National Geographic : 1959 Sep
where under the collective system, a lot of labor was required to farm little land. This partly explains why agricultural pro duction is low in the U.S.S.R., despite the fact that about 40 percent of the population works on farms. In the United States, by contrast, about 10 percent of the population, using more efficient methods, produces crop surpluses. I noticed a row of tractors, combines, and other agricultural machines. "Where did you get the machinery?" I asked. "Until this year a machine-tractor station served this and 10 other kolkhozes," said the director. "Then it was dissolved, and we bought some of its equipment. It gives us more freedom to plow and harvest when we want." "How do members of the kolkhoz get paid?" "The profits are divided up among the mem bers on the basis of the kind of work they 400 do and the number of days that they work." "Is this their only source of income?" "Oh, no," the director replied. "Each family has a private plot of about an acre to farm independently of the kolkhoz. They raise vegetables, fruit, poultry, and a certain amount of livestock, and sell their surplus in the free market. Previously there were compulsory de liveries to the Government from the private plots, but these have been done away with." "In other words," I asked, "each family has a small private farm on the collective farm?" "That's right," he answered, "but the size of the private plot can't be bigger than half a hectare,* and each member must work a cer tain number of days for the collective." After a tour of the village, Comrade Direc * Half a hectare is approximately 1/4 acres.