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Good News four Farmers.

Ib has been calculated—with the present population of the United States, and its rate of increase—that five years will see the export of wheat from that country at an end. The local market there is growing faster than the wheat fields are extending. The supply of meat will also bis curtailed trom the same causes, and these coming changes can hardly be other than beneficial to New Zealand farmers and graziers. The Review of Reviews of June last deals with the same subject as follows:— The real economic question which underlies Irish agitation is the fall m the value of land caused by the excessive competition of American produce. Whether or not Irish land legislation succeeds depends entirely upon whether or not the value of Irish land has touched bottom. As long as the American farmer can put his beef m the English market at a lower figure per pound than the Irish farmer can produce it, there is no hope of any tranquility m Ireland. But the moment American produce rises m value, that moment the tide will begin- to turn. The present lull m Ireland is muci; more due to the prices of _meat m the Chicago market than bo all the legislation of the Imperial Parliament. But it ■is not only m Ireland that American competition has revolutionised the conditions of agriculture. There is probably not a county m England m which there are not farms idle ab this moment and landlords at the brink of ruin because of the impossibility of producing meat and wheat at paying prices, m face of the cheap produce of the American f rairie. Hence I am inclined to regard Mr 0, Wood Da vis's papers m the Forum of April and May as being quite the most important from an economic point of view of any m the periodicals under review this month. Mr Wood Devis sets forth with a great display of statistical information that American competition, so far as wheat and meat are concerned, is on its last legs, and m a very short time America will actually have to import wheat to feed her own population! For years past, he points out, the American farmer has been almost driven to bankruptcy by the excessive production of cereals, and stock. He calculates that it requires an acre and a quarter to produce the agricultural product consumed at home or exported abroad. During the last fourteen years so mush land has been brought under cultivation that the average per head rose to 3| m 1883, and it was the crops of the surplus quarter acre which flooded the home and foreign markets. In 1888, however, this average per head had falien from 3"51 to 336, and the process thus begun will proceed till m 1894 there will only be 3 acres pet head, owing to the natural increase of the population. If the American people continue to require the product of 3J acres each, they will have to make an annual addition of 6,000,000 acres at least to keep pace with the natural increment of population. For years past tne annual additions have been less than 3,000,000 of acres. Mr Davis's conclusions are as follows:— "If the computation of the area required per capita be correct, and if the Department of Agriculture has nob underestimated the area employed m growing stapla crops, domestic consumption will absorb the entire product of cereals, potatoes, and hay within five years from January, 1890, and thereafter agricultural exports will consist almost wholly of tobacco, cotton, and animal products, the volume of which will shrink as constantly, if not m the same degree, as home consumption increases. An equalisation of the supply of the various staples will readily follow from the application of corn and wheat fields to the growth of such products as may, from time to time, be m most urgent demand. Meantime, prices will steadily advance. " To most people it would probably appear absurd to suggest that well within ten years it may be found necessary to import large quantities of wheat to feed the ever-increasing population ; but such will be the logical sequence of the necessity of employing wheat fields m the growth of other staples, and of the exhaustion o.f the material from which farms are developed. " Assuming the substantial correctness of the estimates of area by the Department of Agriculture, and that home requirements will be such as to employ 3*15 acres per capita, bhe answer to bhe question, When will the farmer be prosperous? resolves itself into a calculation as simple as the following :— Acres. Acres. January, 1894, a population of 72,000,000 will require m staple crops an area of 226,800,000 Area now employed m growing such crops 211,000,000 Additions to be made to such area m four years 12,000,000 223,000,000 Acreage deficit Jan., .1894 ... 3,800,000 " This deficit should be sufficient to neutralise any possible under-esfciinate of the a-rea now m cultivation. " Does not the evidence adduced show

that before this decade is half spent, all the products of the farm will be required at good prices, that lands will appreciate greatly m value, and that the American farmer will enter upon an era of prosperity, the unlimited continuance of which is assured by the exhaustion of the arable areas V —Exchange.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18900811.2.13

Bibliographic details

Good News four Farmers., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2488, 11 August 1890

Word Count
889

Good News four Farmers. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2488, 11 August 1890

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