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3,739


60.2


41.2


5,392


58.8


33.6


5,986


66.4


47.9


3,669


52.1



20 MASS. EXPERIMENT STATION BULLETIN 387

Table 6. — Average Size of Farms, by Counties, 1940

County Acres

Barnstable 24.9

Berkshire 136.9

Bristol 38.6

Essex 49.8

Franklin 93.5

Hampden . 75.5

Hampshire 77 .4

Middlesex 52.1

Norfolk 43.6

Plymouth 33 . 3

Worcester 70.7

The State 60.8



Farm Taxation

Closely connected with the level of farm land values and investment in the
farm is the problem of taxation. The total amount paid by the farmer depends
both on assessed valuation and on the rate of taxation. The comparison of rates
from one town to another does not tell the whole story, inasmuch as there is a
wide variation in the relationship between assessed valuation and true value.
In Massachusetts there is a considerable difference from one town to another
in this respect, as indicated by a farm tax study made at the Massachusetts Agri-
cultural College.^ In a group of ten towns the ratio between assessed value and
owners' value varied from 41.9 percent to 62.4 percent.

Table 7. — Average Tax Rate in Towns Below
10,000 Population, by Counties, 1940

County Tax Rate

Barnstable $27 . 32

Berkshire 30.26

Bristol 32.76

Essex 34.41

Franklin 29.10

Hampden 31 . 62

Hampshire 30.45

Middlesex. 32.05

Norfolk 31.98

Plymouth 30.80

Worcester " 36 . 85

The State 32.16

The average tax rate for towns under 10,000 population, as imposed in 1940,
amounted to $32.16. (Table 7) By counties, the highest average rate was in
operation in Worcester County, with Essex County following; the respective
figures being $36.85 and $34.41 per $1,000 of valuation. The lowest average rate
is recorded in Barnstable County at $27.32.

^Yount, H. VV. Farm Taxes and Assessments in Massachusetts. Mass. Agr. Expt. Sta. Bui.
235, 1927.



LAND USES 21

When tax rates are considered by towns the extent of variation becomes more
pronounced. They range from $12.90 in the town of Boxborough in Middlesex
County to $53 in the town of Warren in Worcester County. With such variations
in assessments and tax rates, a more adequate measure of the weight of taxation
on agriculture in individual communities will be obtained by taking the amounts
paid either per acre of farm land or on the entire farm, as reported in the Agri-
cultural Census.

Taxes on land and buildings per acre of farm land are indicated in Chart VI.
The variation is from $1.02 per acre in Franklin County to $5.64 in Norfolk
County. In general, individual counties exhibit the same relationships that have
been found in the case of land values.

As shown in Chart VII, the same thing is true of taxes per farm. A notable
exception is Barnstable County, where the tax per acre is close to the highest,
but because of the small average size of farms the tax per farm is nearer to the
lowest payment.

Both investment in farm real estate, as represented by land and buildings, and
taxes paid represent fixed charges in the cost of farm operations and if too high
have the effect of discouraging agricultural land utilization when all the charges
are to be covered from farming operations. In attempting to make recommen-
dations for agricultural land utilization in individual areas, therefore, the level
of land values, the size of fixed investment, and taxation should be given primary
consideration.

Residential Land Uses

With the increase of population in Massachusetts the amount of land used for
residential purposes has been gaining constantly in importance. At the present
time the total area of land used for residential, industrial, and commercial pur-
poses in densely settled areas comprises about 6 percent of the entire area of the
State. The proportion naturally varies from one county to another. The rural
counties in the western part of the State have the lowest percentage of densely
settled area, with 1.3 percent in Franklin and 2.6 percent in Berkshire County.
The eastern counties have the highest percentages, Middlesex, Norfolk, and Essex
counties having 13.6, 12.2 and 10.8 percent respectively. The only exception
to this high percentage in the eastern section is Barnstable County, where the
area so occupied amounts to only 2.1 percent of the county. Bristol and Plymouth
counties each have 6.5 percent of land in settled areas; and Worcester County,
in the central part of the State, has 4.5 percent, somewhat below the State average.

The amount of land in densely settled areas is not, however, under present
conditions the only important indicator of the extent to which land is being used
for residential purposes. In the last two or three decades, with the advent of
the automobile, residential uses of land have extended ii.to rural areas, with
dwellings scattered far and wide. This is true especially in the eastern part of
the State but also in the vicinity of urban centers in other sections. If the use
of land for residential purposes in these widely scattered rural areas is taken into
consideration, the total area of the State devoted to residential uses will be con-
siderably higher than is indicated by the densely settled areas alone. A certain
amount of land formerly in farming, especially in the eastern section of the State,
has become a part of these expanding residential sites.



22



MASS. EXPERIMENT STATION BULLETIN 387



Average Tax per Acre of Farm Land (owner-operated farms), by Counties
Based on U. S. Census, 1940

DOLLARS
O 1 e 3 4. 5



FRANKLIK

BERKSHIRE

HAMPSHIRE

HAMPDEN

WORCESTER

BRISTOL

MIDDLESEX

ESSEX

BARNSTABLE

PLYMOUTH

NORFOLK





'


$i.oai




$ 1.1£ 1




$1.67 1




sa.oa 1




S2.15 1




$3.79 1




$4.71


1 1




^4.79 1




$4.94 1




$5.06


1 1


- 1


$5.64


r 1


1



Chart VI. Average Tax on Land and Buildings



FRANKulN

BERKSHIRE

HAMPSHIRE

HAMPDEN

WORCESTER

BRISTOL

BARNSTABLE

ESSEX

MIDDLESEX

PLYMOUTH

NOR FOLK



$1.16|




$i.3ei




$1.91 1




$2. 2a 1




$2.42 1



$4.18



$5.14



$5.20



$ 5.ao



$5.34



$ 6.13



DO LL A RS
Z. 3



Chart VIIL Average Total Tax



LAND USES



23



Average Tax per Farm (owner-operated), by Counties
Based on V. S. Census, 1940



FRANKLIN

BARNSTABLE

HAMPSHIRE

PLYMOUTH

BRISTOL

BERKSHIRE

HAMPDEN

WORCESTER

ESSEX

MIDDLESEX

NORFOLK



$100.04



$1 1 8.86



$1£1.96



S126.80



$129.20



$129.57



$1 29. 9 8



$136.44



$186.11



DO LLAR5
100 150



$215.


98 1




$ 2 2 8. 5 9 1





Chart VII. Average Tax on Land and Buildings



FRANKLIN

BARNSTABLE

PLYMOUTH

HAMPSHIRE

HAMPDEN

BRISTOL

BERKSHIRE

WORCESTER

ESSEX

MIDDLESEX

NORFOLK



so


DOLLARS
100 150


200


as










S 113.69


1






$123.60


1






$133.85


1



$139.11



$142.55



$14-2.60



$ 151.92



$153.55



$204.61



$238.13



$248.37



Chart IX. Average Total Tax



24 MASS. EXPERIMENT STATION BULLETIN 387

Part-Time Farming

Closely connected with residential land uses is the development of part-time
farming. As a matter of fact, the desire to have residence in a rural environment
has been one of the primary motives of a good many people in adopting part-
time farming as a mode of living. Where farming is done on a very small scale,
hardly sufficient to cover the essential requirements of the family in a few products,
the residential element is undoubtedly dominant. Where part-time farming
expands to the extent of not only fully covering the family requirements in a few
essential products but even going into the production of a surplus for sale, the
matter of additional income enters more fully into consideration. In most cases
the decision to settle in part-time farming is based on a combination of several
considerations: cheaper living, more acceptable housing conditions, especially
for a large family, opportunities for better health because of country environment
and more abundant fresh farm products, a certain amount of additional income
combined with the security of owning a small farm — all these enter into the
picture.^

Part-time farming has been on the increase in the State for the last two or three
decades and is still advancing. One type of part-time farming, that carried on
by retired people with an outside income, is slated now for a big increase. On the
basis of recent social legislation a large number of people engaged in industries
and trades will be retiring after a certain age with a definite income through the
rest of their lives. Many of these, either because of a previous rural background
or because of an urge for rural life, will be looking forward to settling on a piece
of land in the country. Some of them are not waiting for the beginning of the
retirement period and are already getting suitable holdings in readiness for that
time. These tendencies have been definitely discovered in the studies of part-
time farming carried on under this and other projects in Massachusetts.

To determine the extent of part-time farming is extremely difficult because of
a variety of types existing in the State and the difficulty of formulating an ade-
quate definition. The most recent complete figures available are for the Census
of 1940. (Chart X) According to this information, 40 percent of the 31,897
farms included in the Census enumeration are operated on a part-time basis.
Some part-time farmers are engaged in outside work on other farms, but the
majority, comprising 84 percent of the total, are employed in industry and other
occupations. The amount of time spent by part-time farmers outside of their own
holdings varies widely. While only 17 percent of them spent less than 100 days
per year in such work, 61 percent of them were engaged in outside activities to
the extent of 200 days or more through the year.

The extent of part-time farming varies with the location and general conditions
in a particular area. There is more part-time farming in towns with industrial
enterprises and in rural areas in the vicinity of industrial centers. With the
improvement of rural roads and better transportation facilities, commuting is
possible for longer distances and part-time farming spreads over wider areas.

Much of the land previously in commercial farming is now being occupied by
part-time farming. More of it will undoubtedly be taken, especially in the eastern
part of the State. Considering the level of land values and the high taxes in the
eastern counties, it is difficult to visualize much farming on a commercial scale
carried on profitably in some of these areas. Inasmuch as the part-time farmer
has an additional income and does not need as much land as an operator engaged
in commercial farming, he can carry the load with much less difficulty. In
addition, to the part-time farmer the expense of maintaining his holding is to a
large extent a part of his housing costs.



*Rozman, David. Part-Time Farming in Massachusetts. Mass. Agr. Expt. Sta. Bui. 266, 1930



LAND USES



25



Z5



PELR CENT
50



ALL FARM5



part-time:

WORK



DAYS OF

PART-TIME

WORK



FULL-TIME
5 9, 9



Online LibraryMassachusetts Agricultural Experiment StationBulletin - Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station (Volume no.379-398) → online text (page 25 of 77)