A home planned for the city dweller rarely meets the requirements and needs of the farm family, but with the development of electrification programs, and electric light and power pushing their way into more and more farm territory, with improved heating systems, with provisions for water supply and circulation adapted to farmhouse needs, satisfactory sewage disposal, mechanical refrigeration, and other conveniences, the similarity between urban and rural dwellings becomes greater and greater. It is even more difficult, however, to set standards for farmhouse plans than for those of the city dwelling, owing to the fact that each type of farming has its influence on the activities carried on in the home, thus necessitating a plan suited to the many operations. Space and equipment for the feeding of "crews" essential for some types of farming is unnecessary for others. Rooms and conveniences for "hired" men, provisions for the storage of large quantities of vegetables, fruits, and other supplies obviously will vary not only with the type of farming - dairy, grain, fruits, poultry, and so on - but with nearness to urban centers, transportation facilities, the family makeup and habits, and other factors. Both farm and urban homes should be planned and equipped for the needs and activities of the families who will occupy them, but the farmhouse, in addition, may require planning and equipment for many additional operations and activities.
It may be due to the varying needs of the farm family that so few stock plans have been prepared for farmhouses. The Division of Agricultural Engineering of the United States Department of Agriculture has a small number for distribution, and some of the state colleges of agriculture have prepared a few plans for the benefit of the farm families of their own states. Stock plans are published also in some of the farm magazines from time to time. There is, however, a need for fetter domestic architecture in rural communities, for few farm families can afford, or do afford, the services of architects, particularly good ones. Educational campaigns such as those of Better Homes in America and its Better Homes schools, the work of state colleges and state and county home-demonstration agents, have carried on extensive home-improvement campaigns. These improvements have raised the standards of living among small-income families in rural sections and demonstrated good architectural design. Such campaigns and demonstrations have their educational value, and even in the most remote rural areas architectural design appears to be reaching a higher standard.
The articles in this chapter, therefore, will emphasize only general requirements and provisions for farmhouses. The number of living-condition studies which have been made in many sections of the country show home-improvement needs and the amount of equipment and labor-saving devices in use. A number of these studies are listed in the references following the chapter. Since virtually every state agricultural college and the United States Department of Agriculture distribute invaluable information prepared by specialists on heating systems for farmhomes, various methods of providing the home with water, including many low-cost systems and sewage-disposal methods with carefully prepared directions for the making of septic tanks, such equipment will not be discussed as bulletins may be obtained.
Many families, however, will not be provided with mechanical equipment, conveniences, and labor-saving devices for years to come, therefore books and bulletins describing inexpensively-made and installed equipment are included among the references on page 577.