Current issue: 55(2)
The investigation into the manpower of small farms is a part of the 1950 rural labour force survey. The purpose of this work was to study the use of manpower of small farms, that have 0.25-0.499 ha under plough. The manpower of the farms refers to men of 15-64 years of age, members of the family, whose input of unpaid labour to farming was not less than 21 days in 1950. The aim was to find out the extent to which the labour input was to farming and to what extent to paid work outside the farm. The data was collected in connection to the census of Finland as a sample.
The men of small farms are primarily temporal workers in the different occupations. Their labour input in the own farms per hectare under plough increased as the size of the farms decreased. This seemingly contradictory result is due to a low decree of mechanization, the organization of work, the quality of the labour force and the great relative importance of maintenance work in small farms. Also, especially in the remote areas there is not available enough paid work for the men living in small farms. Farms in Lapland and the county of Oulu had most forest land, which increased the unpaid work on forestry. Forestry in small farms tends to require more unpaid work, because they use less hired labour and make less sales of standing timber.
This is the workforce in forest and construction industry, that are sensitive to business cycles, and draw additional manpower during boom of trends without affecting unemployment figures. Agricultural income of the men of small farms was estimated by comparing it with wages of a worker. Their income per day for unpaid labour was lower than the daily wage of a farm worker. High number of small farms is a result of agricultural policy in Finland. The aim has been to keep the proportion of agricultural population high since it is considered to be best able to provide work and a decent living. The farms, established in connection with the abolition of tenant farming and through colonization, were mostly small.
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Finnish legislation concerning settlement states that a farm should be able to provide, according to the various local conditions, their owners together with their families possibilities for a) living based on agriculture and forestry, b) part of their living the bulk of it acquired outside the farm, or c) part of their living from the garden, and possibly part of it by livestock, in addition to from work outside the farm. The present analysis discusses the earning opportunities of the inhabitants of small farms, characterized by the fact that generally they are not able to ford their owners living obtained principally from agriculture and forestry.
According to the results of the 1950 General Agricultural Census of Finland, there exists in the country 74,134 holdings the size of 0.5–1.99 ha (dwelling farms), and 99,400 holdings the size of 2–4.99 ha (dwelling-and-cultivation farms). These small farms accounted for 37.2% of all farms in Finland. As a rule, it is possible to run a small farm only in such region, where favourable conditions give possibilities both for farming and for sufficient amount of wage-earning work outside the farm. Thus, location has a big influence on the financial status.
Dwelling farms were common in urban municipalities and near the coastal areas. Those situated in countryside were located in Eastern and Northern Finland. Dwelling-and-cultivation farms were few in the coastal regions, but they predominated the municipalities of the watershed districts near Jyväskylä, and eastern and northern parts of the country. The forests of the small farms were too small to provide additional income to the farms. Farms owning relatively larger forest areas were situated in the counties of Lapland, Oulu, Mikkeli and Kuopio, and farms with little forests in Turku and Pori County. Net out-migration has been substantial in the districts with a relatively large number of small farms.
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In the 1930s studies showed that state of the standing crop and forests of small private forest holdings in Finland was weak. In 1960s it was regarded necessary to study the possible change in the silvicultural state of these forests. Therefore, sample stands of the small holdings surveyed in 1930 by Osara were surveyed anew in the areas of Karelia and Savo, and in Central Finland in 1963–1964. A line plot survey was combined with ocular estimation as in 1930, but in 1963–1964 the lines and sample plots were placed denser than in 1930 to reach similar number of sample plots.
In 1930 the state of the forests of the small holdings was in average very weak, but according to Osara, the age classes younger than 50 years had similar stand volume than in the all the forests of the southern half of the country. The results of this survey show that the volume, structure, growth and development class structure of the forests in average have improved since 1930. In many respects the forests have reached the average state of forests in the southern half of Finland. The most serious problem is the large proportion of broadleaved trees. Thus, the silvicultural state of the forests should be further improved.
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The article is based on studies made in the Karelian isthmus in 1936-1938 before the World War II broke in 1939. Further studies were not possible after the war when the area was handed over to Soviet Union. Economic data of agriculture and forestry of the farms had mostly been regarded separately in the early economic studies of small farms in Finland. This survey aimed at studying influence of forestry in the economy of a small farm. 141 farms were included in a more detailed survey.
Forestry accounted for in average 38% of total income of the farms in 1937-1938. The farms had sold wood often, the amounts being often small. Good transport connections in the area facilitated the sales. Over 70% were sales at delivered price, and about half of the wood was small-sized timber. According to the results of the survey, forestry was important for the small farms in Karelian isthmus. The farmers could not have made a living without the forests. Hoveter, the farms had had to overuse the forest resources. The wood resources decreased by 18-22% in 1922-1938. They were, however, at the same level as in average in Finland in 1938.
The article includes an abstract in German.