Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science

Degree Discipline



It is universally recognized that the living standard in America is the highest in the world. This continuous rise has been reflected in each census figure since 1930. While this picture of an overall high standard of living is generally true, there are grave disparities in living standards among people in different geographical sections of America, among Americans who follow different vocations, and among urban and rural dwellers in America.

While standards of living may be influenced by attitudes, determination, innate ability and other intangible qualities, undeniably the basis of any rise in living standards is economic in nature. Inherent in the philosophy of a democracy is the belief that each citizen of a nation has the right to work and live in an economy which makes it possible for him to maintain a living standard comparable to that of other citizens.

In past eras when the farmer lived in an isolated world, the inequality of living standards was not so frustrating and demoralizing as it is today.

Speaking in this regard, Gee1 has this to say: As a general rule, it is impossible today in so complex and intricate a civilization as ours, with its railroads, steamboats, automobiles, airplanes, modern manufactures, and advertising campaigns, for the farmer to practice a self-sufficing agriculture, even if he would like to do so. He must produce to pay his taxes, educate his children, buy his automobile and gasoline, and do all the other things that require money.

At present, this issue is so important that all literature concerned with farm problems gives it significant treatment. Both of the leading presidential candidates in the 1960 campaign recognized this fact and included strong planks regarding agriculture in their platforms. A recent issue of The Progressive Farmers quotes Jay Richter2 as saying, "One thing farmers can count on from the next president is serious efforts to increase their prices and income." Tyrus R. Timm3 speaking to a Dallas audience early in 1961 declared that: We as a people must all recognize that the way we treat agriculture in the future may be a crucial point in the rate of total economic development in this country.

Neither the agricultural situation nor agricultural practices are static. The agricultural picture is not today what it was a generation or a decade ago; nor is it what it will be ten, or fifteen, or fifty years hence. The recognition of this fact provides the setting for this investigation.

It is the purpose of this study to determine the following: 1. What are the reasons for engaging in non-farm activities? 2. What family members engage in non-farm activities? 3. What are some of the chief sources of non-farm income? 4. To what extent has non-farm income been used to supplement the farm income? 5. For what purposes is the non-farm income primarily used? 6. Do the existing practices represent a permanent family arrangement?

1Wilson Gee, The Social Economics of Agriculture, (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1954), p.43 2Jay Richter, "The Next President and Southern Agriculture", The Progressive Farmer, LXXV (October, 1960), 25 3Dallas Morning News, January 15, 1961. P. 6, Sec. 2.

Committee Chair/Advisor

E. M. Norris


Prairie View A&M College


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Date of Digitization


Contributing Institution

John B Coleman Library

City of Publication

Prairie View




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