NEW YORK (Jan. 27)
Nearly 10 percent of the Jews who came to the United States after World War II have settled on farms, the Jewish Agricultural Society revealed today in its annual report.
Pointing out that “this contrasts with the estimate that farmers constitute two percent of the general Jewish population, “Dr. Theodore Norman, general manager of the Society, says in his report: “Nothing in the Society’s long history of service to Jewish farmers appears as important as the part it played in helping to rehabilitate the survivors of the great catastrophe which befell the Jews in Europe as a result of Hitler’s coming to power in Germany.”
The report says that since its founding in 1900, the Jewish Agricultural Society made available a total of over $13,000,000 in loans to Jewish farmers in 41 states. “During last year,” he discloses, “275 farm loans were granted, aggregating $515,000, an increase over the previous year. Nearly 5,000 farm visits were made by its staff members, from its main office in New York as well as its branch offices in Los Angeles, Calif., and Vineland, N.J.”
The report brings out the fact that some of the earliest voices to advocate mass migration of oppressed Jews from impoverished areas in eastern Europe to the United States and their settlement on the land, came from this country, although the Jewish population here at that time was very small. These stirrings culminated in the founding of the first Jewish Agricultural Society in 1855 in New York City.
The report includes a brief description of the areas in which the recent immigrants have settled, which are chiefly eastern Connecticut, the Catskills in New York, the regions around Petaluma and Los Angeles in California, and most important, New Jersey. In the last named state the Jewish farmers are a predominating factor in the fast growing poultry and egg industry, where they pioneered in developing new methods. Their annual output is near $75,000,000. Regarding a typical group of Jewish farmsteads, the report says: “Average annual gross farm income is over $20,000, which is in striking contrast to the average farm gross income of $7,000 per farm in the country as a whole.”