Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 90.djvu/249

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Wall Street Goes a-Farming

Raising crops on the factory plan with four thousand hired men

Bv John R. Colter

���Getting teamsters is a chronic aimculty on a farm. The "steel mule," or tractor solves this problem for "big business." Above is shown one of these "mules" hauling pea vines to a threshing station

��WHEX Capital undertakes anything, whether it be an exploitation of a mine, a mill, a chain of grocery- shops or a transportation project involving a string of railroads — you expect scientific treatment, efficient management, and a certain daring grappling with problems never before solved. In tackling its latest important development job — the growing of things in the- ground — Capital has not gone about the work in any less thorough or scientific manner. The gigantic Oak Or- chard Farm, largest of muck-gardens in the Eastern states and possibly in the whole world, stands even to-day — when it is scarcely two years old — as an admirable example of what a great farm can be when conducted under the precise and systematic management of "Big Business."

They call it the '"Wall Street" farm up in Genesee County, New York, but it would not blend with what is probably your con- ception of a farm. You would have to tour about in one of the farm's automobiles for six or eight hours before you could get an idea of it all. It is a vast tract. It is nine miles by two miles, to speak roughly, for the general contour is that of a pair of saddle- bags. To pay off the men who work on the huge outdoor hotbed the paymaster makes a sixty-mile trip. Oak Orchard Farm has its own telephone system, its own farm- machinery repair shops, builds its own roadways, counts its cattle on a dozen sizeable hills, does its experimental seed- planting on thirty-five-acre lots instead of twenty-foot squares, swarms with labor-

��saving caterpillar-tractors and light steel "mules" in place of horses, plants onions and lettttce by the half-mile row- — and has its own canneries, storage cellars, garages and home-communities in the bargain. A gigantic country-produce manufacturing plant with a potential acreage of eleven thousand — such is the self-sustaining under- taking with which the New York capitalists who'Own and operate the Oak Orchard Valley bid fair to revolutionize the business of farming.

Dynamiting Ditches to Obtain Muck Land

Three years ago the great Oak Orchard Valley which lies just north of Elba, N. Y. (half in Genesee and half in Orleans County), was a vast marsh, overgrown with dense underbrush and studded with forests of heavy timber. It was at once a lumber- jack's job and a drainage engineer's job. Through the center of the marsh a colony of Adirondack lumbermen cut a path — they were specially brought down for the occa- sion. Behind them the engineers dyna- mited and dredged a ditch which would ultimately carry off the surplus water to Lake Ontario, fifty miles away. Lateral canals, feeders to the main ditch, were gouged out at distances of approximately two thousand feet. Thus the great bulk of the surface waters of the region were carried down the valley, leaving exposed several thousand acres of hitherto sub- merged muck-land — that superwealthy soil which produces truck-stuffs with lavish

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