On That Date, No. 11



“The first and most important step toward bringing agriculture into line with industry is to factory-ize the farm. This means great efficiency of production and distribution plus the control of output.

This is not to say that the American farmer is not efficient. In terms of horse-power, he has increased his efficiency from four to five times in fifty years. . . . At that, he is only half as efficient as industry, measured by the same yardstick. From this, it would seem that the American farmer must work twice as long as the American factory in order to produce the same results, and that is about what he does. . . .

Mass production . . . has wrought wonders [and] . . . it requires no stretch of the imagination to realize that as these [same] policies of factory management are invoked, the shorter day on the farm will follow.


Sam R. McKelvie, “Can the Farm Be Factory-ized?” Nation’s Business 15, no. 4 (April 1927): 106, ff.

2 thoughts on “On That Date, No. 11

  1. My wifes family has a similar ‘discussion’ about education/classrooms. And as i see it, agriculture is more like the classroom than industry. A factory that uses steel gets a certain amount and quality of steel in every day, and it gets cut, altered to create a final product. Every Classroom is different, and some ‘children’ are not the same as the ‘standard’. I imagine that while they try, no crop or herd is exactly the same as the last, and they do get sick and whatnot [ha antibiotics!] bad weather, etc. but a farmer has to work with what he has.
    sure a factory has defective steel come in, but i would think that is more ‘cost analyzable’ than the end of the spectrum bell curve children, and crops

  2. Oh, nice analogy. Although I think a farmer would argue that farms can at least be MANAGED more like “industries” (or, as in early 20th century, factories) in that farms/farmers also need and want method, structure, efficiency. AND above all: they have to watch costs, and one way to do that is by streamlining operations as much as possible.


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