A very fair indication of the thrift and general prosperity of a farmer is the method he employs in caring for his tools. Shiftlessness, waste, lack of energy, constant buying and heavy burdens of debt will accompany poor care. Good care is an indication of shrewdness, business ability, long-lived machinery, comfortable bank balances and the assurance of a peaceful, prosperous future.
To the progressive man, figures speak more forcibly than does the most persuasive lecturer on economic topics. The report of the United States Census for 1910 contains some figures that bear a distinct message to the farmers of the country. In 1900 the value of all farm property in the shape of farm implements and machinery was $749,775,970; in 1910 this same value had increased to $1,265,149,783, representing an increase of 68.7 per cent. This increase can be ascribed mainly to increased quantity rather than to higher prices, for the increase in price of farm machinery has been comparatively slight. It means that the farmers are realizing the benefits to be derived from the use of labor-saving machinery. In 1900 the acreage of improved land in farms was 414,498,487; in 1910 this became 478,451,750, an increase of only 15.4 per cent. These figures may be a little more significant if expressed in the following way: In 1900 there was $1.80 worth of machinery for each acre of improved farm land; in 1910 this had increased to $2.65, or an increase of over 47 per cent.