« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
More than this, the management has gone into cooperative shipping to reliable commission men in New York and Philadelphia. Early in the season when blackberries, for example, are bringing 8 or 9 cents or more, many stockholders will ship rather than deliver to the factory at contract prices. For these and others the company will provide crates and act as agents for commission houses, returning a rebate of 3 per cent of the gross sales to the organization's treasury, the usual compensation of the commission firm's agent. Since a manager must be employed during the whole season, he can take care of these shipments during slack periods at no additional expense to the company, with the added advantage of turning a comfortable sum into the treasury through rebates on commissions. This enterprise bids fair to open a market for local produce and to provide a way of escape for stockholders' berries when the market is overloaded and the price low. The young and progressive Italian farmers are taking hold of the venture with praiseworthy enthusiasm.
An attempt is now being made (July, 1909) to form an organization known as the Farmers' Exchange of Vineland, the purpose of which is to inspect, grade, label, and ship, cooperatively, all produce offered for sale by members. Shares are $5, each shareholder to have but one vote, with certain limitations on the number of shares that he may hold. Three hundred and fifty members have been secured, nearly or quite one-half of whom are Italian farmers. It is probable that the organization will be formed in time for sweet-potato shipments in the autumn. An attempt will be made to establish four standard grades of potatoes, the packs to be made or inspected, or both, by the shipping agent of the organization. He will then affix a label guaranteeing the potatoes in the name of the exchange, along the lines so successfully followed by the fruit growers' associations in the West.
At present one cause of unprofitable shipments of sweet potatoes is the very slip-shod methods of sorting and grading. Size, shape, and freedom from rot and blemishes are the three principal points in grading. It is said that most of the Italian growers are not skillful in curing or sorting, do not know the essential points of a good pack, and are likely to try to pass culls and rots mixed in with sound potatoes after the most approved fashion. The result is low prices for the whole lot, whether shipped on commission or sold at a flat rate on the platform.
The exchange hopes to ship to its own commission houses and receive the 3 per cent rebate to deposit as a sinking fund; it purposes also to control a sufficient amount of produce to induce buyers to come out from the city and take the produce at cash prices on the platform, a method that has proved profitable to shippers in many southern trucking districts. If the plans work out satisfactorily on sweet-potato shipments the exchange hopes to be able to handle fruits, berries, and perishable vegetables in the same manner.
A third farmers' organization is the Grange. Organized in 1873, it led an uneventful existence up to 1900. In 1890 the local Grange had a membership of 60, few or none of whom were Italians. În 1900 there were less than 100 members. The breaking up of the shippers' union gave new life to the Grange and the returns of the secretary for June 30, 1909, show a total of 377 members; 56 of these are Italian farmers, almost all of whom have joined since 1902. The Grange officers say that these members represent the best of the Italian farmers, the young, progressive element, and some of the older men, originally from northern Italy. They do not attend the social meetings with great regularity nor do they often take part in discussions, but they pay their dues with great promptness, as a rule a year in advance, and many of the women come to the meetings occasionally. The benefits received or inducements to membership that appeal to the Italians are two:
a Recent advices indicate that the organization has been formed substantially as described.
First, fire insurance; cheap insurance against fire is given by a Mutual Fire Insurance Company composed of grangers only. Rates are very low, assessments infrequent, and the company responsible. This appeals to many.
Second, a Grange Cooperative Society, 60 per cent of the members to be grangers, was organized in 1903. The society owns a store which handles feed, fertilizers, implements, groceries, and provisions; it is run by a salaried manager, operated on the Rochdale plan, and does a business of $40,000 to $45,000 annually. Not the least advantage is that it pays good dividends on the stock. Many Italian farmers do business in the Grange store. Since its organization the society has been successful and although burned out a year ago, the store was rebuilt on a larger scale with a grange hall and lodge rooms occupying the second story, almost entirely out of the sinking funds of the society.
PROPERTY AND INVESTMENTS.
Three views are given of the land and improvements owned by Italian farmers. First, the tax duplicates. "In each of the three townships—Landis, where the immigrants are chiefly North Italians, Buena Vista, with a mixture of North and South Italians, and Franklin, chiefly South Italian-about 100 assessments were selected at random from the 1908 duplicates. This is the view of the assessor. Second, the tabulations of the property schedules of 49 farm families. This is the view of the owner himself, in general what he considers his property worth. Third, a careful estimate made by an educated Italian who knows almost every Italian farmer in this section. His estimate is based on an actual census made for a report to the Italian Government, in 1908.
The number of polls (paying either property or poll tax) as shown by the tax collectors' lists for 1908 and 1909 in the territory settled by Italians is as follows:
a Taxpayers on property.
• Calculated-paying property tax.
The numbers here given are accurate in so far as the 1,099 polls are concerned, and there can be few duplicates. There may be some who hold property in two taxation districts. The 125 outsiders are estimates made by a private census of the number of Italian families in Millville, Bridgeton, and Rosenhayn in 1907-1908 and may be regarded as conservative.
The tax duplicate for the year 1908 enumerates 409 Italian polls and property owners out of a total of 1,380 polls in Landis Township. Practically all of these are farmers in New Italy," North and South Vineland, and on Garden road. Not all of these are taxed, except for poll tax, but the larger number own real estate.
The land and improvements are not separately assessed, but personal property is listed by itself. Fifty per cent have a personal property assessment of $100 or less and not 10 per cent own more than $300 worth. Real estate varies in assessed value from $10 to $30 per acre.
A number of the larger holdings and farms of more than average value run as follows, all copied from the tax duplicates of Landis Township-1908:
The tax rate for 1908 was $1.85, and to most of these taxes a poll tax and in many cases a dog tax is added. The poll tax is $1, the dog tax 50 cents for the first dog and $1 for each additional dog.
The actual valuations are difficult to estimate from the assessors' lists. Some property is assessed at two-thirds, some at three-fifths, and some at not more than one-half of its real value. Conservative farmers reported that land well improved near the borough is well worth $200 to $225 per acre, and that the same sort of land 3 to 4 miles out, set out to grapes and other fruit, is scarcely ever worth less than $100 with improvements. The bare land improved, suitable for culture, varies from $30 to $75 an acre according to location and fertility.
The houses are usually cheap outside and cheaper within, the barns are small, of little value, although few are unpainted, and the greatest improvements are those that have been made in the land itself. As noted, the tax duplicates give no accurate nor adequate account of property actually owned. In the first place there is no fixed relation between assessments and market values, and in the second, no account is taken of indebtedness.
In Landis Township most of the farmers are nearly or quite free from indebtedness on real estate, properties are not large, and there is a movement to increase the amount of personals rather than real
estate. In Buena Vista Township, adjoining Landis on the north1 east, the holdings of land are greater, but few farms are clear of debt,
and much of the land is in brush, uncleared, and of no value as tim.. bered land. Here the tendency seems to be to add field to field and
debt to debt. Thousands of acres of land are assessed at the uniform rate of $10 an acre, actual sale value being $12 to $20.
The following table shows the summarized property assessments of 91 farms. These do not include personal property of any kind.
TABLE 14.- Vineland area: Property assessments, 1908. [Number of farms assessed at specified values in Landis, Franklin, and Buena Vista townships.]
The tables tabulated from actual investigation of 49 families show up somewhat differently. The table which follows presents the net value of property owned (market value less indebtedness), classified by specified amounts from $50 to $5,000 or over, and itemized.
TABLE 15.-Net value of property now owned.
Considering 21 North Italian owners, it is seen that two-thirds of them own farms worth more than $2,500 each, personals between $100 and $500, that nearly 60 per cent of them have properties worth between $2,500 and $5,000, and nearly 20 per cent are worth more than $5,000.
Twenty-five South Italians enumerated own farms, 40 per cent of them valued under $1,000, 28 per cent between $1,000 and $2,500, and the remainder between $2,500 and $5,000 each. More than half of them have personals valued at less than $250 per farm. There are no properties whose total net value exceeds $5,000. Nearly one-third of the properties are worth less than $1,000 each, and over one-third are valued between $1,000 and $2,500.
The next table gives a comparison of the properties now owned, with the amount of money or property brought to the locality. For example, of the 7 North Italians who came with nothing, 1 now owns property between $1,000 and $1,500, 3 are worth between $1,500 and $5,000, and 3 own properties valued at more than $5,000 each.
Table 16.— Value of property brought, net value of properly now owned, and number
of years since first lease or purchase.
An independent, unofficial estimate of the pr)perty owned by several hundred Italians was made in 1907-8. The lived in Vineland and vicinity and included laborers, farmers, and village dwellers.