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Group Title: Bulletin University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station
Title: Factors affecting farm profits in the Williston area
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Title: Factors affecting farm profits in the Williston area
Alternate Title: Bulletin 175 ; University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station
Physical Description: 20 p. : ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Turlington, J. E.
Hamilton, H. G. ( Henry Glenn ), b. 1895
Publisher: University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: July, 1925
Copyright Date: 1925
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Subject: Farm management -- Florida -- Williston   ( lcsh )
Farm income -- Florida -- Williston   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
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Statement of Responsibility: by J.E. Turlington and H.G. Hamilton.
General Note: Cover title.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00026891
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltuf - AEN3338
oclc - 18171640
alephbibnum - 000922829

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Full Text

Bulletin 175 July, 1925

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Agricultural Experiment Station






FACTORS AFFECTING FARM PROFITS

IN THE WILLISTON AREA

By

J. E. TURLINGTON AND H. G. HAMILTON






















FIG. 57.-Cucumbers are one of the main crops in the Williston area.




Bulletins will be sent free upon application to the Experiment Station,
GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA






BOARD OF CONTROL

P. K. YONGE, Chairman, Pensacola
E. L. WARTMANN, Citra
J. C. COOPER, JR., Jacksonville
A. H. BLENDING, Leesburg
W. B. DAVIS, Perry
J. T. DIAMOND, Secretary, Tallahassee
J. G. KELLUM, Auditor, Tallahassee

STATION STAFF
WILMON NEWELL, D. Sc., Director
JOHN M. SCOTT, B. S., Vice Director and Animal Industrialist
J. R. WATSON, A. M., Entomologist
R. W. RUPRECHT, Ph. D., Chemist
O. F. BURGER, D. Sc., Plant Pathologist
G. H. BLACKMON, B. S. A., Pecan Culturist
W. B. TISDALE, Ph. D., Associate Plant Pathologist, Tobacco Ex-
periment Station (Quincy)
G. F. WEBER, Ph. D., Associate Plant Pathologist
J. FRANCIS COOPER, B. S. A., Editor
J. H. JEFFERIES, Superintendent Citrus Experiment Station
(Lake Alfred)
A. H. BEYER, M. S., Assistant Entomologist
C. E. BELL, M. S., Assistant Chemist
W. E. STOKES, M. S., Grass and Forage Crops Specialist
J. M. COLEMAN, B. S., Assistant Chemist
HAROLD MOWRY, Assistant Horticulturist
L. O. GRATZ, Ph. D., Assistant Plant Pathologist (Hastings)
A. F. CAMP, Ph. D., Assistant Plant Pathologist
A. S. RHOADS, Ph. D., Assistant Plant Pathologist (Cocoa)
GEO. E. TEDDER, Foreman, Everglades Experiment Station
(Belle Glade)
RUBY NEWHALL, Secretary
A. W. LELAND, Farm Foreman
JESSE REEVES, Foreman, Tobacco Experiment Station (Quincy)
J. G. KELLY, B. S. A., Lab. Asst. in Plant Pathology (Quincy)
IDA KEELING CRESAP, Librarian
ROBERT E. NOLEN, B. S. A., Lab. Asst. in Plant Pathology
H. E. BRATLEY, B. S. A. E., Asst. in Entomology


K. H. GRAHAM, Auditor
RACHEL MCQUARRIE, Assistant Auditor








FACTORS AFFECTING FARM PROFITS
IN THE WILLISTON AREA
By J. E. TURLINGTON AND H. G. HAMILTON*
INTRODUCTION
Farm Management is the study of the business side of
farming, particularly of methods of management that tend to
make farming more profitable. Agricultural economists seek
to learn how farming may be made to pay better, and then
to place this knowledge before the farmers so that they may
adopt practices which pay best and thus increase their profits.
One of the ways of finding out good and bad policies in farm-
ing is by means of the farm survey. A farm survey is simply
an examination of a number of farms made for the purpose of
determining what methods of management have produced
most profits, and which have resulted in less profits or even
losses. The survey also endeavors to find out why certain
methods pay and others do not.
In making a farm survey, the investigators prepare a series
of questions relating to the farm work of the community to be
surveyed. They then interview a number of farmers in the
community, asking them to answer these questions from re-
sults that have actually been secured on their farms.
These answers are then studied in an effort to find why the
farmers who made most profits were successful, and why
the farmers who made least profits or losses were not success-
ful. Did the one do something the other should have done?
Did the other do something he should not have done? Was the
other farm too large or too small? Did the other farmer have
too much or too little capital invested?
If answers to these questions can be found by studying the
answers of all of the farmers in the community, then the farm-
ers who made losses or only small profits might adopt the profit-
able methods used by the others, and thus make more profits
themselves.
That, briefly, is the purpose of a farm survey. The one re-
ported in this bulletin, which covers the Williston area in Levy
*J. E. Turlington, professor of Agronomy and Agricultural Economics,
University of Florida. H. G. Hamilton, instructor in Farm Management,
University of Florida.
Acknowledgments are made to the farmers who cooperated in giving
the information, without which service it would have been impossible to
have secured the data contained herein. Also to Robert Wray, who as-
sisted Mr. Hamilton in taking the field records.






4 Agricultural Experiment Station

County for the year 1923, is the first to be made under the aus-
pices of the Florida College of Agriculture.
A business analysis of 120 farms for the year 1923 in the
vicinity of Williston was secured. With a prepared question-
naire each farm was visited during January and February 1924,
and a record of the farm business was obtained from the oper-
ator. These data included a record of the value of real estate,
"livestock, machinery, feed and supplies at the beginning and
end of the year; receipts from each crop and other enterprises;
expenses such as labor, fertilizer, seed, etc., improvements;
taxes; insurance; and depreciation on buildings, machinery and
equipment.
The results have been tabulated and commented on in the
following pages, and may be used as a guide to other farmers
in the same or similar areas.

SOILS AND CLIMATE
Typical soils in this vicinity are Norfolk sand and Norfolk
sandy loam. Probably three-fourths of the farms studied
were composed of Norfolk sandy loam. Norfolk sandy loam
soils are better adapted to cucumbers and most other crops of
this section than the Norfolk sand.
The topography is gently rolling, affording good drainage.
The normal total precipitation for the year is about 53 inches,
over half of which falls during the months of June, July, Au-
gust and September.
The normal precipitation from January to May is about 17
inches and is distributed fairly evenly over the five months.
This is sufficient for the truck crops and it is only in abnormal
years that the crops suffer severely from lack of rain. Of the
120 farms studied, 11 at one time maintained irrigation plants.
,But none of these plants were operated at the time of this sur-
vey. Two outstanding reasons were given for the abandon-
ment of these plants: First, cucumbers could not be planted
continuously on the same land, making it necessary for the
:plant to be moved. This was so expensive that it did not pay.
Second, irrigation was needed only in abnormal years.
The average last killing frost in the spring is from the middle
to the last of February, and the first in the fall is from the first
":to the middle of December. This gives a growing season of
about nine months.






Bulletin 175, Factors Affecting Farm Profits 5

DEFINITIONS OF TERMS USED

Capital-The value at the beginning of the year of all real
estate, livestock, machinery, feed and supplies, equipment and
cash used to carry on the farm business.
Receipts-Proceeds from the sale of crops, livestock and live-
stock products; also labor of man, teams and equipment done
off the farm, and any increase in the inventory.
Expenses-Expenditures made for carrying on the farm bus-
iness including family labor, decrease in livestock, feed and
supplies; and depreciation on buildings and equipment.
Farm Income-Difference between receipts and expenses.*
Labor Income-The farm income less the interest on the farm
capital at 7 percent.*
Productive Man Work Unit-The average amount of produc-
tive work accomplished by a man in 10 hours.
Productive Horse Work Units--The average amount of pro-
ductive work accomplished by a horse in 10 hours.
Crop Index for Cucumbers-This represents the yield for cu-
cumbers on any farm as compared with the average yield for
the region.
Contractor-One who furnishes seed, fertilizer, spray mate-
rial, one half the containers and sometimes land to the farmer.
He gets in return one half the gross receipts of the crop.

DISTRIBUTION OF LABOR INCOME

The distribution of labor income for the 120 farms studied
is shown in Table 1. Thirty-nine percent of these farms made
a minus labor income, 19 percent made an average labor in-
come of minus $1,350 and 20 percent made an average labor in-
come of minus $180. Sixty-one percent of the farms made
plus labor incomes; 16 percent made an average labor income
of $168; 18 percent, $507; 13 percent, $1,116; and 14 percent
$5,512.
*Since the contractor had nothing to do with the farm except financ-
ing it, we have figured the farm income and labor income as though the
farmer furnished all the expense and received all the receipts.







6 Agricultural Experiment Station.

TABLE 1.-LABOR INCOME CLASSIFIED
Labor Incomes No. of Percent Labor Income
Sfarms of total (Dollars)
Less than -$401 ................ 22 19 -1,350
-$400 to $0 .......................... 24 20 180
$0 to $299 .......................... 19 16 168
$300 to $699 ........................ 21 18 507
$700 to $1,999 ................... 16 13 1,115
$2,000 and over ................. 18 14 5,512
All farms ........................... 120 100 807

Such variations in the labor incomes of these farmers in the
same locality and assumingly doing about the same general type
of farming justifies the expending of considerable effort in find-
ing why the 39 percent made minus labor incomes and 61 per-
cent made plus labor incomes and why 14 percent made an aver-
age labor income of $5,512, while the average labor income for
the 120 farms was only $807. Certainly the best farms did
something that the average did not do. We have endeavored
from the data at hand to find the important factors responsible
for these wide variations in labor income, and they will be
shown in the following pages.

DISTRIBUTION OF CAPITAL
Table 2 shows the distribution of capital for the average farm
studied. The total capital was $8,111; about 80 percent is
fixed capital and 20 percent working capital. Land consti-
tuted 60.2 percent of the total, buildings 19.5 percent, livestock
10.2 percent, machinery and equipment 4.6 percent, and cash
2 percent.
TABLE 2.-DISTRIBUTION OF CAPITAL
Item I Dollars I Percent of Total
Real estate .............................................................. 6,461
Dwelling ............................................................. 1,095 13.5 1
Other buildings .............................................. 486 6.0 [ 79.7
Land and land fixtures except buildings... 4,880 60.2 J
Livestock ............--- ... --.. --.............................. 843 10.2 1
Machinery and equipment ................................... 377 4.6
20.3
Feed and supplies .................................................. 279 3.5
Cash .......................................................................... 151 2.0
Total capital ......................................................... 8,111 1 100 100

According to the United States Census for 1919, the average
capital per farm for the State of Florida was $1,965 less than
the average of the 120 farms studied. The distribution is very
similar. Excluding feed supplies and cash from the Williston





Bulletin 175, Factors Affecting Farm Profits 7

area so as to conform with the United States Census Bureau
classification, the percentage distribution is as follows: Land,
Williston area 63.6 percent; State of Florida 69.2 percent; build-
ings, Williston area 20.6 percent; State of Florida 16.1 percent;
machinery and equipment, Williston area 4.9 percent, State of
Florida 4.1 percent; livestock, Williston area 10.2 percent; State
of Florida 10.6 percent. From the standpoint of capital and
distribution of capital the average farm in the Williston area
is fairly typical of the average farm in the State.

CROPS GROWN

Table 3 shows the principal crops grown, percentage of each
crop to the total and the percentage of farms growing each crop.
Corn and peanuts planted together constituted about one-third
of the crop area and the two crops constituted over half of the
total crop acres. The importance of these crops is further
shown by the number of farmers growing them. Only one farm
has no corn and 92 percent of the farms grew peanuts. Cucum-
bers, the most important cash crop, were grown by 88 percent
of the farmers and composed 11 percent of the crop acres.
Other crops of less importance, such as cotton, pasture, hay,
cane and potatoes, are shown in the table with their acreage and
the percent of farmers that grew them.

TABLE 3.-DISTRIBUTION OF TOTAL CROP ACRES AND THE PERCENT OF THE
FARMERS THAT GREW EACH CROP ON THE 120 FARMS SURVEYED.
Acres of Percent of Percent of
Crops crops total acres farms grow-
of crops ing these
_crops
Sweet Potatoes ...----.......--------...-... 41 .4 45.8
Cane ..-..-..---- --------------- 90 1.0 55.8
Hay ........- .............---------.--- ..---- 392 4.7 54.2
Cotton .-........ ---......... .......-..--- ....--- ..--! 506 6.0 52.5
Peanuts alone .....--......--...... ....--- ... ...-- -. 685 8.1 37.5
W atermelons -............ ---......... .......--... ... --690 8.2 23.3
Pasture .......---- .------....--...----.....--. ...-- 776 9.3 40.8
Corn alone .........................---............. .. 940 11.1 38.3
Corn, peanuts and velvet beans* ---... 2,766 32.9 75.0
Cucumbers ...........--- ..................---.. .. 960 11.4 88.3
Other crops ................... ................... ..... 582 6.9 92.5
Total ...................................-- ....... I 8,428 100. 1
*This was mainly corn and peanuts but occasionally velvet beans were
planted in with the corn and peanuts.





8 Agricultural Experiment Station

RECEIPTS

Table 4 shows the distribution of receipts on these farms, the
average total being $3,087.
Cucumbers furnished 72.3 percent of the receipts, or about
25 times as much as any other crop, and more than seven times
as much as livestock. Most of the farmers apparently grew
about all the cucumbers that they could care for and then grew
what other crops they could. The greater part of the labor on
cucumbers was done from January to May, about half of it
coming the last of April and first of May when the crop was
harvested. The amount of cucumbers the farmer was able to
harvest determined largely how many cucumbers he grew. De-
sirable soil may also determine the acreage of cucumbers be-
cause they generally do best on new ground or land that has
been idle for three or more years.
As would be expected, the expenses on cucumbers were high.
Most of the fertilizer, spray and container expense was for
cucumbers and about 22 percent of the productive work units
was on this crop, but even then the percent of expense was not
as great as the percent of receipts.
Peanuts, the second cash crop of importance, constituted
only 3.3 percent of the total receipts. However, this is not a
fair indication of the receipts from peanuts, for probably more
than two-thirds of the peanuts were harvested by hogs and
marketed in this form. As shown in Table 3, planting of
peanuts with other crops (principally corn) was the common
practice. Especially was this true if the peanuts were to be
pastured, and planting alone was the general practice if they
were to be harvested for commercial use.

TABLE 4.-DISTRIBUTION OF RECEIPTS PER FARM
Crops Receipts in Percent of
dollars total
Potatoes ---........... --........-........................ 13 .4
Cotton -.............................................. ..... 45 1.5
W atermelons ........--..............- ................. 62 2.1
Cane ........................................................... 71 2.3
Peanuts ....................................................... 102 3.3
Cucumbers ............... ........ .... 2,230 72.3
Other crops ................ ......... ............. 177 5.4
All crops ................ ........ ............ 2,700 87.3
Livestock ..................................................... 291 9.5
Other sources .......................................... 96 3.2
Total Receipts ........................................ 3,087 100.





Bulletin 175, Factors Affecting Farm Profits a

If the present tariff remains on peanuts in all probability the
peanut industry will increase in importance. Peanuts also
fit well in a rotation with cucumbers, another point in their
favor.
Watermelons constituted only 2.1 percent of the receipts, yet
the acreage was about 75 percent of the cucumber acreage.
The yield of the watermelons was poor, the quality poor, the
price was very poor and but few of the melons made were sold.
A normal year would have shown much higher returns.
By referring to Table 3 it will be seen that the acreage of
watermelons was about 75 percent of the cucumber acreage,
but less than 25 percent of the farmers grew watermelons while
88 percent grew cucumbers. Watermelons are not as intensive
a crop as cucumbers, requiring less labor and fertilizer. We
would not expect the receipts to be as large as receipts from
cucumbers, acre for acre, under normal conditions. However,
a normal year would probably have placed watermelons second.
From the standpoint of labor and equipment, watermelons
fit in with cucumbers fairly well. But even with this in their
favor the watermelon will probably never be a leading crop in
this vicinity because it has to compete with cucumbers for land.
Both melons and cucumbers do best on new land and on many
farms this might limit the planting of melons.
Japanese cane and ribbon cane were grown and considerable
Japanese cane was cut green and fed to hogs, some was pastured
and some made into syrup. Most of the ribbon cane except that
saved for seed, was made into syrup. The receipts, about 2.3
percent of the total, came mainly from the sale of syrup. The
farm family consumed about one-fourth of the syrup made.
It is believed that for the area in question, cotton may be
planted to a limited extent to furnish work for the family
When there is not much else of a profitable nature to be done.
But it is not likely that it can be made to pay on the average if
grown with hired labor or if grown to the extent of interfering
seriously with any other of the money crops. It may be grown
on old land not profitable for cucumbers.
Other crops than those commented on composed 5.4 percent
of the total receipts. These crops were made up principally of
English peas, beans, tomatoes and other truck crops.
Livestock furnished 9.5 percent of the receipts. About one-
half of this was from hogs and one-fourth each from poultry,
and cows. Any increase in livestock receipts would probably






10 Agricultural Experiment Station

best come thru hogs. Most of the farmers had meat and eggs
enough to supply their families, but there were a large number
that did not produce milk and butter enough for home consump-
tion. It would seem that every farm in this area should produce
enough milk and butter for home consumption.
Other sources of income made 3.2 percent of the receipts and
were derived largely from the sale of wood and lumber and from
labor done by the farmer and his teams off the farm.

EXPENSES
The distribution of expenses is shown in Table 5. Labor was
the biggest item of expense and constituted about one-third of
the total. The labor was composed of day labor, family labor,
contract labor and cropper labor; in addition to this the operator
on the average valued his labor at $251 per year. Day labor
was the most important, 80 percent of the farmers employing
day labor. Forty-five percent had contract labor which was
used mostly in picking cucumbers. Share-cropper labor was
less popular in this area and only 27 percent of the farmers
employed this type. Seventy-one percent had labor done by
the family in addition to the operator.
Fertilizer.-Over 93 percent of the farmers in this locality
used commercial fertilizer. It was the second highest item of
expense and was about equal to the next three items of expense.
Spray.--Twenty-three percent of the farmers sprayed all or
a part of their cucumbers. Spraying, according to the farmers
trying it, seems to have increased the yield and improved the
quality for the year in question. There was considerable doubt
among some of the farmers about whether spraying would pay
year in and year out. The actual expense of the spray material
was relatively low, but best results, it seems, are obtained from
a power sprayer and skill is required in applying the spray.
Seed.-Every farmer bought seed of some kind. If all the
farmers had saved their peanut seed, this expense would have
been reduced. Where peanuts were planted only for pasture
it was the common practice for the farmer to buy his peanut
seed. Both practices, however were used. Since the farmer
in this area is not very busy when peanuts should be harvested
he would probably find it profitable to save his own seed.
Containers.-The expense of containers varied directly with
the production of cucumbers, as cucumber containers consti-
tuted about 95 percent of all container cost.






Bulletin 175, Factors Affecting Farm Profits 1

TABLE 5.-DISTRIBUTION OF EXPENSE AND PERCENT OF FARMS HAVING
EACH ITEM OF EXPENSE
Percent of Expense per
Expense farms having Farm Percent of
I this expense (Dollars) total
Family labor ............ 71.7 133 7.8
Day labor .................. 80.8 225 13.1
Contract labor .......... 45.0 104 6.1
Cropper labor ............ 26.8 117 6.8
Total labor ................ 97.3 579 33.8
Fertilizer .................... 93.3 394 23.0
Spray ............................ 23.3 9 .5
Seed .............................. 100.0 70 4.1
Containers .................. 90.0 154 9.0
Car ..................--......... --62.5 151 8.8
Feed ................ ..-.. ------ 50.8 32 1.9
Taxes ............................ 100.0 39 2.3
Depreciation ................ 100.0 103 6.0
Livestock decrease .... 10.8 34 2.0
All other expenses-.... 98.3 147 8.6
Total .................... ........ 1712 | 100.0
Automobile.-Approximately six farmers out of every ten
operated an auto or truck. On farms operating cars, the aver-
age car expense charged to the farm was $241, or an average
of $151 for all farms. The total cost of operating the average
car, including depreciation was $308.
Feed.-Only about half of the farmers bought feed, and these
spent less than $64 per farm. Practically no hay was bought.
Were it not for the weevil perhaps the grain bill would be even
lower.
Taxes.-The average taxes in this locality amounted to $39
per farm, or 2.3 percent of the total expense.
Depreciation.-Owing to climatic factors and the type of
buildings the rate of depreciation is high, being about 5.8 per-
cent of the total expense. This is an average annual depreci-
ation of about 6 percent on buildings and equipment.
Livestock.-Most of the farms had a small increase in live-
stock. A few had heavy losses due to some prevalent diseases.

RELATION OF CAPITAL TO LABOR INCOME
Capital plays an important part in the business of farming
as well as in other lines of business. Table 6 shows the relation
that capital bears to farm income and labor income. Farm in-
come increases as capital increases. The group of farms with
an average capital of $20,262 made a farm income of six times
that of the group with a capital of only $1,726. Labor income
also increased as capital increased until a capital of $12,000 was





12 Agricultural Experiment Station

TABLE 6.-RELATION OF CAPITAL TO LABOR INCOME AND FARM INCOME.
No. of Average Farm Labor
Capital farms CapitalI income income
$ 0 to $ 2,499.............. 20 $ 1,726 $ 408 $ 287
$ 2,500 to $ 3,999................ 24 3,255 659 431
$ 4,000 to $ 6,999........... 27 5,444 964 583
$ 7,000 to $11,999.-.......... 24 8,632 2,076 1,472
$12,000 and over ............. 25 20,262 2,607 1,189
$ 973 to $41,817 .............. 120 8,111 1,375 807
reached. Above this it decreased. The group of farms with
labor incomes of $1,472 had an average capital of $8,632. This
group made about six times the labor income of the group with
only $1,726 capital. Our data would indicate that a capital of
from $7,000 to $12,000 is about the optimum for greatest per-
cent return on the investment. It is probable that other fac-
tors played an important part in causing this drop in labor in-
come. One of these factors (altho not shown here) is the fact
that a larger percentage of the farms with high capital had
more melons than in any other group, and melons were grown
at a loss in practically every case.
The land values being low and the type of farming being rela-
tively intensive make it probable that less capital is needed in
this region for optimum returns than in many other regions.
There are, however, a few farms in any locality that are able to
make a big capital return far above the average labor income.
Reasons for this are the ability of the operator, a desirable lo-
cation, fertile soil, more and better machinery and a well bal-
anced cropping system.
RELATION OF SIZE OF BUSINESS TO LABOR INCOME
In Table 7 is shown the effect that volume of business, as
measured by productive man work units, had on labor income.
As the number of productive man work units increased the labor
income increased, being 10 times greater in the group with 1,421
work units than in the group with only 178 work units. The
number of productive horse work units also increased as the
productive man work units increased. Columns four, five and
six illustrate how much more efficient the horse becomes as the
productive horse work units are increased. The group of farms
with only 111 productive horse work units has 65 productive
horse work units per horse and only 13 acres of crops per horse.
In the group with 898 productive horse work units, each horse
accomplished 166 productive horse work units and cultivated an
average of 27 acres of crops. Not only did the horse in the





Bulletin 175, Factors Affecting Farm Profits 13

highest group cultivate twice as many acres of land as the one
in the group of 111 productive horse work units, but a greater
percent of the crops in the upper group were intensive crops.
The 22 farms that had an average of only 178 productive man
work units did not accomplish what one man should in a year.
The 32 farms with an average of 327 productive man work units
accomplished enough to keep one man busy thruout the year
had labor been distributed uniformly. But a very large part
of the work came in the spring and one man was not able to do
all of it at that time. Then in the summer and fall there was
not enough to keep one man employed. In the case of the next
two groups there was not enough accomplished to keep two men
employed the year round.

TABLE 7.-THE RELATION OF PRODUCTIVE MAN WORK UNITS TO PRODUC-
TIVE HORSE WORK UNITS, NUMBER OF HORSES PER FARM, PRODUCTIVE
HORSE WORK UNITS PER HORSE, CROP ACRES PER HORSE AND LABOR
INCOME.


2 0 o ,
0 0 4 P 0 .
_ _ __ | 0 Q1 |4 j
0-249 ---.................-. 22 178 111 1.7 65 13 285
250-399 ....-..........-.. 32 327 203 2.4 85 17 390
400-549 .................. 22 467 296 2.6 114 22 422
550-699 ..-.............. -18 614 387 3.3 117 20 673
700-999 ....-..-.--.... 13 831 540 3.5 154 27 1424
1,000 and over...... 13 1,421 898 5.3 166 27 2,941
Since there is much work on the farm that can be done to
advantage with two men working together (hauling, etc.) it
is desirable to have the farm big enough to keep the equiva-
lent of at least two men busy the year around and then hire
extra labor as needed. Three or four men are employed on the
farm the year around to advantage in some areas. Two men
employed thruout the year, with considerable day labor in the
spring and contract labor at harvest time, seems to be the de-
sirable size of business for this particular area. The two
groups with the highest number of productive work units are
the only groups that afforded such a volume of business. Only
21 percent of the farmers had a sufficient size of business to
get the most efficient use of their labor and equipment.
It is well for the farmer to give considerable time to the con-
trol of insects and diseases, to soils and fertilizers, to better






14 Agricultural Experiment Station

strains of seed, etc., but it is none the less important that he give
some time and thought to a size of business whereby the man,
horse and equipment time may be used to best advantage.

RELATION OF LAND VALUE TO LABOR INCOME
The practice in this locality (and we believe over the state
as a whole) of cultivating lands that are very low in value due
to the lack of fertility and a desirable location, is such that we
have made a grouping to show the relation of land values to
labor income. Table 8 shows this relation and indicates that
about 40 percent of the farmers are farming lands that are
either too poor in fertility or so remote from market that the
farmer's chance of making a good labor income is very small.
Such lands on the whole valued at less than $20 per acre should
not be cultivated but put to some other use, probably growing
timber.
There were some farms that made fair incomes on low priced
land but they were so few that we would not be justified in
saying that such lands afford a fair possibility of making satis-
factory incomes. These poorer lands are usually brought into
cultivation during periods of agricultural prosperity.
Many of the farmers in the two lower groups would certainly
be better off renting good farms even if they disposed of their
farms at a sacrifice.
Some farms are located so desirably from a social viewpoint
that a premium is placed on them which causes their market
value to be so high it is difficult for the farmer to make them
pay as well as other farms not so well located from the social
viewpoint but as well located for profitable farming.
It is not our purpose to in any way throw a damper on de-
sirable location, from the social viewpoint, but we would like to
point out that prices may go up out of all proportion to intrinsic
values from the standpoint of the farm as a business. Taxes
and labor are often higher on farms desirably located from the
social viewpoint than on farms as well located from the stand-
TABLE 8.-RELATION OF LAND VALUE TO LABOR INCOME.
Value of Value of
Land value bldg. per No. of land per Labor
acre farms acre income
0-$11 ..............7 23 7 163
$12-$22 1 ............................. 8 26 18 173
$23-$39 .................... 15 24 28 1,484
$40-$59 ..... ....... 17 26 49 1,698
$60 and over ....... ..........I.. 20 21 84 422






Bulletin 175, Factors Affecting Farm Profits 15

point of the farm as a business. This is one reason but not
the only one why the labor income in the group of farms with
the highest priced land.was low. Other things also played their
parts. Among these are watermelons, which were not profit-
able this year. A larger percentage of these farms with high
land prices had more watermelons than farms in other groups.

RELATION OF CROP INDEX OF CUCUMBERS TO LABOR
INCOME
Table 9 shows the relation that crop index of cucumbers had
to labor income. Farms with a crop index of less than 75 on
cucumbers made minus labor incomes; those with a crop index
of 75 or above on cucumbers made a plus labor income. Also in
each group where there was an increase in the crop index of
cucumbers there was also an increase in labor income.
If the price of cucumbers had been three-fifths of the 1923
price and the farmers had sold the same number of hampers
that they did sell, and other things had been sold at the same
price, our conclusions would not be changed. This is shown
in the last column of the table.
TABLE 9.-CROP INDEX OF CUCUMBERS AS RELATED TO LABOR INCOME AND
PRODUCTIVE MAN WORK UNITS.

0 0
Cucumber Index g o


0-24 ............................. 18 15 16 455 -501 -578
5-54 .......................... 46 17 40 483 -150 -374
55-74 ...---..-.......--...-..... 75 17 65 716 -101 -1,018
75-94 ........................... 96 19 84 465 679 -120
95-130 --............- . 127 13 111 655 1,326 240
131-170 ...................... 169 13 147 651 2,848 861
171 and over............. 232 12 202 501 4,014 1,404

There are many reasons why some farms made a high cu-
cumber index and others a low one. In the fourth column will
be noted the average productive man work units for each group.
There seemed to be no relationship between the yield and size
of business. Undoubtedly the main reason for this difference
in yield was due to the soil. Low priced lands as shown in
Table 8 usually produce low yields of cucumbers. New land
produced better than old, and land that had lain idle for three
or more years than that cultivated continuously. Still another






16 Agricultural Experiment Station

factor that caused a low yield was sand storms. Some crops
were practically destroyed by sand storms and this evil
promises to gain in destruction as timbers are cut off. Farm-
ers would do well to consider the factor of wind protection when
clearing land. Of course fertilizer, cultivation, early or late
harvesting, etc., all had their effect on the crop index of cu-
cumbers.

RELATION OF SIZE OF BUSINESS TO CROP INDEX
Table 10 shows the relation that size of business has to crop
index. Contrary to the beliefs of many and of some agricul-
tural writers, the larger farms have as good yields per acre as
those with smaller acreage. In fact the farmers planting the
larger acreages made slightly better yields.
TABLE 10.-RELATION OF SIZE OF BUSINESS TO CROP INDEX ON CUCUMBERS.


Productive man work g
units


0 to 274 .......................... 58 106 21 185
275 to 374 ...................... 102 77 21 329
375 to 499 ...................... 121 100 19 434
500 to 650 ...................... 102 91 19 583
651 to 1,000 ................. 220 126 13 805
1,001 and over .............. 356 99 13 1,421

RELATION OF ACRES OF CUCUMBERS TO LABOR
INCOME
The importance of cucumbers in this area has already been
mentioned. Table 11 shows the effect of acres in cucumbers
on labor income. There were 14 farms that did not grow cu-
cumbers, and only one of these farms made a plus labor income.
The average was minus $476. The average farmers who did
not grow as much as eight acres of cucumbers had limited pos-
sibilities of making a substantial labor income while farmers
that grew eight acres or more had a good opportunity of mak-
ing a satisfactory labor income.
Practically every locality has a main cash crop. In the Willis-
ton area that crop is cucumbers. Usually there are a few farm-
ers in every locality that find it profitable to diverge from the
practices of the average farmer. But in the main it pays to
stick pretty close to the custom of the community. It would







Bulletin 175, Factors Affecting Farm Profits 17

TABLE 11.-RELATION OF ACRES IN CUCUMBERS TO LABOR INCOME.

g0)




0 ....................................... 14 7 -476
O to 2 ........................... 27 1.6 63 151
2.1 to 4.9 ..................... 18 3.4 56 -18
5 to 7 .......................... 21 5.9 67 388
7.1 to 14.9 ................... 23 9.9 79 935
15 and over ................ 17 29.7 82 4,126
All farms ...................... 120 8.0 62 807

be desirable if the farmers of this locality could find a profit-
able cash crop that could be harvested in the fall or winter so
as to give a more uniform distribution of labor and income
thruout the year. The data we have fails to show any crop for
this purpose. It does, however, suggest to us that farmers
should consider the growing of more peanuts, both for hog pas-
ture and commercial purposes.

COMPARISON OF 10 BEST FARMS WITH AVERAGE

In Table 12 we have taken the 10 best farms based on labor
income and compared the important items, most of which have
already been discussed in the foregoing pages, with those of
the average farm. The average farm had only 57 percent as
many productive man work units; 28 percent as many acres
of cucumbers; 64 percent as many acres of crops; 81 percent
as much capital; and 62 percent as good yields of cucumbers
as the average of the 10 best farms. All of these items, with
the exception of acres in crops, have already been shown to
affect the labor income directly. Attention has been called to
the fact that watermelons were a losing proposition for the year
in question. Receipts from this source were small. The aver-
age farm had three times the receipts from melons that the
average for the 10 best farms had.
The average farm expense was 34 percent and receipts 22
percent, while the labor income was only about 10 percent of
the average of the 10 best farms.
The average farm spent 33 percent for labor, 30 percent for
fertilizer, 24 percent for spray and 33 percent for seed of the
average of the 10 best farms.







18 Agricultural Experiment Station

TABLE 12.-COMPARISON OF THE IMPORTANT ITEMS OF THE 10 BEST
WITH THE AVERAGE FOR 120 FARMS IN THE WILLISTON AREA BASED
ON LABOR INCOME.
Percent of
Items Average of Average of average to
_120 farms 10 best farms 10 best farms
Productive man work units...... 539 953 57
Productive horse work units.... 343 605 57
Acres in cucumbers .................. 8 29 28
Total crop acres ...................... 61 95 64
Crop index for cucumbers ...... 100 160 62
Capital --............----........................... $8,111 $ 9,986 81
Real estate .......................... 6,461 7,405 87
Livestock ................................ 843 1,227 69
Machinery and equipment.. 377 648 58
Feed and supplies .............. 279 317 88
Cash .--.................................... 151 389 39
Receipts ...................................... --3,087 13,591 22
Cotton .................................... 45 80 56
Cucumbers ......-----..-..-..... 2,230 11,924 19
Watermelons --............62 20 310
Potatoes .......... ................. 13 8 162
Peanuts .................................. 102 238 43
Cane ...................................... 71 64 111
Other crops ............ .... 177 810 22
Livestock ................... .. 291 366 80
Other sources .................. 96 81 119
Expenses ...................................... 1,712 5,064 34
Labor ...................................... 579 1,760 33
Fertilizer .............................. 394 1,318 30
Spray ...................................... 9 37 24
Seed ....................................... 70 213 33
Other expenses .................... 660 1,736 38
Labor income ..................... 807 7,828 10

There are other important items which the reader may study
in this table, but it does not seem necessary to call specific at-
tention to them unless it be that of other crops. The 10 best
farms took in nearly five times as much as the average farm
from this source. These were mainly truck crops such as to-
matoes, beans and English peas, some of which did compete
with cucumbers for labor.

PROFITS MADE BY CONTRACTORS
It was a common practice for farmers in this area to grow
cucumbers, watermelons and occasionally other crops under a
contract. The contractor furnished seed, fertilizer, spray ma-
terials, half of the containers and sometimes land. The farmer
furnished everything else and did the work. Table 13 shows
the receipts, expenses and profits for the contractor. There
were 33 farms that grew some of their crops under contract.
The contractors on these farms had an average expense of $691
and the receipts average $1,711, giving them a profit of $1,020






Bulletin 175, Factors Affecting Farm Profits 19

per farm. Seven farmers lost money for the contractor to the
extent to $1,386 per farm.
Eight farms that contracted for watermelons lost $305 per
farm for the contractor. Thirty-one farms that contracted for
cucumbers made $1,232 per farm for the contractor.
The farms that contracted for watermelons lost $10 per acre
for the contractor. The farms that contracted for cucumbers
made $120 per acre for the contractor. If we assume (as we
believe is true*) that the contract was fair to both parties, the
loss for an acre of watermelons that year was $20, and the
profit for an acre of cucumbers was $240.
The expense to the contractor was three and one-half times
as great for an acre of cucumbers as for an acre of watermelons.
Those farmers who contracted for watermelons saved $10
per acre plus the use of their contractor's money. Farmers
who contracted for cucumbers lost $120 per acre less the use
of the contractor's money.
Our data show that the farms contracting for cucumbers
made better yields than the average. This seemed to be due
to the fact that the contractor selected only successful farmers
who had good soil.

TABLE 13.-RECEIPTS, EXPENSES AND PROFITS OF CONTRACT CROPS.

0 00



Crops contracted ......................... 33 I $1,711 $691 $1,020
Farms that lost money for the
contractor .-..............-..-............ 7 426 761 -335
Farms that made money for
the contractor .............-...-...... 26 2,059 673 1,386
Farms that contracted for
watermelons .-..........--.....-..-- 8 145 450 -305
Farms that contracted for
cucumbers .-.............................. 31 1,761 529 1,232
Profit and loss per acre on
contracted watermelons ...- 8 5 15 -10
Profit and loss per acre on
contracted cucumbers .--- ... 31 172 52 120

*According to unpublished data obtained by Mr. Robert Wray for
his thesis to be offered in partial fulfillment for the degree of Master of
Science in Agriculture, the contractor and farmer each furnished about
equal expense and each received one-half of the receipts.






20 Agricultural Experiment Station

SUMMARY
1. Only 61 percent of the farms made plus labor incomes.
The average labor income was $807. The lowest labor in-
come was minus $3,586, the highest $19,925.
2. The average capital was $8,111, about 80 percent being
fixed capital and 20 percent working capital.
3.. The principal crops were corn, peanuts and cucumbers.
These crops constituted about two-thirds of the crop acres.
4. Total receipts amounted to $3,087 per farm; $2,700 from
crops, $291 from livestock and $96 from other sources.
Cucumber receipts were 72.3 percent of the total.
5. Expenses were $1,712 per farm. Labor constituted 33.8
percent, fertilizer 23.0 percent, containers 9.0 percent,
auto 8.8 percent, and other expenses 25.4 percent. Sixty-
two percent of farmers operated cars at an average cost
of $308 per farm. The operator valued his labor on the
farm at $251.
6. As capital increased labor income increased until a capital
of $12,000 was reached; then a slight decrease occurred
in labor income.
7. As productive man work units increased, labor income in-
creased. Efficiency of horse labor and intensity of crops
also increased as man work units increased.
8. Farmers with land valued from $40 to $59 per acre made
higher labor incomes than farmers with lower priced or
higher priced land.
9. As the crop index for cucumbers increased, labor income
increased.
10. The size of business had no appreciable effect on the crop
index of cucumbers.
11. As the acres of cucumbers per farm increased the labor
income increased.
12. The 10 best farms, based on labor income, had more work
units, acres in cucumbers, crop acres, capital, receipts, ex-
penses and a higher crop index on cucumbers than the av-
erage; and a labor income of $7,828 while the average had
only $807.
13. Contractors made an average of $120 per acre on cucum-
bers and lost an average of $10 per acre on watermelons.
Contractors spent $691 and received in return $1,711 per
farm.





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