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Therefore, these days, you may by the proper authorities and ask the perchance find Mr. Willard anywhere be- mission of the shippers of the United tween Washington, Baltimore, Chicago, States to raise the rates under which we and New York. He is the busiest railroad do business to a point where the essenta man in the United States. It is not the margin of efficiency can be maintained Baltimore & Ohio that keeps him busy. We do not say we are going to raise rate It is the American railroad system, on we ask that the Interstate Commerce Cars trial for its life, with Daniel Willard as mission and the people talk it over with chief advocate.
us, look at both sides of it with us, and His argument is extremely simple. It give us a fair answer. Whatever the runs something like this: “Transporta- people, through their representatives, sa tion is a necessity of the business life of is right we shall do. If they say, final: the United States. Efficient transporta- that it is right to push many of our raition is one of the biggest elements in roads into bankruptcy, that will be done efficient business. We have furnished When it is done, we shall operate the road efficient transportation. We have been
We have been and furnish service just as well as we can able to furnish it because we have had a but we cannot guarantee the quality certain margin of profit on every ton of the service, as we can if the living marga freight we have carried and on every pas- is left to us. senger we have carried. We cannot furn- That is about the way the railroads art ish it without that margin.
to-day asking for the right to raise tu “That margin is in immediate danger of rates 5 per cent. Of course, they back being destroyed by forces over which we up with masses of figures. It is eas have no control. We cannot stop wages enough to prove that the cost of everit from rising because they rise on account thing has risen; for there are the voucher of the cost of living, which is as far beyond to prove it. It is easy enough to prov our control as are the movements of the that the rate of pay for transportation planets. We cannot help paying more for has gone down, for there are the swort material and fuel than we have paid be- figures to show it. cause they, too, are made by higher powers Yet the argument is incomplete; and than our own.
We have to furnish many the public is only half disposed to hear it additional and expensive comforts, both for let alone to grant it. The people has our own men and for the public, because one answer, and only one. It is that, 1 new laws demand it. Our taxes mount up spite of all that can be said, most of the just as the public's taxes do. We pay big railroads of to-day are paying that them, just like the public. Our interest biggest dividends they ever paid. It rates climb, because all the world wants the sweeping argument that was put in more revenue to meet the cost of its living the hands of all the people on the day, it We pay that added interest, just as the 1906, when the board of directors of the merchant and the manufacturer pays it to
Union Pacific raised the dividend to his bank. Every item of expense has per cent. and made the Harriman syster risen. We did not make them rise. They a perpetual cause of seeming offense to all rose in spite of us.
the people of the United States who think “We manufacture transportation for about these things. the shippers and travelers of America. Of course, that is not a true argument We sell it. Since it costs us more to make Mr. Willard and his fellows in the railroad it than it used to cost, we ought to get business are not thinking about what w
We don't; we get less. We happen so long as tonnage crowds 1.5 cannot raise rates one by one; and if we tracks and passenger trains run in se get together to do it we are immediately tions. No big railroad is going to have stopped by the law.
trouble maintainingits present dividends so “Since we cannot stop the expense from long as it keeps on increasing its tonna: rising, and cannot, of our own accord, raise year by year. What they are thinkirs the price we charge for service, we come to about is the inevitable day when the
volume of tonnage will shrink instead seems to be able to tell. If the railroads of expand. All men know such times get their increase and if the country goes must come some time. No man knows on producing big business on a normal how soon or how late they will come; but scale, of course there will be an era of every man carries on his own business prosperity and Daniel Willard will probhaving in mind the ancient German prov- ably become a great big figure in the railerb that no tree ever grows quite to the road world. If, on the contrary, no insky. What Mr. Willard and his people crease is allowed, and still the country are fighting for is the right to be ready for keeps on producing the tonnage, the contraction of trade, for shrinking ton- railroads will continue fairly strong and nage, for dwindling passenger traffic. Daniel Willard will continue to be a pretty
This article does not discuss the pros big railroad official doing a pretty big job and the cons of the rate question. All that on a pretty big system. has been said has been said simply to If the worst comes to the worst, and illustrate what kind of a job Mr. Daniel there is no increase in the freight rates, and Willard has on his hands at the present the tonnage falls, it seems a fair assumption time. It is not a transportation job at that Daniel Willard, a man of fifty-two all. It is an administrative job somewhat or thereabouts, may still find opportunisimilar to that of Mr. Bryan in the dispute ties for greatness. No matter what hapbetween California and the Nation over pens, Daniel Willard is one of the most the Japanese question.
interesting figures in the railroad world What the upshot of it will be, nobody for the public to watch.
WHAT I AM TRYING TO DO
TO ESTABLISH A NEW RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE COUNTRY BANKER
AND THE FARMER
B. F. HARRIS
(VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF CHAMPAIGN, ILL.) T WILL soon be impossible to say of It has been my privilege, with my the typical American banker that he colleagues in the Illinois Bankers' Associahas not the sympathetic friendship of tion, to be a pioneer in the work that has the people.
resulted in a nation-wide impetus to this He is being thoroughly awakened to great reform movement, which I believe the fact that, in allowing people to think bids fair to have a more wholesome effect of him as a mere money changer, a mere upon this Nation's prosperity than has percentage taker, he is unfair to himself almost any other movement on foot to-day. and to everybody else. He is being made As a banker with an inherited love for to realize that, after all, he is among the the soil and, therefore, with the interest most important men in his community; that of the farmer always at heart, my theory he ought to be the bravest man in town, and from the beginning has been that the the least afraid of criticism. He is being banker's greatest opportunity for genuine taught that it is all-around good business service lay in the direction of a betterment for him to come out of his shell of exclusive- of agricultural methods, and of a solution ness, and to take interest in other people, of the problems of rural life. as well as from them – in short, that the Everybody agrees that the soil and the surest way for him to do his job in the man on the soil are the essential and final world is to enlist himself as a militant assets of the Nation. Yet most of us, for campaigner in the field of public welfare one reason or another, have either remained and good citizenship.
in ignorance of the rapidity with which those assets have been dissipated during The point upon which we laid special the last ten years, or have shown surpris- emphasis in this advertising campaign ingly little active concern about it. We was that the bank was owned and managed have put forth great effort to eliminate by farmers; that, therefore, our interests waste and to secure scientific manage- were identical with those of the comment in little business and in "big busi- munity; and that we believed we and the ness," and have taken no little pride in our farmers ought to coöperate to secure achievements in those directions. But better methods, better yields, and better hitherto we have failed to get together to values — the basis of all future and perput on its proper footing the biggest of manent prosperity, and the things that are all big business — agriculture.
required to bring better roads, better It has long been settled beyond all rural schools, and more farm life comforts discussion that the reason why relatively and conveniences. One of the early so few farmers have won a competence bulletins that we issued said: from the soil and have little, if any,
Four hundred dollars an acre is what this profit to show, besides that which arises
bank is working for in our farm lands. We must from an increase in the value of their rotate and diversify our crops to increase the farms, is that most of them have been fertility, to bring the yields that will finally going on capitalizing the fertility of the result in $400 land prices. We ought to feed soil without adding to its assets.
more live stock. Watch the University Farm Some experience in farming on my own
experiments. Send us your name if you are land in central Illinois demonstrated to
not regularly getting their free bulletins. See
our own crop report. me at first hand a few years ago that the intelligent use of such information about Another bulletin read: better methods as has long been avail
A farmer said, in speaking of agricultural able to every farmer who took the pains conditions and methods of improvement, “1 to get it out of cold storage in the agri- never knew until to-day that one dollar and a cultural schools meant the difference be- half's worth of phosphate, rightly applied to tween a bare living and a net profit every the soil of my farm, was the difference between year, besides the conservation of his one
fifteen and fifty bushels of corn an acre.” In big asset — the soil.
this case, that dollar and a half's worth of From what I saw for myself as a farmer phosphate was the price of success; it made the
difference between a meagre crop and an it became one of my convictions as a banker
abundant one. The knowledge of how to use that my good brothers everywhere might it was the thing that counted. It's the same profitably do a little less thinking and in finance. talking about their dormant, unearning
Then there was a succession of bulletins, cash reserves, and a good deal more about the large,
dormant, unemployed soil every one setting forth some simple prinfertility and the possibilities of greater ciple of good farming, such as: crop yields in their communities.
Test your seed corn. Will it grow? Are But it was obviously necessary to prove you sure you can depend upon it? how such an idea would work out in
Don't scatter your oats broadcast on poorly actual practice before advocating its prepared soil
, but drill them in carefully with
clover seed. general adoption as a banking policy. Accordingly, the First National Bank of
A mistake made in seed, or farming methods,
can't be corrected till another year and may Champaign, II., decided to set forth in a
cost dearly meanwhile. Be careful. series of advertisements what its officers Plant clover and hold it over a year. You believed could be accomplished for the will get greater returns from your crops and community if the farmers knew exactly add to your permanent farm values. what they were doing and why they did Mix grain and stock farming together. You it; if they went about their daily tasks will get greater results, and increase your land guided by definite purpose; if they made fertility. some serious and organized effort to become Perhaps we may not have been taken isters of their craft.
very seriously at first, especially so far
as our boost for $400 farm land was con- the soil itself, and the millions of boys and girls cerned. But before long we had the who are now on or are all too rapidly drifting farmers coming to the bank to consult away from the farm, because so little intelligent with us, and the outcome of it all was that effort has been made to bring it and them
into their rightful heritage
.. we profited handsomely on both sides. Convinced that what could be done in propaganda along these lines; we believe in
We believe in a campaign of education and one community could be done in every coöperation by this committee and this Assocommunity in the state, if the proper ciation with every other organization that has machinery could be set at work, we carried for its honest purpose the improvement of our idea to the Illinois Bankers’ Associa- agricultural methods, agricultural education, tion. No argument was needed, of course, good roads, and the general betterment of to convince that organization of the press- social and physical conditions of all farm life ing importance of the problems we had and work. attacked, but there was much debate,
We feel that a system of schools, supported at ethically and otherwise, about whether a public expense, can better justify itself by the bankers' association - or even an individ- tional education in its curriculum, and that
further incorporation of agricultural and vocaual banker — should actively take an
the country schools in particular can be made interest in such matters of public welfare, more helpful in agricultural education and in an example of that ancient practice of re- increasing the interest of our children in the fusing to act through fear of being mis- greatest and most necessary of all professions — understood. However, the Association's the profession of agriculture. If this comstandpat policies were eventually aban- mittee, or this great Association of Illinois doned, with the result that it became prob- bankers, can lend its help to the effort now ably the first great organization of its appearing from all sides and sources toward kind to proclaim its ambition to justify bringing agriculture, our farmers, and their sons its existence by making use of its “talents” to the real position that is theirs, we shall have in matters of human interest, as well as of body of men can render to another or to civili
rendered one of the greatest services that one good citizenship.
zation. It began its work by naming a committee on agriculture — later enlarged to
First of all, we realized that, if we were include vocational education. One of the
to make prompt headway in bettering first tasks undertaken by that committee agricultural methods, in restoring and was an investigation to find out just how maintaining soil fertility, and in increasing many points of contact there really were
crop yields in this generation, we should between the Association and the farmer.
have to do it largely with our present When it found that 60 per cent. of the
farmers. And we knew that the best — bankers of the state owned altogether the only really practical — way to reach two and a half million acres of farm land, the great mass of farmers and to arouse and were directly or indirectly interested
their ambitions was by the field demonin farming it, there was no longer any stration plan, the sending of qualified doubt that the proper agency had been
demonstrators right to the farmers on put to work for the mighty cause of
their farms, to work with them and to agriculture in Illinois.
show them on the spot how to get better I do not know of any better way to
results. We had before us the marvelous summarize what the Illinois Association results that had been produced by seven set its hand to do from that time on than years of such work in the South, and we by quoting from the committee's first
took the initiative in drawing and prereport, which it was my privilege to write: senting to Congress the first bill providing
for such work in the North and West.
In February, 1912, our representatives In all the discussion and literature of the great Conservation Congress and the conser
appeared before the Committee on Agrivation movement, popularly understood as
culture of the Senate and the House in covering forests, water powers, mineral rights, support of the bill, thus presenting the etc., we have lost sight of the greatest of all unusual spectacle of a committee of bankassets, the preservation and conservation of ers lobbying for the farmers.
Though “better farming ” has always later there was a vacancy in the teacher's been, and will continue to be, the slogan position in the district school After of our campaign, we have remembered much grave discussion, the farmers engaged that this phrase comprehends a good deal from a neighboring village, at a salary of more than merely getting the farmer to $30 a month, a young woman who is said apply business principles to the cultivation to have lacked the knowledge of how to of his fields. That is important to our "boil water without burning it”- and prosperity, but more important is an the joke was not on the teacher. educated citizenship, which it implies. What we are working for in Illinois is The Country Life Commission reported legislation to encourage, through state aid,
the establishment and maintenance of vocational and prevocational courses of instruction and training in agriculture and commerce, and in the domestic and industrial arts. And again, in this connection, it was the bankers who appreciated and seized the opportunity to get
all the important interests of the state A
together in one conference to secure the best and the most comprehensive educa
tional bill that could be drawn. DOLLAR EUROPEAN
Meanwhile, we have been zealously preaching the gospel of coöperative organi
zation among the farmers. Statistics AMERICAN
gathered from all over the world show IN
that, although in the last fifteen years DOLLAR
the European dollar has shrunk to about DOLLAR eighty-three cents, our dollar, measured
by its purchasing power of necessities, is 1898 TO-DAY
down to about seventy-one cents. Thus
we are handicapped by Europe twelve TO-DAY
cents on the dollar. The only reasons we can see for this phenomenon are that European farmers not only get greater yields but that they are better organized to sell their products, as well as to pur
chase what they require. We believe $1 83c.
that, though we cannot employ in this OUR HANDICAP IN COMPETITION
country all the European methods, we THE EXTRAORDINARY DECLINE IN THE VALUE OF
can profit by studying them, and that we THE AMERICAN DOLLAR, AS COMPARED WITH THE EUROPEAN DOLLAR, PUTS BEFORE OUR FARMERS
shall be able to handle the problem in such A POWERFUL
a way that the farmer may make more EFFICIENCY
profits on products that will cost the conthat “the schools are held to be largely sumer less than they now cost. responsible for ineffective farming, lack of Finally, an essential part of our creed ideals, and the drift to town. I am is that good roads good in all seasons are reminded of a story in this connection. second in importance only to railroads, and The farmers of a certain district in the that they are even more necessary in the state got the notion that they wanted to social life and in the inter-communication improve the breed of their horses. They of rural communities. We are trying i clubbed together and bought a fine make the farmer see that roads are ar stallion for $3,500 or $4,000. Of course, index of the character of every communit), they had to have a groom, so they hired determining its importance and limiti one at a salary of $75 a month. A little or aiding its advance; and that a country