In the rapid expansion of the electric light and power industry in the United States, the extension of service to the farmer has definitely lagged, notwithstanding the fact that the farm offers abundant opportunities for the use of electric power -which promises, when made widely available, to work a transformation in rural life.
Wide-spread rural electrification has been held back to date by the financial obstacles to profitable distribution of power in the farming areas and by the concentration of the public utility companies upon the task of meeting an ever increasing demand for service in urban districts and industrial centres. Chief among the financial obstacles are the farmer's small cash income, coupled with the large unit investment required in distribution systems to serve only a few farms per mile of line.
According to the latest estimates of the Department of Agriculture less than three per cent of the farms of the United States are at present receiving electric service from central power stations. If individual home lighting plants be included, about five and a half per cent of the farms may be counted as electrified.