............... .. 4-7-5 2,500 16-0-0 375 lb. 1.00
Squash .............. ... 4-7-5 1,500 10-0-12 250 lb. 2.50
Strawberries .......... 4-7-5* 1,200 17-0-8 175 Thous. 20.00
3-3-8 600 Nitrate of
Tomatoes .............. 4-7-5 2,000 Potash 285 lb. 1.00

In addition to a complete fertilizer, strawberries are to receive 1,000 pounds of Caster
Ponace per acre.

It should be recognized that practices which must be improved
for more efficient production are not limited to fertilization,
seeding rates, and the control of insects and diseases. Other
practices include better seed bed preparation and tillage, use
of recommended varieties of seed, timeliness in performing vari-
ous operations, irrigation and so forth. Some of these practices
can be improved without a great deal of expense to the farmer.
Yields.-Table 24 shows normal yields and yields that agricul-
tural workers and experienced farmers say could be obtained if
improved practices as listed were used. A good opportunity
exists for improving yields on most crops. The greatest increases








42 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

are for crops which have been of less importance in the area.
Some of the better farmers in the Plant City area are already
producing higher yields than those shown in Table 24 for im-

TABLE 23.-SPRAY AND DUST MATERIALS PER ACRE WITH NORMAL AND
IMPROVED PRACTICES, PRINCIPAL CROPS, PLANT CITY AREA, FLORIDA.

Amt. per Acre
Im-
Crop Item Unit Normal proved
Prac- Prac-
tices tices

Beans, Fordhook Rotenone 1% dust Ib. 30 30
lima Chlordane 50% Wettable lb. 2 2
Chlordane bait-1.5% ready mixed lb. 25
Beans, lima Rotenone 1% dust lb. 30 30
Chlordane 50% Wettable i lb. 2 2
Chlordane bait-1.5% ready mixed Ib. 25
Collards Parathion 1% dust lb. 25
Chlordane 5% dust lb. 30
Chlordane emulsion 48% qt. 1
Chlordane bait-1.5% ready mixed lb. 50
Southern peas
Okra Nicotine 4% dust lb. 30
Parathion Wettable 15% lb. 2
Chlordane 3% dust lb. 20
DDT 3% dust lb. 25
Nicotine sulphate Ib. 2
Chlordane bait-1.5% ready mixed lb. 25
Peppers Nicotine 4% dust l b. 15
Chlordane 3% dust lb. 100 100
Parathion 1% dust lb. 25
DDT emulsion-25%? qt. 1
Squash Cryolite 30-70 dust lb. 35 35
(30% Cryolite)
Chlordane bait-1.5% ready mixed lb. 20 20
Lindane Wettable-25% lb. 1
Strawberries DDT 5% dust lb. 30
Copper spray lb. 1.5 4
Chlordane bait-1.5% ready mixed lb. 100 35
Chlordane 5% dust I lb. [ 30
Sulphur dust lb. 30
Tomatoes DDT 5% dust Ib. 30
Bordeaux with nicotine
Sulphate (6-6-100) gal. 240
Chlordane bait-1.5% ready mixed lb. 30 20
Chlordane 5% dust lb. 35
Chlordane Wettable-50% Ib. 2
Naam Diathane D-14 qt. 6
Nam Zinc sulfate lb. 3
____________________________ _____________________







Study of Farming in the Plant City Area 43

proved practices. This is accomplished by using higher than
average rates of fertilization, applying fertilizer and top dressing
at the right time and by using good irrigation practices. These
farmers also used good cultural practices and a good program
of insect and disease control. They harvest crops such as okra
over a longer period of time if weather and marketing conditions
are favorable.

TABLE 24.-AVERAGE YIELD PER ACRE WITH NORMAL AND IMPROVED
PRACTICES, PRINCIPAL CROPS, PLANT CITY AREA, FLORIDA.

Yield per Acre Percent
Crop Unit Normal Improved Increase
SPractices Practices over Normal

Beans, Fordhook lima .. bu. 100 150 50
Beans, lima .-................ bu. 100 150 50
Collards ............... ...... doz. 225 300 33
Southern peas ........ bu. 65 90 38
Okra ......... .... ..... .. bu. 100 150" 50
Peppers ..... ... .. .... bu. 225 300 33
Squash ......... .... ............ bu. 90 130 44
Strawberries ................ 36 pt. 100 125 25
crate
Tomatoes ............... .... bu. 160 200 25

If weather and market conditions are favorable, crop may be harvested over a longer
period and thus a higher yield obtained.

RELATIVE COSTS AND RETURNS WITH PRESENT AND
IMPROVED PRACTICES
This section shows the effects of improved practices on rela-
tive costs and returns for different enterprises. The effects of
any production increase on net income depends upon how much
cost is increased to get the additional product. Many items of
cost are more or less fixed; these are effected very little by a
change in output. On many farms, most of the labor is supplied
by the operator and his family or by cropper labor. In such a
case, labor is not a variable cash cost except where it is necessary
to hire extra labor to harvest the additional product.
In calculating relative costs and returns for various enterprises
on a per acre basis, only variable items of cash costs were con-
sidered. These were fertilizer, seed, spray and dust materials,
containers, and selling charges. The costs of power and labor
were not included; for power costs would change very little with
a change in practices. Increase in labor would be mainly labor
needed to harvest the extra product. Prices used were the aver-
age prices received for products sold on the Plant City Market







44 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

during the 1950-51 season (Table 25). Cost of expense items
were about those that existed in the area during the 1950-51 sea-
son. Prices of cost items were obtained from dealers in Plant
City.
TABLE 25.-PRICES RECEIVED AND COST OF EXPENSE ITEMS,
PLANT CITY AREA, 1950-51.

Item IUnit Amt. Item Unit I Amt.

Products sold: Seed continued:
Beans, Fordhook Southern peas ... bu. '$16.00
lima --..........--- bu. $ 3.03 Okra ...................... b. .90
Beans, lima .........-- bu. 3.38 Peppers ........--- l- b. 6.50
Collards .----....-...- doz. Squash ............. .... Ilb. 1.25
bunches 1.50 Strawberries ....... per m. 6.00
Southern peas ..... bu. 1.66 Tomatoes ..--...-- .. Ib. 6.00
Okra .................... bu. 7.12 Velvet beans ...... bu. 5.25
Peppers .............---- bu. 2.17
Squash --............---- bu. 1.76 Spray and Dust
Strawberries ........ 36 pt. Materials:
crate 8.50 Copper A ..-.. -------- b. .320
Tomatoes -.......... bu. 2.74 Chlordane 3% dust lb. .065
Eggs ..--.-.............- doz. .53 Chlordane 5% dust lb. .094
Chlordane emulsion
Expense items: [ 48% .................. qt. 2.650
Family and hired Chlordane 50%
labor ....................... hr. .50 W ettable ..-........ lb. 1.500
Picking strawberries qt. .06 Chlordane bait
Pint cups ---............. per m. 13.50 1.5% ready mixed lb. .075
Hampers ........-...-. each .32 Cryolite 30-70 dust lb. .100
Feed ........... ....-..... 100 lbs. 6.60 DDT 3% dust lb. .060
Fertilizer: DDT 5% dust lb. .100
3-8-8 ..------------ 100 lbs. 1.90 DDT emulsion 25% qt. .750
4-7-5 ........------ 100 lbs. 2.00 Lindane Wettable
4-8-8 -......- ....-... .. 100 Ibs. 2.00 25% .--..-..-. .. Ib. 3.550
10-0-12 ------..--.. 100 Ibs. 3.25 Nicotine 4% dust.. lb. .210
17-0-5 ---------...-. 100 lbs. 3.25 Nicotine Sulphate
17-0-8 .....-..-- .... 100 lbs. 3.44 40% -.-..-- --------- b. 2.400
Nitrate of soda 100 Ibs. 3.20 Poison bait No. 8
Nitrate of potash 100 lbs. 3.10 (contains Chlor-
Caster pomace .. 100 lbs. 3.00 dane) .............. lb. .110
Paris green .......... I lb. .550
Seed: Parathion 1% dust lb. .090
Beans, Fordhook Parathion Wettable
lima .........-.. bu. 15.75 15% -...............-- b. .880
Beans, lima ...... bu. 13.20 Rotenone 1% dust lb. .108
Collards .--........- lb. .90 Sulphur dust ..... Ib. .110
Cowpeas ..-.........- bu. 16.00 Diathane 14 ... qt. .500
Zinc Sulfate ....... lb. .130


Table 26 shows, on a per acre basis for selected enterprises,
the value of the product, the cost of specified items of cost and
the returns less specified cash costs with normal and improved
practices. If improved practices were used, the cost of specified
items on a per acre basis would be increased 19 percent for straw-
berries and 59 percent for squash over normal practices. How-








Study of Farming in the Plant City Area 45

ever, the net returns above designated costs items with improved
practices would be 25 to 50 percent higher than the return with
normal practices.

TABLE 26.-VALUE OF PRODUCTION AND SPECIFIED DIRECT CASH COSTS PER
ACRE OF PRINCIPAL CROPS, WITH NORMAL AND IMPROVED PRACTICES,
PLANT CITY AREA, FLORIDA.

Specified Direct Cash Cost
Value Con- Returns
Crop of All Spray trainers Less
Prod- Ferti- !Seed & Dust and Total Speci-
uct lizer** Mate- Selling fled
Srials t Cost $ Cost
Normal Practices

Beans, Ford- I
hook lima $303.00 $ 9.00 $ 15.75 $ 6.24 $ 34.00 $ 64.99 $238.01
Beans, lima 338.00 9.00 9.90 6.24 34.00 59.14 278.86
Collards .... 337.50 42.80 .45 2.25 4.50 50.00 287.50
Southern peas 107.90 9.50 6.00 22.10 37.60 70.30
Okra .......... 712.00 23.25 7.20 9.36 34.00 73.81 638.19
Peppers ....... 488.25 44.94 6.50 9.65 76.50 137.59 350.66
Squash ........ 158.40 20.50 3.12 5.00 30.60 59.22 99.18
Strawberries 850.00 41.69 120.00 10.98 53.60 226.27 623.73
Tomatoes.. 438.40 38.84 6.00 7.00 54.40 106.24 332.16

Improved Practices

Beans, Ford-
hook lima 454.50 19.20 15.75 8.12 51.00 94.07 360.43
Beans, lima 507.00 19.20 9.90 8.12 51.00 88.22 418.78
Collards ...... 450.00 48.80 .90 9.22 6.00 64.92 385.08
Southern peas 149.40 16.00 6.00 30.60 52.60 96.80
Okra .......... 1,068.00 43.25 7.20 8.18 51.00 109.63 958.37
Peppers .....-.. 651.00 62.00 6.50 9.50 102.00 180.00 471.00
Squash ....... 228.80 38.12 3.12 8.55 44.20 93.99 134.81
Strawberries 1,062.50 71.42 120.00 10.02 67.00 268.44 794.06
Tomatoes ... 548.00 48.84 6.00 11.18 68.00 134.02 413.98

Based on rates of production as shown in Table 24 and prices as shown in Table 25.
** Based on amounts as shown in Table 22 and prices as shown in Table 25.
t Based on amounts as shown in Table 23 and prices as shown in Table 25.
SCost of hampers calculated at 32 cents each, pint cups, $13.50 per thousand and selling
2 cents per unit for all crops except strawberries which was charged 5 cents per crate.
S Value of product less specified cash cost.

EFFECTS OF CHANGES IN LEVEL OF PRACTICES
ON FARM INCOME
In order to show the effects of a change in level of practices
on net farm income, two farms were selected for study. These
farms are considered to be representative of commercial vege-
table farms in the Plant City area, with acreages corresponding
roughly to medium and large size farms.







46 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

Data were obtained on the operation of each farm for a period
July 1, 1950 to June 30, 1951. These included a generalized soil
map for each farm (Fig. 7), an inventory of all property on hand
at the beginning and end of the period, crops grown, cropping
practices, rates of production, receipts, expenses, and other mis-
cellaneous information. Calculations were made for each farm,
showing the net farm income as the farm was operated in 1950-
51. Calculations were then made for each farm to show estimated



Farn A



N n35'




Parm B Legend:

Class II Land
10 Rutlege
64 40 Scranton
53 Ft. Meade
64 Arredondo

Class III Land
70 Blanton
35 Leon

to Unclassified Lands
S1 Fresh Water Ponds
8 Unclassified Swamp Lands
40



Scale:
0 500' 1000' 1320'







Fig. 7.-Generalized soil map of Farm A and Farm B.








Study of Farming in the Plant City Area 47

net income if normal practices had been used and normal rates
of production obtained, and the income that could be expected
if improved practices were used and expected rates of produc-
tion obtained.

TABLE 27.-ORGANIZATION OF FARM A AND FARM B, PLANT CITY AREA.
1950-51.

Item Farm A Farm B

Land and Crops: (Acres)

Truck Crops:
Beans, Fordhook lima ......................... 0.5
Beans, lim a ................-.......--.. ..--..- ....... j 7.0
Collards ....-...- ..----- ...-- .. ----------.........- 1.0
Southern peas ...................-..-----..... ...- .. 2.0 2.0
Okra .......................... .-. ... ....... ....... 1.5
Peppers .. -----------..... -..........--- -.... .- -... 2.0 1.0
Squash ...............-............--...-- ......- . 1.0 1.0
Straw berries --...................... .......-- ... ..- 3.0 2.0
Tom atoes ........................... ---........... .... -1.0 2.0

Citrus:
Oranges, bearing .................---..--- .....-....... 1.5
Oranges, non-bearing ............................. 2.5

Others:
V elvet beans ....................................... -- 6.0
Cow peas ..----........................ .......--- ....-i 2.0
G arden ........... ........... ...... ... ........ ...- .5 .5

Total crop land ..............--- ..-..--- ...-....-- .... 16.0 24.0
Open pasture .-......--........--------.......- ..... ... 11.0
W oods and other .............................. --.... .. 3.5 5.0

Total acres operated ................................ 19.5 40.0

Livestock: (Number)
Poultry .---.....-.....-. ------...----......-.......- 18 10
Investment:
Real estate ........--- .... ..-- ...----- ............ --$10,955 $ 9,600
Livestock ..................------ ...........- ... .....-- 27 14
Machinery and equipment ..--....................... 2,467 3,827
Irrigation system and drains ................... 1,175 1,475

Total investment ............. . ....... ... 14,624 14,916

*There was no inter- or double-cropping on these farms.

In calculating net income under the two plans of operation,
the acres of crops used were the actual number on each farm
in 1950-51. The only livestock was poultry for home use. To
put each farm on a comparable basis, prices used were the average
prices received for products sold on the Plant City Market during







48 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

the 1950-51 season (Table 25). Prices for cost items such as
fertilizer, poison materials and crates were those that existed in
the area during the 1950-51 season (Table 25). Family and hired
labor costs were charged at 50 cents per hour as quoted by farm-
ers surveyed. Other costs such as feed, truck use, tractor use,
electricity, taxes and insurance were actual amounts as reported
by each farmer for the 1950-51 period. The amounts of these
costs were assumed to be the same at both levels of practices.

TABLE 28.-ACRES, TOTAL PRODUCTION AND VALUE OF CROPS WITH NORMAL
AND IMPROVED PRACTICES, FARM A AND FARM B.

Total Production Total Value
Crop Acres, Unit with with with I with
Normal Improved Normal Improved
_Practices Practices I Practices Practices
Farm A
doz. 1
Collards -.--.-... 1.0 bunches 225 300 $ 338 $ 450
Southern peas .. 2.0 bu. 130 180 216 299
Okra ............--- ....- 1.5 bu. 150 225 1,068 1,602
Peppers -----..--..- 2.0 bu. 450 600 976 1,302
Squash ................. 1.0 bu. 90 130 158 229
Strawberries ..... 3.0 36 pt.
crates 300 375 2,550 3,188
Tomatoes .......... 1.0 bu. 160 200 438 548

Total -.....-.- 11.5 I- J- $5,744 $7,618
Farm B

Beans, Fordhook
lima .........-- ..... 0.5 bu. 50 75 $ 152 $ 227
Beans, lima ...... 7.0 bu. 700 1,050 2,366 3,549
Southern peas ... 2.0 bu. 130 180 216 299
Peppers ............- 1.0 bu. 225 300 488 651
Squash ...--.....---- .... 1.0 bu. 90 130 158 229
36 pt.
Strawberries ...--.. 2.0 crates 200 250 1,700 2,125
Tomatoes ........-.. 2.0 bu. 320 400 877 1,096

Total ....... 15.5 5,957 $8,176

Organization of Farms.-The organization of the two farms
is shown in Table 27. Acres in crops were the amounts actually
grown on each farm in 1950-51. Farm A contained 19.5 acres,
of which 16.0 acres were in crops. Farm B contained 40 acres
of which only 24.0 acres were in crops. In comparing differences
in income under normal and improved practices, income from








Study of Farming in the Plant City Area 49

citrus was omitted from Farm A since the majority of farms in
the area are concerned mainly with the production of vegetables.
Although Farm B contained 11.0 acres of open pasture, there was
no livestock other than poultry on the farm in 1950-51. The
pasture was being improved and the operator was planning to add
a few head of beef cattle. He was also planning to plant a small
citrus grove on a part of his cropland. These changes were not
included in calculating net income under improved practices since
this example is presented to show effects of changes in level of
practices on income.
Production and Value of Crops.-As indicated in Table 24, agri-
cultural workers and experienced farmers say farmers in the
Plant City area can increase yields per acre on important crops
from 25 to 50 percent by raising the present level of crop prac-
tices. Table 28 shows the production and value of crops on Farms
A and B with yields expected with normal and improved practices.
For Farm A, the value of crops with normal practices is $5,744.
but with improved practices gross income is $7,618, or an increase
of 32 percent. On Farm B, gross income with improved practices
is 37 percent more than gross income with normal practices.

TABLE 29.-SUMMARY OF OPERATING EXPENSES WITH NORMAL AND
IMPROVED PRACTICES.

Farm A Farm B
Item Normal Improved j Normal Improved
Practices Practices Practices Practices

Labor: Hired ........................... $ 900 $1,150 $1,600 $2,100
Contract ....................----- ....-.... 162 255 216 270
Unpaid family ...............- ....... 600 600 200 200
Fertilizer --....---- ..--. ....---- ...-----... 371 571 313 517
Spray, dust and poison
m materials .........-.................. 81 90 97 121
Seeds and plants ...................... 406 406 399 399
Feed ................-...............---........ 66 66 27 27
Containers: Pint cups ............. 146 182 97 122
Hampers and bushel baskets 314 427 485 683
Commission ......................... .... 39 51 45 55
Electricity ...-.....-- ...............------- .. 84 84 96 96
Insurance ............................ ... 60 60 49 49
Taxes .............. ....------ ...-.. ..----- 15 15 12 12
Fuel and oil ........................ 18 18
Truck farm use .......................... 121 150 320 400
Tractor expenses ..-----.....-.....---. 114 114 121 121
Machine work hired ................ -- 150 150
Repairs: Buildings --........-- .. 50 50 40 40
Machinery and equipment .... 25 25 40 40
Irrigation system --..----........ 225 225 75 75

Total operating expense .... $3,779 $4,521 $4.400 1 $5,495







50 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

Operating Expenses.-Operating expenses are increased as the
level of farm practices are improved but the amount of increase
is not as great as the increase in receipts. The largest increase
in expenses is for fertilizer, labor and containers. With an in-
crease in yield, more labor is required, especially at harvest time.
Production expenses with improved practices are $742, or 20 per-
cent more on Farm A than with normal practices (Table 29).
The increase on Farm B amounted to $1,095, or 25 percent. On
each farm the cost of fertilizer was greater by 50 percent or more
with improved practices than with normal practices.
Financial Summary.-The financial summary for Farms A and
B with normal and improved practices is given in Table 30. Farm
income on Farm A amounts to $1,443 with normal practices and
$2,572 with improved practices, or an increase of $1,129. On
Farm B, farm income is $1,124 more with improved practices
than with normal practices. Returns on these farms to the opera-
tor for labor and management would increase $1,129 on Farm A
and $1,124 on Farm B if improved rather than normal practices
were used.
TABLE 30.-SUMMARY OF RECEIPTS AND EXPENSES, FARM A AND FARM B
WITH NORMAL AND IMPROVED PRACTICES.

Farm A I Farm B
Item Normal Improved Normal Improved
Practices Practices Practices Practices

Average capital ............... ............. $14,624 $14,624 $14,916 $14,916
Receipts:
Crop sales .--.........-- ..--- ..--- ..---- .. .. -5,744 7,618 5,957 8,176
Other receipts ............................ 93 93 --

Total receipts ........................ $ 5,837 $ 7,711 $ 5,957 $ 8,176

Expenses:
Operating expenses .......-......... ---3,770 4,521 4,400 5,495
Depreciation:
Buildings ---....-........--.- .... -- 298 298 205 205
Machinery and equipment ...... 253 253 383 383
Irrigation system .....-............ 59 59 79 79
Strawberry crates ...-.....-.. 5 8 5 5

Total expenses ...................... $ 4,394 $ 5,139 $ 5,072 $ 6,167

Farm income (receipts-expenses) .- 1,443 2,572 885 2,009
Interest on average capital @ 5% 731 731 746 746

Returns to operator for
Labor and management ......... $ 712 $ 1,841 $ 139 $ 1,263
Values of items for
Family use ............. .......... $ 142 $ 142 $ 428 $ 428







Study of Farming in the Plant City Area 51

SUMMARY

The "Plant City Trucking Area" consists of about 110 square
miles located in eastern Hillsborough County.
The soils are quite variable and several soil types are often
found on the small acreage of an individual farm. The predomi-
nating soil types are "flatwoods" soils, the most important being
Scranton, Rutlege and Leon. Topography is flat to undulating.
Surface drainage is usually poor, and drainage ditches and canals
have been constructed to facilitate the removal of surface water.
The climate of the area is sub-tropical. The annual mean tem-
perature at Plant City is 71.5- F. The annual rainfall is 50.2
inches.
The agriculture is characterized by small but intensively oper-
ated farms growing crops that require a large amount of hand
labor. About two-thirds of the farmers have less than 15 acres
of cropland. Peppers and strawberries are two of the most im-
portant truck crops. Acres of strawberries declined sharply dur-
ing the war period, but were about back to normal in the 1950-51
season.
The population of the Plant City area has shown a rapid in-
crease since 1900. This has intensified the agricultural problems,
for sufficient land resources are not available for the present
population. Many people live in the rural area who do not engage
in agriculture and many of the farm operators or members of
their household engage in off-the-farm employment.
Four economic studies have been made in the Plant City area.
One hundred records were obtained for each of the crop years
1917 to 1922, inclusive, 113 records for 1927, 112 records for
1932, and 52 records for 1945. Over the period studied there was
only a slight change in acres of cropland, but a considerable de-
crease in amount of woodland and total acres operated. In 1945
cropland per farm averaged 16.6 acres, compared to 16.3 acres in
1932 and a high of 19.0 acres in 1927. There was a definite shift
in types of crops grown, with acres in Southern peas, peppers,
squash and green corn increasing, and snap beans, cabbage, cu-
cumbers and watermelons decreasing. Considerable fluctuation
occurred in yield per acre of individual crops from year to year
but there was no significant trend in yields.
Average farm capital was about $8,000, except for 1927 when it
averaged $16,153 per farm. About two-thirds of the investment
was in land. Investment in machinery and irrigation equipment
increased during the period covered.







52 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

Gross farm receipts were about $3,000 per farm in 1932, 1922
and 1917-22, $4,180 in 1927 and $6,560 in 1945. Receipts from
strawberries exceeded those from any other crop except for 1945,
when they were second to peppers. Gross farm expenses
amounted to $4,759 per farm in 1945, $2,994 in 1927 and about
$2,000 in other years. Average farm income ranged from $848
in 1922 to $1,801 in 1945. Labor income ranged from $955 in
1927 to $1,275 in 1945. Even though returns in 1945 were highest
for any of the years included in the study, the average return
to the operator and his family for their labor amounted to less
than $150 per month.
There was a wide variation in incomes for individual farms
each year of the study. Size of business, crop yields and prices
were the principal factors affecting income. Except in 1932,
farms with 15 or more acres in crops had in general from two to
four times the labor income of farms with less than 15 acres in
crops. Farms in the upper third of crop yields had labor incomes
of $1,389 in 1945, $954 in 1932, $956 in 1927 and $1,003 for the
period 1917-22, as compared to labor incomes of $211, $66, $814
and $34, respectively, for the farms in the lower third of crop
yields. Farms receiving prices of 110 percent or more of the
average had labor income of $1,267 for the period 1917-22, as
compared to $227 for farms with prices of less than 95 percent
of the average.
Relative to potential levels, farm incomes are low on many
farms in the Plant City area. There are significant opportunities
for improving net incomes by improving the present level of farm
practices such as using higher rates of fertilizer, better insect
and disease control programs and a recognition of the importance
of better crop selection for different types of soils. Improving
practices would result in an increase in yields of 25 to 50 percent
for individual crops. Budgets for two representative farms indi-
cated that had these farms used improved rather than normal
practices, labor income would have been increased from $712 to
$1,841 on one farm and from $139 to $1,263 on the other farm.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This report contains data from four economic studies made in the Plant
City area. The first study in cooperation with the Bureau of Agricultural
Economics, U.S.D.A., included records for the years ending September 30
from 1917 to 1922. Records were obtained also by the Department of Agri-
cultural Economics for the years ending September 30, 1927 and 1932 and
for the year ending June 30, 1945.








Study of Farming in the Plant City Area 53

The data collected in 1945 have not been published. The following pub-
lications were prepared on the three earlier studies:
1. 1917-22, McKinnley, Bruce, and W. C. Funk. "An Economic Study of
Truck Farming in the Plant City Area, Hillsborough County, Florida,"
College of Agriculture, University of Florida, University Record Volume
XXI, No. 3, October, 1926.
2. 1926-27, Zentgraf, Robert Louis. "An Economic Study of Farming
in the Plant City Area, Hillsborough County, Florida." Masters thesis
presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Flor-
ida, May, 1929.
3. 1931-32, Howard, R. H., J. E. Turlington and F. W. Brumley. "An
Economic Study of the Plant City Area for the Year Ending September
30, 1932." Florida Agricutural Extension Economist Volume III, No. 6.
Data in this bulletin from the above studies were taken either from
the publications listed or from tabulations made from the original schedules.
In many cases it was necessary to retabulate data to make them comparable
for each of the years.
The writer is indebted to the members of the Department of Agricultural
Economics who assisted in conducting this study and offered helpful criti-
cisms in the preparation of the manuscript. Special credit is due Dean C. V.
Noble, former head of the Department of Agricultural Economics, and Dr.
H. G. Hamilton, under whose direction this work was done; D. E. Alleger,
J. R. Greenman and A. H. Spurlock, who collected most of the records in
1945; and H. C. Spurlock, who collected the 1951 records. Mr. Greenman
outlined the 1945 study and supervised the collection and tabulation of
the data. He and Mr. Alleger also prepared some notes and summary
materials on the 1945 study that were used in preparing this report.
Particular thanks are extended to Alec White, County Agent, Joe Armor,
Assistant County Agent, and other agricultural workers and farmers of the
Plant City area for their helpful suggestions and courtesy in furnishing
essential information.





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