Farming has often been called a way of life. The designation has merit. There are health and vitality in the sunshine and fresh air the open country. There is beauty in a wooded hillside, in the green expanse of a meadow, in the changing tints and shadows of billowing grain. There is artistry in a well-turned furrow, a gracefully capped wheat shock, a brightly yellowed ear of corn. There is anticipation in sowing, satisfaction in reaping.
But farming is more than this. It is capital, and labor, and finance. It is gambling with the winds and rains, with blighting disease and ravaging insect. It is providing food, clothing, and shelter, tools, and machinery, conveniences for the household, and a few things called luxuries. Farming provides the home and the way of living for one quarter of the American people, but it is also their business. Upon its success as a business depends in no small measure its attainment as a satisfactory way of life.
For the most part, farming is a means getting the value or usefulness out of a natural environment. It is true that some farms are essentially factories that, by virtue of location, can purchase raw-feed materials and market them profitably at a convenient industrial center as finished dairy, poultry, and livestock products. But most farms develop their own resources of soil and climate. They are producers, not processors. And the first step in production is the growing of crops.