Raleigh, N.C., May -- Of such great importance does Governor T. W. Bickett consider the cultivation of tenantless and vacant farms in this time of stress and danger that he has addressed a second letter to the boards of county commissioners of the counties of the State urging that there be no delay in this activity. The Governor’s letter tells its own story. It is as follows:
In the emergency we now face not only patriotic duty but the necessity of protecting the people of our own State from want demands that we increase our acreage and production of staple food and feed crops by every means at our command. As the constituted authority in your county, upon you rests the responsibility of doing everything possible to protect your people from threatened hunger and deprivation.
The farmers of our State are rallying to the extent of their ability to the demand for increased food and feed production, but they are handicapped by a shortage of labor and work-stock and they are not going to be able to supply the deficit of food and feedstuffs we shall face. It is imperative therefore that steps be taken to increase acreage and production by other means. The greatest opportunity we have for doing this is through the use of our road forces of men and workstock in the cultivation of idle and tenantless farms, many of which exist in practically every county in the State. The production of foodstuffs is more important in this crisis even than the building of good roads, and I am again writing to urge that you take this matter up in your county without delay.
You have ample authority, according to the Attorney General, to use the road forces for this purpose and you should not only raise sufficient feed for your stock and food for your workers but a surplus for the market, the proceeds of course to be added to your road fund.
Many landowners of the State are offering tenantless land for cultivation in food crops free of charge. A statement in your county papers requesting the owners of vacant lands to communicate with your board will no doubt result in the offering of all the land you will be able to take care of rent free, or at a nominal rental.
Trusting that you will act upon these suggestions without delay, I am, etc.