Vol. VI.—No. 34.
RALEIGH, N. C, AUGUST 29, 1912.
One Dollar a Year.
The Great Problem.
By B. F. Yoakum.
HE difference between 5 per cent, and 8 1-2 per cent, on 6 Billion
Dollars is 210 Million Dollars a year. That is the undue interest
tax paid every year by the American farmer because he has no
organized machinery to supply him with the capital he needs and
no encouragement from the Government at Washington, D. C.
It is not necessary to dwell at any great length upon the
question who gets that sum of money out of the pockets of the
farmers. Probably those who get it earn it by the tremendous efforts they
have put forth to tempt unorganized capital through unorganized channels into
an unorganized borrowing trade. Yet the fact remains that our agricultural
credit methods are extravagant and that the bills for the extravagance are paid
by the farmer in the first instance.
I do not say that any credit system can be adopted and put into immediate
operation which would save 200 Million Dollars a year to the farmers of this
nation, What I do say is that the development of our American agricultural
sections, more particularly of our Southwest—naturally a land of small farms
and intensive growth—cannot reach its full strength or work out to anything
approximating its final destiny until such time as there has been provided a
new system of farm finance that will give to the small farmer ample opport
unity to borrow on a business basis both against his farm and against his crops
and other current assets.
Therefore, I welcome the growing signs of a natural recognition of this
undue tax upon our farms and their products.
I have observed, in my intercourse with the financial interests of the
United States, that more and more men of means and of power in the money
lending world are beginning to give thought to the matter of cheaper money
for the farmer. We learn through the press of the foundation of a society in
Illinois modelled very closely after the Credit Froncier of France, One hears
of half a dozen other large undertakings, some of them more or less visionary
and some of them, doubtless, merely speculative, designed to centre and or
ganize the business of farm loans throughout the United States. I do not know
of the merit of these private ventures, but I do know that they indicate a new
trend of thought and a new direction for organized financial growth in this
country—namely a trend and a direction toward the farm.
The work of reorganizing the farm finance of the United States is sure
to come. The rapidity of its realization depends on the farmers of the United
States. They are the first to receive the benefits. If they do not rouse
themselves to wipe out this terrific annual tax upon their industry no other
man can accomplish the purpose for them. If, on the contrary, they, through
their own organizations and their representatives in Congress, demand legis
lation to accomplish this purpose, I have no hesitation in saying that the annual
interest saved ten years from now will be enough to pay the ruling rate at that
time on more than 4 Billion Dollars of additional money—enough to open and
cultivate every section of the country to its full capacity.
The great problem for the farmers to settle is whether they will be satis
fied to fight other trusts or put themselves on a strong financial basis and
operate their own trusts.