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cent; and another 40 million acres in deserts, not grazed, or two per cent. It is estimated that at least two-thirds of the forest and wood lands of the country are also suitable for grazing. Adding this acreage to the range land and unimproved pasture we have the equivalent of about 1145 million acres of grazing land in the United States at the present time, or about 58 per cent of the landed area of the country.
The same authority also presents figures as to the potential areas to be devoted to the several uses as follows: When the range land and unimproved pasture and the forest and wood lands are trimmed to the limit to increase the area of cultivated lands, we will still have about 615 million acres of permanent range land in the United States, or about 32.4 per cent; about 850 million acres of improved land in farms, or 44.7 per cent; about 360 million acres of forest and wood land, or 18.9 per cent; 40 million acres in towns, cities, roads, and so forth, or about 2 per cent; and 38 million acres in deserts, not grazed, or nearly 2 per cent. Assuming again, that two-thirds of the potential forest and wood lands are suitable for grazing, we will have the equivalent of 855 million acres of grazing land in the United States, or 45 per cent of all kinds in the United States.
The Principal Livestock Products of the Western Seventeen Grazing States Compared with the Corresponding
Products of the Remaining Farming States
For convenience, we will refer to the former as “The West” and the latter as “The East.” The line I have selected to divide the West from the East begins at the Canadian boundary and follows the eastern line of the Dakotas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas, to the Gulf of Mexico. To be sure, some of the products mentioned are grown on stock-farms west of this line. It is doubtful, however, if as many heads of the livestock referred to are grown on the stock-farms west of this line as are grown principally by grazing on natural grasses east of it. One must not overlook the fact that in the rough country to the east of this
line, and throughout the South from Florida to Texas, large numbers of horses, cattle, sheep and swine are produced on native ranges with little if any feed from the farms. It is more probable, therefore, that we have mimimized, rather than magnified, the products of grazing in the United States.
It is most unfortunate for the purposes of this study that our census figures and government statistics generally fail to distinguish between the products of the grazing ranges and those of the farms of the country. As Dr. Raymond Pearl says, in his book “The Nation's Food,” we can do no better than to refer to the products of grazing as the “... unknown X of pasturage.”
As indicated in this paper, however, we are in position to gather such data from the studies of Baker & Strong and from the census figures, as we have done, to indicate something of the magnitude and importance of grazing in our national economy.
Table 1 shows the comparison of the East with the West as regards the production of beef cattle, horses, mules, sheep, wool, goats, mohair, and swine. With the exception of swine, these products are selected because they are the principal products of American ranches. A similar comparison might be made with other products, including minerals, oils, forest products, and the like, but that is beyond the purpose of this paper.
It is interesting to note that according to the census figures for 1920, less than 40 per cent of the beef cattle of the country is found in the East, whereas more than 60 per cent is found in the West.
Of horses, 57 per cent is found in the East, and 43 per cent in the West.
Of the mules of the country, 68 per cent is found in the East, and 32 per cent in the West.
Of sheep, 34 per cent is found in the East, and 66 per cent in the West.
Of the wool produced in 1919 and reported in the census figures for 1920, 31 per cent is produced in the East, and 69 per cent in the West.
Of goats, including of course Angora goats grown for the production of mohair, 27 per cent is found in the East, and 73 per cent in the West.
Of mohair, produced in 1919 and reported in the figures for 1920, only 31/2 per cent is produced in the East, whereas 961/2 per cent is produced in the West.
Of swine, primarily a stock-farming product, 77 per cent is produced in the East, while only 23 per cent is produced in the West.
Probably the figures for cattle and sheep detract from the record of the West and favor the East. Vast numbers of feeder steers and sheep are taken from the West in the spring of the year, grazed on the improved pastures of the Central West during the summer, and fed out in the feed lots of Iowa, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio during the fall and winter months. When the census is taken these steers and sheep are credited to the state where found, rather than the range state where they were produced.
This movement of feeders from the breeding ground of the West and Southwest to the Corn Belt is another instance of national economy. The ranges of the West and the Southwest have become the great breeding ground of the country for feeder cattle and sheep. Feeding must be done in the Corn Belt, which, by virtue of its grain and forage has become famous as the one great feeding ground of the country. It counts, therefore, for efficiency in the production of meats and fibres for the West to continue to give us numbers of sheep and cattle and for the Corn Belt to continue to feed them out. Feeding stuff in the range states is, relatively speaking, high in price, whereas in the Corn Belt it is abundant and relatively cheap. Moreover, the fact that the Corn Belt is producing such heavy yields of grain and forage creates a fundamental problem of soil maintenance and improvement. By feeding steers and sheep on the stockfarms of the Corn Belt, soil fertility may be maintained in the most efficient manner.
From the foregoing figures some idea can be gleaned as to the importance of grazing, or ranching, in our national
The Principal Livestock Products of the Western Seventeen Grazing States Compared with the Corresponding Prod
ucts of the Remaining Farming States
(Figures from U. S. Census of 1920)
Number Per cent
19,943,531 18.87 Area in acres...... 1,903,215,360 741,904,000
21,495,912 60.92 Horses, heads. . ...
19,767,161 11,274,391 57.04
8,492,770 42.96 Mules, heads. . ....
940,338 27.19 2,518,587
72.81 Swine, heads. .....
6,573,611 96.54 Mohair, pounds....... ... 6,808,890 45,602,277
economy. Because of this importance, it is well for society to thoroughly realize that ranching, although it has truly passed through a number of remarkable evolutions, is not passing away, but that it is one of our permanently productive agricultural enterprises. It will be well, furthermore, for our society to make permanent provision for increasing the efficiency of the ranch or grazing business just as it is endeavoring to do for farming. The physical, biological and social sciences should all three be applied to the solution of our ranch problems, so that the carrying capacity and the carrying efficiency of our ranges may be increased to the highest possible normal, and there maintained so long as the conditions remain which make the grazing areas more suitable for livestock production than for any other economic purpose.
Moreover, our Bureau of the Census and of Crop Estimates should be encouraged to separate the figures for the products coming from our natural grasses from those indicating the products of our cultivated fields and improved pastures, so that in the future we may more intelligently decide which is the domain of the farmer and which is the domain of the ranchman, and with the help of the sciences make them both produce the greatest possible yield of food and raiment for the people, and also the greatest net product to the producers themselves.