A Farm Management Study of Cotton Farms of Ellis County, Tex.



Source of Digital Item

National Agricultural Library


This bulletin is based on data obtained in a survey of the business of 120 farms in Ellis County, Tex., in 1914. In this survey the following factors were taken into consideration: Value of farm property; proportion of capital invested in land, buildings, implements, and machinery; feed inventories and cash for operating expenses; labor requirements for all crops, and amount of time available for farm work; receipts from various sources; expenses of all kinds, and miscellaneous minor factors influencing profits.

It must be understood that the records and observations concerning cotton farming in this publication apply to normal conditions before the European war. Due allowance must therefore be made concerning exceptional prices, conditions, end demands relating to agriculture at this time. The business hazard of a system of farming which depends almost wholly upon a single crop for income has been exhibited in seasons of large cotton crops as in 1911 and notably in 1914, with accompanying decline in price to the cost of production or below it, and comparatively low yields of other necessary crops "which the farmer was compelled to buy at high prices. Besides, a system of one-crop farming as herein described exhausts soil fertility, and in the case of cotton it provides no means for employment of the farmer's time during a considerable part of the year. Incidentally, dependence upon cotton as a sole source of income with which to purchase the ordinary family and farm needs often results in denying the family a sufficient variety of wholesome food. During a considerable period of good prices for cotton this system is profitable if one considers profit to consist only of the returns from the year's operations; but during another period, with low prices prevailing, such a system would be disastrous. This survey, therefore, is to be taken as an analysis of the kind of farm described and as pointing the way to the, best results under that system. It is not to be taken as an endorsement of the system, which has many evils, as appears incidentally throughout the bulletin, and as will be more apparent if the system is extended through a long period.


A Farm Management Study of Cotton Farms of Ellis County, Tex.