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RECENT IMMIGRANTS IN AGRICULTURE
According to the Census of 1910, the total number of white farm operators in the United States was 6,361,502. Of this number, 75 per cent. were found to be native Americans, and only 10.5 per cent. were foreigners. Of the native white farmers, two-thirds were independent farmers and slightly less than onethird were tenants. More than four-fifths of the immigrants, or 81.4 per cent., were owners of the farms they cultivated, and only 17.6 per cent., or less than one-fifth, were tenants. Of the foreign-born white farmers, the distribution according to country of birth in 1910 was as follows:
*The total includes representatives of races from small foreign countries, the figures for which are separately given.
As is apparent, from the preceding statement, the countries which have contributed the largest number of farm operators to the United States are Germany, Sweden, Canada, Norway, England, Ireland, Austria, Denmark, and Russia.
The Older Immigration from Northern and Western Europe
In considering the status of immigrants in agriculture, it is necessary, however, as in other aspects of the immigration problem, to divide them into two classes: the older immigrant race groups and the Altho the history of the immigrant farmer in the United States is very long, it is more important at present to study the recent immigrants from southern and eastern Europe, principally because they have been a comparatively short time on the land and their success in farming has not been demonstrated. They come from races who do not usually become farmers in the United States, but it is probable that the future agricultural immigrants will come from these same southeast European races. On the other hand, there are the English-speaking races, nearly all of whom are early immigrants. They are scattered all through the country and are thoroughly Americanized. The other north European races of older immigration have been readily assimilated also and are prosperous in every form of agriculture.
Of the older immigrants the Germans are the most important in regard to numbers. The German male bread-winners on farms in 1910 comprized about onethird of all foreign males on farms. The second generation also shows a decided inclination to remain in
agriculture. The German colonies in Texas, which were established before 1850, have long been considered as prosperous as any in the State.
The Norwegians have a large proportion of their male bread-winners in agriculture, a higher percentage than any other race, 57.8 per cent., living in rural communities. From the first they have preferred agriculture to industrial work and have carried on a diversified agriculture, depending on economic and natural conditions. Some 97 per cent. of the Norwegians in agriculture are settled in the North Central States and the State of Washington. They took up unbroken, forested valleys or prairie land in Minnesota and the Dakotas.
The Swedes and Danes are as a rule in the same States as the Norwegians. The Swedes go more into industry than do the Norwegians. All of the Scandinavian races have proved excellent pioneers.
Of the males of Swiss parentage in 1910, 39.3 per cent. were on the land. The majority of Swiss farmers are owners of land, many of them engaged in dairying and stock raising, and have large settlements in Ohio, Wisconsin, and California, the most notable of which probably is in Green County, Wisconsin.
There are no satisfactory statistics on the Russian settlers in the region between the Great Lakes and the Rocky Mountains and in Western Canada. There are increasing numbers of these peasants engaged in grain farming. They settle in compact groups and are fairly successful and prosperous.
The Recent Agricultural Immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe
The Immigration Commission investigated nearly every important settlement of certain selected immigrant races in States east of the Mississippi River, and made a general survey of conditions in Texas, Arkansas and Southern Missouri. The study included North and South Italians, Hebrews, Poles, Slovaks, Bohemians and other Slavs, and Portuguese, with a few colonies of German-Swiss and Belgians, as well as Japanese in the East and West. The Commission's purpose in its study was to ascertain the racial characteristics and the economic, social and political status of the recent agricultural immigrant. In studying the communities, approximations as to number were made from town records, church registers, published ‘estimates, censuses made by interested persons and canvasses by the Commission's agents. They studied by communities, as the colonies or race groups are generally homogeneous, instead of by agricultural industries. It was found best to separate the various racial groups of immigrants in agriculture into two distinct classes: first, those in settlements and communities who live permanently on country farms, and second, seasonal farm laborers who make their homes permanently in cities but migrate to the country in gangs to supply the demand for seasonal labor.
Italians in Agriculture
The Italians are probably the most important race of recent immigrants in agriculture. Since 1900 a very large percentage of all immigrants to this coun
try have been of this race. In spite of the fact that nearly two-thirds of the South Italians and one-fourth of the North Italians were farmers abroad, only a very small proportion go on farms in this country. There are several reasons for this. In the first place the Italian arriving in this country is in most cases poor and has neither capital nor sufficient funds to travel. He has no way to learn of opportunities in agriculture, and as he must begin earning wages immediately, he takes the industrial work that is at hand in the cities. Italians like to live in populous places, such as they are accustomed to in their own country, and the comparative isolation of rural life does not appeal to them. For this reason they are not good pioneers but are successful as small farmers and truckers where they can live in close companionship with their countrymen.
Climate is of less importance in determining the success of a colony than might be expected. There are groups of South Italians scattered from North Wisconsin to Louisiana and they are successful farmers in New Jersey and in Texas as well. The largest and oldest colonies in the East are in New Jersey at Vineland and Hammonton. In New York the settlements are mostly on the Erie Canal line from Madison to Orleans Counties. There are a good many Italian truckers and market-gardeners in New England.
Two Wisconsin colonies at Genoa and at Cumberland aggregate about two hundred families. The former is an old settlement, but Cumberland is recent, composed largely of railroad laborers. Their supplementary earnings from industrial labor go to pay for the land.
The Italians, it is true, have brought no new methods into agriculture, but in practically every case in