Current issue: 56(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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