In 1913, the Oregon Immigration Bureau and Oregon Agricultural College published a book describing a typical farmer in each of several regions in the state. For Southern Oregon’s small farm, they chose to highlight a 13-acre place with a pear orchard and garden area.
This small farm was bought in 1909 for $2,000 an acre. Improvements included a dwelling, other outbuildings and farm implements. The owner had a total investment of almost $34,000 in the orchard, buildings and machinery.
An electric pump irrigated the farm’s deep, black-clay loam from a well. The orchard was planted in three kinds of pears: Bartlett, Howell, and D’Anjou. In 1911, the yield was 3,000 boxes for a gross income of $6,900.
Expenses were high because hired men did all the work. Two laborers and two teams, hay and grain for their own cow and pigs, and costs for picking, packing and marketing the pears came to more than $3,800.
This still left an income of over $3,000 or 9 percent of the amount invested, which was considered a very good return.
Source: State Immigration Commission, Oregon. The Oregon Farmer; What He Has Accomplished in Every Part of the State. Corvallis, Oregon, Oregon Agricultural College, 1913, pp. 127-28.