New York (Apr. 18)
Jewish farmers in the United States are straining their energies to increase food production and are giving “their full measure of effort and devotion toward winning the war,” according to the forty-fourth annual report of The Jewish Agricultural Society just issued by Dr. Gabriel Davidson, its executive head.
The report covers the society’s work in 1944 and tells of the organization’s plans to settle on farms returning veterans as well as displaced workers, shopkeepers and others who see in farming a way of livelihood. The society’s work though nationwide, has been carried on most intensively in the northeast and middlewest. Now the society has decided, Dr. Davidson reports, to enlarge its work on the Pacific Coast to take care of the expected post-war trek to farms in those regions.
Founded in 1900, the society has been an important factor in the increase of the Jewish farm population in the United States. In the past ten years over 10,000 people sought its advice and the J. A. S. was responsible for the establishment on farms of 980 families directly, many more indirectly. It has not confined its aid to individual farmers but has benefitted whole agricultural communities. Many of its techniques and practices have been adopted by other farm organizations, including state and federal agencies.
Since its establishment the society has granted 14,505 loans aggregating over $10,000,000 to Jewish farmers in forty states. The soiety, the report explains, “makes loans not usually obtainable elsewhere, based not strictly on tangible security but also on human factors – faith in the ability of the borrower to make good.”
The report shows that, despite the urgent need for manpower to produce the maximum amount of food, sons of Jewish farmers are fighting shoulder to shoulder with the sons of non-Jewish farmers on all the battlefronts of the war. A survey just made in collaboration with the National Jewish Welfare Board in sections of middle Atlantic, New England and midwest states shows that Jewish farm families have two sons, some three, some four and some more sons and daughters in service. Army rank ranged all the way from private to lieutenant colone 1, Navy up to lieutenant. Awards received range up to Distinguished Flying Cross and Distinguished Service Cross.
In concluding the report, Dr. Davidson says the following “For nigh on to a half century the Society has labored to establish families on farms where they could work with the pride that springs from possession and the dignity that comes from the consciousness that they are the molders of their own destinies. It was therefore a gratification to see The Jewish Agricultural Society referred to by the recent National Catholic Rural Life Conference as “The pioneer of the Rural Life Groups and their inspiration and close collaborators’.”