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tical information on the feeding of the dairy cow; a compendium of information. on raising pheasants, but no thoroughly worked out popular bulletins on possible profitable rotations of crops for each region; a bulletin on Natal grass, but no simple, concise instructions covering the important subject of timothy as a hay crop. Thus, even to-day, with the agricultural renaissance well on foot in many respects, the department still labors under an embarrassing handicap in the matter of simple, concise bulletins on fundamental farming operations. But this situation is being remedied as rapidly as possible. The best brains in the department are now being devoted to the preparation of concise popular bulletins on the essentials of practical farming. However, it takes time to produce simple, concise bulletins, much more time than it takes to produce technical, verbose bulletins, and as a consequence the available practical literature of the agricultural renaissance is as yet meager.
Another step in this same direction was the creation in 1913 of the Office of Information. This office summarizes and popularizes for newspapers and periodicals the various bulletins issued by the department. It also gives to the farmers. of the country, through the daily and weekly press, all available information on such critical situations as threatened injury to seed corn by frost, or the appearance in a given region of the Hessian fly or other insect pests. As a result of recent efforts to popularize the teachings of scientific agriculture, the total output of farmers' bulletins increased from 9,680,850 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1914, to 14,795,000 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1915.
An even more important popular educational movement has been instituted by means of the Smith-Lever Bill. This bill has set in motion a plan which within a few years will place in every county in the United States that is willing to coöperate with the State and Federal governments an agricultural county agent, an official who is really a species of deputy secretary
of agriculture. This work is modeled on the agricultural demonstration work. started several years ago by the late Seaman A. Knapp in the Southern States, and within a very few years will result in an annual expenditure of anywhere from ten to twenty million dollars, and is planning to bring the latest and most successful scientific methods directly to the door of the American farmers. This is the greatest university extension campaign the world has ever seen. It is learning democratized, learning brought out of the laboratories and the libraries, out of the experiment fields and the bulletins, adapted to local conditions, mixed with horse-sense. and business gumption, and explained to the individual farmer by a man who lives in his community and understands intimately the needs both of its soil and of its people.
I was told the other day by a banker from central New York that in two short years one of our county agents located in his county had done more for the farmers of that county than the entire Department of Agriculture had done during the fifty years preceding. This same miracle is being wrought to-day in over a thousand counties in this country, though the Smith-Lever Bill is not yet three years old.
The business of the county agent, who must of course have practical as well as theoretical knowledge of farming in its various aspects, is to get in personal touch with the farmers of his district, to secure the coöperation of the more progressive among them in practical demonstrations of new and profitable methods of farm operation, and to offer concrete suggestions and practical assistance to the farmer. or to the community whenever opportunity presents itself. In his efforts to answer the questions and supply the needs of the farmers of his county, he has not only his own knowledge and experience to draw upon, but can as well invoke the aid of any of the numerous experts in the state experiment station, the state agricultural college, or the Department of Agriculture. He is thus able to focus upon
any given local problem all the latest available agricultural information of the entire nation.
There are women county agents, toohundreds of them. These women, working under the home demonstration branch. of the department, are doing a great work, especially among women and children of the mountain districts of the South.
Thus in a number of ways the Government is trying to help the farmer to increase his legitimate profits. The future. of American agriculture hangs upon that. Not until the average farmer makes an income comparable with his endeavor and in keeping with his contribution to the well-being of society will he be in a position to enter into his own as regards the larger issues of life. Purely sociological problems begin where economic problems end, hence the vital importance of first solving the farmers' economic problems if we would lay a foundation from which to work out a solution of his higher problems. Thus a discussion of the fundamentals of the new agriculture becomes largely a discussion of the problem of how to make the science of agriculture boost. the business of farming.
The capital that the average farmer has invested in this country now pays him a return, in addition to the mere wages he gets for his labor, of anywhere from nothing to five per cent. per annum. If the apostles of the new agriculture could not promise the farmers any larger returns than that on the additional capital they are advising him to invest, it is hardly probable that their new gospel would strike any responsive chord in the farmer's heart. However, it has been demonstrated repeatedly that for the additional capital which the farmer is advised to put into lime, phosphate, or potassium, into better seed, pure-bred bulls and boars, into silos, tile, and hog-tight fence, he can realize not only the five or six per cent. that farmers ordinarily hope to get on their money, but the ten or fifteen per cent. that business men usually expect on their investments, or even considerably more.
Take, for example, the results of farm
demonstrations carried on under the direction of one of our county agents in New York. There fifteen field tests. made in 1915, showed a profit of 169 per cent. on an investment in limestone and acid phosphate used on oats, without charging any of the cost of application to future crops. It is estimated that if only twenty-five per cent. of the farmers who grow oats in that county would follow this practice, the oat crop of the county would increase in value $87,000 in a year. On one farm in that county the increase in one crop of hay attributable to an application of lime yielded a profit of 257 per cent. on investment in lime. These dividends are exceptional, since they represent the initial gain due to the application of fertilizers to comparatively neglected land, but they serve to indicate the tremendous possibilities of legitimate profits from applied scientific agriculture.
Another way to increase the farmer's profits is by grading his crops so as to give the consumer a better and more attractive product. As an illustration of the advantages to be derived from this process, take the story of the potato-board. A year or so ago a county agent representing the department went before the farmers of a county in southern New York exhibiting a board about six inches wide and two and a half feet long, containing oblong holes of different sizes. This board was a sorting apparatus for grading the potato crop. Before it was introduced most farmers used to sell their potatoes in much the same fashion that coal dealers sell “run-ofthe-mine" coal, hit or miss, the big potatoes with the little ones. They receive prices depending upon the obviousness of the percentage of the little potatoes and the whim of the buyer. As a result of proper grading, they now sell their big standardshaped potatoes at a top-notch price to the metropolitan hotels, getting virtually as much for that one grade as they used to get for the entire crop, and having the small and odd-shaped tubers left for lessexacting markets, for home use, or for seed.
The profits of the farmer can also be
increased by various other legitimate devices for increasing the efficiency of his marketing methods. For example, in the past a large proportion of the poultry of this country was shipped to market alive. The result was a heavy transportation charge, heavy shrinkage en route, and other attendant evils, such as deterioration in the quality of the poultry. The Department of Agriculture worked out an entirely new system, in accordance with which the poultry is killed and chilled before shipping. The new method improves the quality of the product for the consumer, prevents any loss of weight in transit, and cuts down the cost of transportation. Thus the farmer is enabled to get a larger price for his product, the consumer is required to pay no more than before for the same quality of poultry, and the middleman who performs a useful social function is allowed to receive his legitimate profit as before. No one is injured, and every one connected with this industry is benefited.
One of many possible illustrations. of the financial advantages to be derived from the standardization of crops is the case of the cotton crop of Caldwell County, Texas. For a number of years. nearly all the farmers there have grown Triumph cotton, a variety which originated in that county. As a result there is a great demand for the pure-strain Triumph cotton-seed from that county at an average price of a dollar a bushel, or two or three times the ordinary mill prices paid for ordinary cotton-seed. Every year for the last ten years there has been shipped from the town of Lockhart from 250 to 500 car-loads of this seed destined for distribution throughout five or six neighboring States. In addition to the handsome profit made on this seed, the fact that virtually only one variety of cotton is grown in that county has enabled farmers there to obtain a premium for their cotton also, owing to the fact that cotton of a uniform quality can always be secured there in large lots.
and marketing of his products may be cited the revolution in methods of picking and packing that has taken place in the orange and lemon industry of the Pacific Coast. Until 1905 the annual decay of oranges and lemons in transit often amounted to a million and a half dollars per annum. The cause of the trouble had been believed to be due to lack of icing and to other abuses in the transportation service; but after a careful investigation the Department of Agriculture discovered, to the surprise of everybody, that it was due to improper handling of the fruit in picking and packing. As a result the fruit is now usually picked by associations. of trained gangs of labor paid by the day rather than by the box, care in handling rather than speed being the object aimed at. The depreciation of oranges in transit prior to the investigations of the Department of Agriculture amounted to from twenty to fifty per cent. of the crop. Now the California Fruit Growers Exchange reports that the loss is not over one to two per cent. annually. When we consider that the California orange crop is valued at twenty-five million dollars a year, it becomes clear how important this one improvement in the method of handling the fruit has been to producer and consumer alike.
As another illustration of the value to the farmer of efficiency in the handling
Such illustrations could be multiplied almost without limit. One of the admirable features of this method of building up the prosperity of the farmer is that it is not done at the expense of any other legitimate interest. It is a creative, not a predatory, process, one that works a direct benefit to the farmer and an indirect benefit to the entire community. Efficiency in crop handling and crop distribution and marketing is just as important to the farmer, to the business man, and to the consumer as is efficiency in crop production. As a matter of fact, it is generally believed by many agriculturists that more than fifty per cent. of the cost to the consumer of farm products is added after these crops are grown, or, in other words, that it costs more to handle and market farm products than to raise them.
When the problem of securing higher prices to the farmer for his products is discussed, most people at once jump to the conclusion that this can be done only by eliminating in whole or in part the profits of the middleman, or by increasing the cost of farm produce to the consumer. Wherever the charges of the middleman are excessive or illegitimate, they can and will be either reduced or eliminated; but where the middleman is performing a necessary economic function for a legitimate profit, that profit cannot be tampered with unless the farmer stands ready to perform the same function for himself with equal efficiency and at less cost. The Department of Agriculture is not attempting to make the honest middleman the "goat" of our present cumbersome, costly, and thoroughly antiquated system of marketing. farm products. That some middlemen take advantage of the farmer is common knowledge. That some farmers also "do their durndest" to take advantage of one another, of the middlemen, and of the consuming public is also common knowledge, although it is only fair to add that the percentage of successful exploiters. among business men is larger than it is among farmers. The Department of Agriculture is endeavoring, first of all, to do a constructive piece of work that will eliminate these evil practices. It is trying to get the maximum of scientific efficiency into the distribution as well as into the production of farm products. As a result of a proper organization of the marketing end of the farmer's work, those middlemen and farmers who are not on the square gradually, but inevitably, will be penalized out of business.
In the past most people labored under the mistaken notion that the best and perhaps the only practical way to acquire wealth was to take it away from some one else. The average middleman believed that the rate of his dividends depended primarily on the measure in which he could reduce the profits of the farmer and add to the price that the consumer could be induced to pay. In other words, until very recently farmers and business
men alike have been led astray by the primitive, predatory economic conceptions of the nomad and the cave-man. This conception was the outgrowth of the economic conditions of life on our planet some thousands of years ago, when economic advantage was to be gained only by outfighting or outwitting one's fellowmen. But our slowly developing civilization is a result of the gradual dawning on the minds of men, and the gradual incorporation into laws and institutions, of a new and inspiring truth, namely, that it is easier to gain wealth by coöperating to increase the productivity of nature and of human labor than it is by devoting our energies and abilities to the lamentably. wasteful and harmful game of exploiting one another.
If the new science of agriculture and the movement toward scientific business efficiency can be developed in the light of this truth, capital and labor will become so much more productive than ever before that there will be plenty and to spare for every one who is willing to perform a real economic service to society for a legitimate remuneration. It is high time for both farmers and business men to learn that it is more profitable to work together for their common interests than to squabble with one another over conflicting interests, real or imaginary. This means cooperation.
The true spirit of coöperation is the most vital need of the day in the agricultural world, and indeed in the world at large. Without that spirit no considerable advance along the lines of the new agriculture is possible. Here and there a person will be able to apply some of its teachings on his own hook, but nobody can carry into effect all or even a majority of those teachings unless he is able to work together with his neighbors in some of the many possible varieties of coöperative community effort. The coöperative spirit is as necessary to the realization of the possibilities of the new agriculture as is cement or mortar to the erection of a gigantic edifice of brick or stone. I believe that this spirit will prevail, that even now it is
prevailing, and that we are on the threshold of a new and more splendid epoch.
It is not easy to convey with words a sense of the splendor of the vistas that open up as a result of the transforming influence of these new forces upon rural life. It is easy, indeed, to see how increased efficiency in farm operations, genuine coöperation in rural community life, and wide-spread organization for the distribution of farm products may have a tremendous bearing upon the current of American life, urban as well as rural. It is not so easy, however, to set forth specifically all that these things seem to foreshadow. In the light of what already has, been undertaken we may dimly project a vision of a new civilization, a more natural and clement civilization than this, a civilization admittedly agrarian and which glories in the fact that its roots are in the soil, a civilization in which the essentiality and dignity of agriculture are realized by those who follow it, and recognized and respected by those who follow subsidiary vocations,-as, indeed, all other vocations are,- -a civilization in which the wholesome strength of the soil will avail to heal the canker of unbridled industrialism.
I am quite aware that all this sounds chimerical, that these are, after all, mere generalities, glittering or otherwise. Let me be more specific.
I have in mind a certain town in the Middle West. This town, to the casual observer, is like many another prairie town of its type. It has no unique beauty of situation or of architecture. Its elevator looks like the average elevator; its depot is painted the same color that other depots on the same line are painted; its stores have more or less ugly fronts of brick or frame or stamped steel, as the case may be, just as have the business blocks of hundreds of other little American towns. But this town, in the essentials of its economic life, is unique, wholly different from any other town that I know of. There are indeed a few other towns in this country where there are manifestations of this difference in kind,
but none, so far as I know, where it exists in the degree in which it exists here.
This is the essence of the difference: the chief store of the town, the elevator, and the creamery are owned jointly by the farmers of the community and operated coöperatively for the benefit of the entire community. The bank is controlled by the farmers of the community and run on a basis as nearly coöperative as the state laws will allow. The store in question dominates the general merchandise trade of the community. It is big and diverse, "handles everything from a needle to a threshing-machine," its manager will tell you with pardonable pride. Groceries, drugs, clothing, hardware, farm implements, virtually everything needed. on farm or in home, may be bought at the farmers' store. The elevator handles not merely the grain of the farmers of the community, but also coal, feed, flour, fertilizer, hay, salt, and other bulky commodities.
These enterprises, including the creamery, are run on a straight coöperative basis. The system followed is virtually the Rochdale system, which has been applied successfully throughout the British Isles. Take the store, for example. Every stock-holder is allowed to buy one hundred-dollar share, and no more, which gives him one vote in the management of the affairs of the enterprise. He gets six per cent. interest on this investment, and in addition a dividend on all his individual transactions with the store. He pays the current market price for everything he buys, but gets back as a periodical rebate ten per cent. profit on his purchases. Thus he gets his groceries and other supplies at virtually wholesale rates, and at the same time the store escapes the odium and enmity that are wont to embarrass the coöperative concern that cuts rates. Furthermore-and this is as important as any other feature of the plan- the non-member who buys of the coöperative store gets something in the way of a bonus, too, five per cent. on all purchases. Thus interest in the cooperative ideal is fostered.
This is agrarian democracy of a high