Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 64.djvu/249

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By Professor D. D. WALLACE, Ph.D.,


THE south is one of the two great agricultural sections of the United States; the other is the great prairie region of the northwest, a little smaller than the south in area and a little larger in population. By the south is meant what is really the southeastern quarter of the country, skirted on the north by Pennsylvania, the Ohio River, Missouri and Kansas, and sweeping in a broad belt, with a length of about twice its breadth, from Delaware to Texas. The northern borderlands of this region differ so in population and products from the other states of the group that we shall count them only in making general statements, but never in citing illustrative examples.


The Relative Importance of the South.

The relative importance of the south in American agriculture is greater than seems to be recognized by the rest of the country, while it is doubtless less than her own people commonly assume. By comparing the two great agricultural sections of the United States, we discover that the farm property of the south comprises 43 per cent, of the total farm acreage of the country, but only 21 per cent, of all farm values; while she furnishes only 28710 per cent, of the total products. The value of farm products in the south, therefore, is low as compared with the acreage, and the value of farms is still lower. In the northwest, on the other hand, exactly the reverse is the case; that section comprises only 38 per cent, of the total farm acreage of the country, but 56 per cent, of all farm values and 50 per cent, of all farm products. This disadvantageous comparison of the value and products of southern farms is very largely accounted for by the fact that a much greater proportion of lands in that section is still uncultivated than is the case in the northwest. Yet when this has received its due allowance, the southern farmer and the southern statesmen have many lessons to learn from the northwest as to progressive agriculture, both from the standpoint of the individual and from that of the commonwealth.

Georgia and Iowa may serve as typical examples of the greater productivity of the northwest. The two states are about equal in area and population; yet Iowa feeds her live stock annually all but as much