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Putting the Barn Before the HouseWomen and Family Farming in Early Twentieth-Century New York$
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Grey Osterud

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450280

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450280.001.0001

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“Buying a Farm on a Small Capital”

“Buying a Farm on a Small Capital”

(p.69) 3 “Buying a Farm on a Small Capital”
Putting the Barn Before the House

Grey Osterud

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the ways in which farming families in the Nanticoke experienced and adapted to economic change by focusing on the story of the Young family and their decades-long effort to establish a farm “under difficulties.” Led by the sixty-year-old George Young, the Young family are a living proof of “the successes that had been attained by farmers” in the region. In their shared work and family commitments, as well as in their concern with agricultural improvement and involvement in farmers' cooperatives, the Youngs exemplified the values held by most Nanticoke Valley farmers. The history of the Young farm also illustrates what Ralph Young, a son of George, called “progressive ideas”; the family adopted the latest techniques and machinery and specialized in dairying. The development of their farm illustrates the entire sequence of changes in methods of production, processing, and marketing that occurred between 1900 and 1945. This chapter also considers the essential contributions made by rural women, as seen in the Young women, to the family farm.

Keywords:   farming families, Nanticoke Valley, economic change, George Young, farmers, farmers' cooperatives, dairying, marketing, rural women, Ralph Young

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