Department of Rural Sociology
There are certain mutual implications to farmer and merchant that grow out of the new life habits of the farm population as they bear on the present depression. The focal position of rural income as a factor in industrial prosperity has been recognized as never before in American history. Town business enterprises have, in recent years, expanded to meet the new shopping needs of the farmer, and to profit by his increased buying power. The deflation of the farm income has consequently dealt the rural trade center a stunning blow which has been reflected in wholesaling and manufacturing as well as retailing throughout the entire nation. The deflated agricultural income prohibits the farmer, on the other hand, from exercising many of his acquired buying habits. Rural isolation has been broken down by the automobile, the public road, the radio, and the telephone; home drudgery has been lightened by modern conveniences, by purchasing ready-made apparel, factory prepared foods, baker's bread, creamery butter, etc., but these expenditures demand a cash income which the farmer does not now possess. The changed economic situation is compelling many farm families to return temporarily to a greater simplicity in living habits. Such a condition is painful for the farmer and if prolonged means ruin for many merchants. Out of this situation is growing a realization on the part of both farmer and tradesman that the town is the farmer's town. It lives on his prosperity, and the farm family in turn shares the best in American mechanical improvements and social welfare by being able to purchase its goods.
population trends, rural trading, rural urban trade relationships
South Dakota Experiment Station, South Dakota State College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts
Landis, P.H., "South Dakota Town-Country Trade Relations: 1901-1931" (1932). Research Bulletins of the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station (1887-2011). 274.