Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

into underlying rocks, perhaps to reappear in springs or seepage into streams. This is called ground water. The fourth part is absorbed by organisms, chiefly by trees, grasses and crop plants, either directly through the tissues or indirectly through the roots penetrating the moistened soil. Erosion is due to the run-off, and its quantity is dependent on the slope of the farm and also the nature of the soil and its products. Any reasonable slope, and any full cover of forest or grass with an abundant mulch, or a close crop on a deeply broken soil, or a friable furrow slice kept loose by suitable cultivation. will absorb rain and curtail the run-off, or even reduce it to slow seepage through the surface soil which is the ideal condition. Now the ground water s the most essential constituent of the soil, because solution, circulation and organic assimilation are dependent on water. All the organisms and tissues are made up of this vent of water, and it constitutes a large percentage of the bodies and lood of men and animals. The question of the amount or ratio of ground water in the soil is a vital one. If it is excessive it makes a Sodden mass, sticky when wet, but baked when dry, so that there is no possible absorption further into it, and it sends on the water that falls on it to erode easy slopes. The erosion begins on the farm and should be remedied there. Deep cultivation tends to absorb the product of each rainfall and to reduce the run-off. Deep cultivation brings up fresh earth salts to the shorter rootlets, but carries down the humus and mulch to thicken the soil and feed the deepest roots. In flat lying fields and tenacious soils, tile drainage is the best method of relieving the farm from the danger of too great run-off. Deep drainage permits both soil and subsoil to crumble and disintegrate and through mechanical and chemical changes to become friable and capable of taking on and holding the right amount of moisture for plant growth, while the water which runs out through the drain is clear without carrying the soil with it, and therefore without erosion. Of course different farms require different treatments. Certain farms require what is called contour cultivation, by which each furrow is to be run in such a way as to level and to hold the water. On hilly lands, strips of grass land are grown, called balks or breaks, separating zones of plow land, and they should curve with the slopes, and the soil being carried by the water will be caught by them and constitute them a kind of terrace without effort. The use of forests, of course, in foothills and deeply broken country is essential and should be combined with grazing. They will prevent the formation of torrents by making the mulch and soil deep and spongy. Of course over all mountain divides, the retention of forests greatly helps to prevent the carrying off of the good soil to the valleys below. The proper selection of crops has much to do with the stopping of erosion. I gather these facts from the reports of the Secretary of Agriculture as to the best method of preventing erosion. They are simple and easily understood, but they need to be impressed upon the farmers by education and by reiteration. Then the productivity of the soils might very well be increased by more careful use of commercial fertilizers. In 1907 $100,000,000 was expended in fertilizers, but the Agricultural Department is of opinion that one-third of this was wasted for lack of knowledge as to how to use it.

Careful crop rotation is essential because it has been found that the remains of one crop has a poisonous effect upon the next crop if it is of the same plant, but such remains do not interfere with the normal production of a different plant. Then a kind of crop should be selected to follow which will renew that element in the soil which the first crop exhausted.

FARM ORGANIZATION.

Then there is the organization of the farm on plain business principles by which the buildings and the machinery are so arranged as to make the movement of crops and food and animals as easy and economical as possible. A study as to the character of the soil and the crops best adapted to the soil; the crops to be used in rotation for the purpose of strengthening the soil—all these are questions that address themselves to a scientific and professional agriculturist, and which all farmers are bound to know if the product per acre is to be properly increased. We have every reason to hope, from the forces now making toward the education and information of the farmer, as to the latest results in scientific agriculture, that the country will have the advantage of improvement in our farming along the proper lines. Further agricultural development is to be found in the breeding of proper plants for the making of the best crops, while the growth of live stock is made much more profitable both to the owner and to the public by improving the breed and the infusion of the blood of the best stock.

The improvement in agricultural education goes on apace. All the states are engaged in spending money to educate the coming farmer, and this system is being extended so that now we have the consolidated rural school, the farmers' high school, and the agricultural college, and one who intends to become a farmer is introduced to his profession soon after he learns to read and write, and he continues his study of it until he graduates from his college and applies for a place upon the farm.

The land-grant colleges established by the Federal Government have vindicated the policy in making the grant. Now the department employs eleven thousand persons, many of whom are engaged in conducting experiment stations and spreading information all over the country. The coöperation between the state agricultural school system and the Federal Government's publicity bureau and experimental work is as close and fine as we could ask. It is difficult to justify the expenditure of money for agricultural purposes in the Agricultural Department with a view to its publication for use of the farmers, or to make grants to schools for farmers on any constitutional theory that will not justify the Government in spending money for any kind of education the country over; but the welfare of the people is so dependent on improved agricultural conditions that it seems wise to use the welfare clause of the Constitution to authorize the expenditure of money for the improvement in agricultural education, and leave to the states and to private enterprise general and other vocational education. The attitude of the Government in all this matter must be merely advisory. It owns no land of sufficient importance to justify its maintenance of so large a department or of its sending into all states agents to carry the news of recent discoveries in the science of agriculture. The $50,000,000 which has been spent in the department, however, has come back many fold to the people of the United States, and all parties unite in the necessity for maintaining those appropriations and increasing them as the demand shall increase.

ExPERIMENTS FOR EACH COUNTY.

It is now proposed to organize a force of 3,000 men, one to every county in the United States, who shall conduct experiments within the county for the edification and education of the present farmers and of the young embryo farmers who are being educated. It is proposed that these men shall be paid partly by the county, partly by the state, and partly by the Federal Government, and it is hoped that the actual demOnstration on farms in the county—not at agricultural stations or schools somewhere in the state, but in the county itself—will bring home to the farmers what it is possible to do with the very soil that they themselves are cultivating. I understand this to be the object of an association organized for the improvement of agriculture in the country, and I do not think we could have a more practical method than this. It is ordinarily not wise to unite administration between the county and state and federal governments, but this subject is one so all-compelling, it is one in which all people are so much interested, that coöperation seems easy and the expenditure of money to good purpose so free from difficulty that we may properly welcome the plan and try it. On the whole, therefore, I think our agricultural future is hopeful. I do not share the pessimistic views of many gentlemen whose statistics differ somewhat from mine, and who look forward to a strong probability of failure of selfsupport in food within the lives of persons now living. It is true that we shall have to continue the improvement in agriculture so as to make our addition to the product per acre one per cent of the crop each year, or ten per cent each decade; but considering what is done in Europe, this is not either impossible or improbable. The addition to the acreage in drainage and in irrigable lands will go on—must go on. The profit to the state or to the enterprise which irrigates or drains these lands will become sufficient to make it not only probable but necessary to carry through the project, and we may look forward to the middle of this century when 200,000,000 of people will swear fealty to the starry flag as a time when America will still continue to feed her millions and feed them well out of her own soil.

At the conclusion of the President's address, President Wallace declared the Congress adjourned until tomorrow morning, 9:30 o'clock.

FOURTH SESSION.

President WALLACE—The Congress will come to order and be opened with prayer by the Rt. Rev. Dr. E. R. Hendrix, of Kansas City, Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church (South).

INVOCATION.

Let us pray. Oh, God, our Heavenly Father, we bless Thee that Thou hast been made known unto us as a God that works, and that Thy Son coming into the world, declared, “My Father worketh even until now, and I work.” II'e know that the gods of the heathen do not work. They idle, they quarrel, they dishonor the very name of a god, and a decent man is better than any of the false gods. But our God is revealed to us as one ever employed, active mind, best and highest motives, noblest, most wide-reaching plans, and honors man greatly by making him a fellow worker. Grant unto us the wisdom to work together with God. Give breadth of view, give clearness of perception of what needs to be done. Give responsibility to the best motives, and give plans that are as wide reaching as the great plans of God. Upon this Congress, upon all its methods and its plans, grant Thy richest blessing, our Father. JP'e ask in the name of Christ our Savior. Amen.

Recording Secretary GIPE—A great number of states have not yet reported their members to the committee on resolutions. I ask for the names of the various states now, and let the chairman of the delegation kindly rise, and give me the name, as I call the state in order that the chairman of that committee may immediately assemble these gentlemen to get to work at once. Alabama; Arizona; Arkansas; Delaware; Florida this is for the committee on resolutions. There is a delegate here from Florida. Georgia; Idaho; Indiana

H. E. BARNARD of Lafayette—I have not the report from Kansas.

Delegate Potter—Kansas is here in force, but her officers are out on committees. As they come in we will see that you have the names.

Recording Secretary GIPE—Do you know who was elected as a member of the resolution committee from Kansas 2

Delegate POTTER—I was—Thos. W. Potter from Peabody.

Recording Secretary GIPE—Kentucky is here. Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts.

A DELEGATE–William P. Wharton, of Massachusetts.

Recording Secretary GIPE—Michigan—Is Michigan here? This is the committee on resolutions; we want your member from Michigan, please.

A DELEGATE–He has not turned up yet.

Recording Secretary GIPE—Will you not kindly see that the Michigan delegation meets at once and names its member for the committee On resolutions? The next is Minnesota.

A. W. Guthridge, Minnesota.

Recording Secretary GIPE— Missouri; Montana; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey–New Jersey is represented. New Mexico; New York; North Carolina — they are represented. North Dakota; Oregon.

F. J. Kinney, Oregon.

Pennsylvania—Dr. Henry S. Drinker, president of the University of Pennsylvania, and delegate from Pennsylvania.

Recording Secretary GIPE—Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas–J. B. Smith, of Texas. Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington—Everitt Gregg. West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming.

President WALLACE—Mr. Fowler, the chairman of the committee On resolutions, would like to make an announcement.

Mr. FowleR—Mr. President and Delegates: I hope you all realite what the work of the committee on resolutions may be. Many states have been called here this morning and no names have been given and no one has responded. This is a conservation congress. There are representatives here from these states, from every state I trust in the Union, and there is not a state in the Union that is not interested in the question of conservation. I hope then that the delegates from every state will see to it that a good man is upon this committee on resolutions. The committee is not near full. Many states are not represented, and You must remember, my friends, that the work of the committee on resolutions is the crystallization of the work of this Congress, and the resolutions speak for the Congress, and speak for all the states of this great Union; hence, we must have some one represent every state. I have had some experience with resolution committees in other congresses, and many of you have had the same, and you know that it is a working tommittee. It is the committee that is compelled to sacrifice about everything else after the work of the committee begins. Consequently, we

« AnteriorContinuar »