JULY 24, 1942
En-route TO CAMPOBELLO, New Brunswick, Thursday—Yesterday I lacked the space in which to tell you about something in Asheville, N. C., which interested me very much. That was the Farmers Federation. It takes in all the western, mountainous part of the state and has 21 warehouses, plus a central warehouse in Asheville. The Federation began in a very small way, and is now a busy and flourishing cooperative.
We spent an hour Tuesday morning looking over the Asheville plant. At the poultry project, chickens are hatched from the best eggs that can be obtained, and every young cockerel sold to a mountain farmer today, comes from a strain in which the hens have a record of laying at least 250 eggs a year! When you consider that the breed of hens had grown so poor around this section that 60 eggs a year was the average production, you can see what a difference this would make. This enterprise has developed into a flourishing business. A licensed inspector grades and candles all the eggs coming in, and there is a market waiting to buy all that can be obtained from the farmers.
The Federation members have tremendously improved their dairy stock. They buy and sell the best seed obtainable. They run a school which boys attend for a year while they are paid a subsistence wage. Later these boys are employed by the Federation, and many of the warehouse managers once attended this school.
They have taken over a small handcraft project known as the Treasure Chest, which now sells hooked rugs to many of our larger shops in big cities. When Mr. McClure, the head of the Federation, tells you that at one time the average farmer saw less than $85.00 a year in cash in that section, and that today they pay many a man more than $1,000 or $1,500 a year, you can see what a difference the Federation has made in the farm family's standard of living in this section.
The manager of the Treasure Chest told me one story of an elderly couple whom he had induced to bring in some of their handwork. He marketed the articles so successfully that one day the couple walked in to see him in his office.
The man asked: "Do you know how much you have paid me in cash in the three months since Christmas?"
When the manager replied he would have to look it up, the answer was: "I have had more than $165.00, which is more money than we ever had in a year's time, so I've been able to buy my children clothes and send them to school. My wife and I are so happy, we just had to come and thank you."
Every man in the Federation pays $10.00 a share, and by working together they all have profited.