ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED | AUGUST 15, 1920 | THE FARMER'S ADVOCATE
This is a subject very much talked of, written of, and spoken of, in fact, a subject in need of even more than the aforementioned activity. For myself, I wish to say at the outset that I also belong to the coming farmer class, and come in contact with quite a number of young people, both urban and rural. The subject will be taken at a number of number of different angles. There is the position of a wealthy and modern farmer’s son, that of the commoner class, and that of the poorer class, whether it be poverty in money, mind or lock of ingenuity to make things go.
First, we will consider the social side. Very often we find it the case, when the young leave the farm, that some social problem lies behind it. We should always dig to the roots of such, and, if possible, find out the cause. Let us not keep the reins too tight, nor too loose, as all things which are rightly done are done in moderation. If they wish to take a trip to some distant, let them go. Of course, here also must discretion be used. I remember the good done myself on several such trips. We see more of the world and come back more satisfied at home. Let the young folk have company and plenty of it, only let us see that it is of the right kind and conducive to content on the farm. Right here I wish to emphasize that I do not think each and every farmer’s son or daughter, is born for the farm. There are sometimes those with special talent in some other line. However, the greater majority are not in this class. I have also had the city fever, thinking I could get a better trade, but have had my eyes opened. I am to be a farmer now.
One thing which drives so many away is the lack of proper and modern implements. Who wishes to drudge away at the work of the farm in the same old way that our fathers did twenty-five years ago? The modernizing of the farm pays, and it helps keep the young folks at home. Of course the young people should be discreet and be able sometimes to make out with somewhat less than their richer neighbor. If my father did spread manure by hand and load hay the same old way, and a dozen similar things, I would probably also think of leaving. Let us modernize as much as we can and keep the future farmer where he belongs.
I have talked with a number of would-be farmers and I find a large percentage of those who leave the farm do so on account of lack of capital. They go and say they wish to earn something to later buy a farm. Once they are in the city they sometimes find companions there and so spend a miserable lifetime in the city shops. Also, there are those who do not realize such owners in the city, never accumulate enough to buy a farm, and we have another wasted life. But you say, well and good; however, I cannot see a cure for such a state of affairs. I cannot help my children much, they have to find their own way. I wish to task you one question right here: How many farmers are there who have large and heavy interest in city property, and then go around the country scolding because your boy went to the city? Let some of these back our boys up, give them good terms--not the highest interest--and a lot of the evils of the farm to city exodus would be vindicated. It is unreasonable that we should for the love of a few more cents, support a place, and perhaps an industry, which takes our boys away from us?
Waterloo Co., Ontario