Agriculture’s role in the auto industry


The automobile industry has quite a bit of credit due the farmer.

The development of the automobile coincided quite closely with the general increase in prosperity of the American farmer.

In its infancy, the automobile manufacturer had to finance themselves to a large extent out of the slow sale rate of their product, the readiness with which their product was absorbed by the farmer and others in the farm product market.

Towns proved an important factor in the rapid development of the motor industry in those early and critical days.

The farm shows you how. The farm communities had awakened America to the need for improved transportation vehicles and better highways.

Foreigners visiting our rural areas were amazed at the number of horse drawn vehicles that were employed especially in the farming areas as much as the auto was a subject of conversation in 1930.

At the introduction of the automobile around 1900, our citizens were purchasing over a million horse drawn vehicles yearly.

A greater number per capita than other nations in the world, by 1930 the number of automobiles also followed the same trend.

A large percentage at both eras was utilized on farms and rural regions.

In towns quite an amount of transportation was by the “Shank’s Mare,” a person’s own two legs.

The parallel of the automobile industry and of agriculture business was a case of necessity.

The rural folks were accustomed to more mobile requirements than people living in towns. The fact was and is as far as lifestyle for making a living, agriculture in all its phases and the distance to shopping and market requires mobility and transportation.

Needing a ride. Farmers in 1930 required vehicles to haul products to market and about the farm.

More than a 1.5 billion tons of various materials per year were hauled – at that time more tonnage half as large as that of all the rail systems and 12 times that of all the steamships which enter our ports.

During this stupendous transportation effort our farmers used 3,600 million horse power hours of power yearly.

Between 1919 and 1928 the number of trucks utilized in agriculture went from 139,169 to 697,300.

Accordingly, a large savings were possible as compared to the expense of hauling employing animal power – animal power cost 25 cents per horsepower and the motor vehicle averaged 6 cents per horsepower.

Therefore, with a savings such as this, the automotive industry aided the farmer which in turn helped the automobile business in return.

Farm tractors. This then reveals the development of the farm tractor for all concerned which even after expenses for tractor, fuel and repair a savings for the farmer was possibly about 50 percent.

This savings is but one fact wherein a tractorized farm benefited via automotive improvements and usage.

As production methods evolved and crop quantities increased plus livestock volume, the truck employment reflects not only a savings of transportation costs and time, but also a greater choice of markets and more economic independence.

The isolation endured before the automobile was in the years after World War I almost eliminated and the highway systems were greatly improved from rutted dirt roads to paved two-way highways.

Every cultural advantage of the village and town was made more accessible to the farm family by this improved and more time savings of relatively lower cost individual transportation.

Agriculture owes quite a lot of time, money and convenience to the internal combustion engine, which gave the automotive industry a boost at its beginning.


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