Agriculture and the Community (Classic Reprint)

Agriculture and the Community (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from Agriculture and the Community

The following essay was written in the spring of 1921. Its purpose is to trace the causes which have operated to bring the agricultural industry to the position we find it in to-day and to discuss a policy by which the community will be able to make the industry contribute its proper share to the public welfare. I make no pretensions to any originality of treatment in analysing the causes of the decay of agriculture, or to have produced any new schemes of reform. I have purposely confined myself to the criticisms of those who are recognised as competent judges and have merely brought the criticisms together and tried to make the deductions which the facts warrant. The principal deduction I make is that the present system of private ownership and control of land, modified in some degree by legislation and administration, and the private control and management of farming operations for profit-making, have proved unable to make adequate use of the national resources, and that the industry, if left to be the private speculation of landowners and farmers, will tend to become less capable of supplying the needs of the community. The policy I propose is that the community should definitely make itself responsible for the maintenance of a standard of control and management of agricultural land, and for a standard of cultivation, and should set up the necessary machinery for enforcing these standards, taking over land and arranging for farming on its own responsibility.

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