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Agricultural Trends in Western Washington KRANf-KH M. KARUB University of Washington, Seattle, Washington Western Washington is a region of relatively small truck and dairy farms averaging 51 acres, in marked contrast to drier Eastern Washington with its large wheat farms averaging 250 to 1000 acres. While the rural population of Eastern Washington remained almost stationary from 1910 to 1930, Western Washington experienced an increase of 65 per cent during the same period. Within Western Washington there is a definite concentration of farming on the Puget Sound Lowland with its combined advantages of a marine type climate with long growing season, soils which are rich or responsive to fertilizer, and the stimulus of nearby urban centers. In addition to the farm population engaged exclusively in agriculture , the Puget Sound area has an unusual amount of part-time agriculture. Owners of small cleared tracts work part of the year in mills or logging camps; many people employed in cities live in the country and cultivate a garden or small farm in their spare time. Subsistence farming of this type grew rapidly during the depression and has helped to increase ? he number of small farms now listed in this area. Most of the newer holdings are recently cutover lands; the difficulty and expense of removing stumps have operated to keep the farms small in size. In many river valleys west of the Cascades dairying is the most profitable agricultural adjustment. The grazing season is long, and farm crops, such as hay and oats, provide additional feed. The dairy industry is scattered but highly commercialized, and the output of dairy products is increasing. The Puget Sound cities consume most of the milk produced within an easy radius. Milk from the more distant farms goes to the creamery for manufacture into butter, cheese, and tinned milk. Washington farmers have adopted many of the principles of Danish cooperative dairying, but have not as yet followed the Danish system of pigfeeding as a profitable side-line. Poultry raising and egg production have increased greatly in the past fifteen years, especially in Whatcom, King, Snohomish, and Island counties. Cooperative societies have been quite successful in developing and standardizing the export egg business. The acreage in vegetables has grown steadily, with beans, cabbage , cauliflower, spinach, sweet corn, rhubarb, and tomatoes as the · favorite commercial crops. The planting of peas in one county, Skagit, increased from 5 acres in 1919 to 691 acres in 1929. In the same decade the Western Washington lettuce acreage increased from 200 to 2100 acres. Vegetables are grown for shipment to other parts of the United States, as well as for the local market. Selected areas in the Puget Sound lowland are especially suited to strawberries, raspberries, and loganberries, which have become highly specialized crops. In the Puyallup-Sumner area, famous for its berries as well as for its bulbs, the best truck lands are high in price. (Üö) The general trend in Western Washington agriculture is toward greater crop specialization, which in turn requires smaller units of land and more intensive cultivation and fertilization. As now constituted it is essentially a vegetable -berry- poultry - dairy proposition . Agriculture is also markedly influenced by the market possibilities of the urban centers around Puget Sound, Soil Erosion as a Geographic Determinant in the Northwest Ï. WlM(JHT [IAYLOIt Section «f Ini'oi'iuiitfon U.K.I'.A,, Soil f'niiservation Service, Spokane, Washing-ton Soil and water are vital determinants of socio-economic adjustments . Fertile soil, abundant water , and productive protective vegetative cover form a trio of elements in the natural environment which the geographer cannot overlook . Until recently the supposition has existed that the supply of these elements of the natural environment was relatively inexhaustible . Scientific research, as well as casual observations, have proved the supposition false. They have proved that certain definite conservation measures are necessary to insure future soil and water supply The Pacific Northwest, although an infant in terms of years of settlement , has already become a region suffering severely from soil and water losses. A survey of geographic subdivisions of the Pacific Northwest states discloses that numerous changes of a social and economic nature have already taken place as a result of the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1551-3211
Print ISSN
0066-9628
Pages
pp. 25-26
Launched on MUSE
2014-10-01
Open Access
No
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