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From the Fireman's Fund Record, July 1919.

PREVENTION brings results. Figures gathered by the University of California show that a protection campaign and the work of 412 rural fire fighting companies reduced the average damage per fire in California grain fields from $1384, the average of three years, to $931 in 1918. The size of the average fire was lowered from 111.5 acres to 31.6. Machinery in the field caused 57.8 per cent of the fires.

Grain insurance in field and warehouse is an important item. The following article gives much interesting information on one part of the West.

Special Agent for Oregon, Southern Idaho and Western British Columbia.

The great grain fields of Oregon lie east of the Cascade Mountains back from the Columbia River at an elevation of from 1000 to 2500 feet.

A crop is put in every other year, and on alternate years the land is allowed to lie fallow.

Due to the high price of wheat in recent years, the advent of the tractor for hauling and plowing, the self-propelled harvester and the automobile, the wealthy farmer has been able to pay his neighbor a high price for his land and farm it together with his own at a very small additional overhead expense. This has brought about a condition of larger farms and fewer farmers, and another change has been the tendency of the large farmers to move their families to the inland cities.

The first separators were what is known as the stationary harvesters, the separator being operated by belt connection with an engine burning coal, wood, or straw for fuel. The hazards of the engine throwing sparks on the dry stubble or straw stacks or sparks caused from static electricity in the machine itself are obvious. Many fires have been caused by carelessness in leaving live coals on the ground when raking out the fires at night.

Harvesting in some sections is by header and binder, the grain after ripening in the shock being piled in stacks and threshed from them, or the scattered shocks are brought to the separator and threshed. In some localities where the grain does not ripen evenly or where the fields are small or particularly hilly the stationary is still used, hut the combined harvester of various means of operation is more general on the larger farms.

The combined harvesters cut and thresh the grain and dump the filled sacks on the ground to be picked up and hauled to the warehouse at the farmer's convenience. The straw is thrown out behind as the machine goes along. The first machines of this kind were horse-drawn and the separator operated from connection with the wheels.

The latest combined harvesters are the self-propelled gasoline operated ones with a 16- to 18-foot cut, using a crew of five men. Instead of sacking the grain, it is run into attached bins and from them into wagons.

Smaller machines, gasoline operated, which can he handled by two men, are also popular.

In the early nineties the Fireman's Fund was the pioneer in growing grain insurance. In those days it was a matter of convincing each farmer that it was to his interest to insure. Now if an agent has been aggressive enough in his preliminary work and has worked out a campaign in cooperation with the special agent, he should write a good volume of this very desirable class.

The Fireman's Fund has maintained the lead in this growing grain insurance through service to the agents and prompt, equitable settlements.

Most of the harvested grain is stored in warehouses.

Many farmers have built steel bins on their farms for storing grain in bulk and wood and concrete elevators have been built along the railroads. Due to the danger of dust explosions and the machinery hazards in these elevators, grain insurance in them is not looked upon with the favor that holds for sacked grain in warehouses.

Growing grain insurance in the field is extended by endorsement to cover grain in certain warehouses or elevators and in ordinary years remains in force from four to six months. Warehouse policies can be used to renew expiring lines under crop policies. Floater coverage can be given a grain buyer or owner of a string of warehouses or elevators on grain in any storage location outside of terminal warehouses at tidewater.

The Fireman's Fund has specialized in grain insurance and furnishes attractive post cards and letterheads for addressing grain clients, and also cloth signs.

[Fireman's Fund Archives: 4-1-3-4-30; 0406.]


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