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argument that the average difference in the State would not be more than four dollars per acre, it would still increase the agricultural net earning of the State on the basis of the present acreage $100,000,000 annually. These figures do not take into consideration the further increase of soil productivity by various methods of fertilization other than those resulting from planting crops which enrich the soil with nitrogen, phosphoric acid, potash and calcium, the essential elements of plant growth. Besides, I have not attempted to estimate the value of raising almost maximum yields, where weather conditions are unfavorable, by such drainage, preparation of soil, planting and tillage as will best suit local and climatic conditions. No crop emphasizes the value of seed selection in such unmistakable terms as corn. The average stand of this crop does not exceed 60 percent, which means that the farmer spends 40 percent of his time in the cornfield without result. By selecting the seed in the field at the proper season, testing each ear before planting, and separating with reference to size, so that as nearly as possible the planter will put three kernels in each hill, the stand can be increased to at least 95 percent. Applying this increase to the 2,000,000 acres of cornfield in Minnesota, it would add approximately 30,000,000 bushels with practically no additional cost of production. That the importance of this matter might be more firmly impressed upon the people of the State, I have issued a seed-corn proclamation designating the time when the seedcorn should be selected and calling the attention of the people to the feed value of the corn product as well as corn fodder, which is of utmost importance in a dry season like the one we are now experiencing. This proclamation has received extensive publicity, and it is safe to say that a large number of Minnesota's 200,000 farmers will heed the note of warning. Of still more vital importance, if possible, is the maintenance and increase of soil fertility as a source of support for future generations. The soil is the only permanent asset of the farmer, and its net returns in crops constitute his annual dividends. Any impairment of this asset will not only reduce the dividends on which his support depends, but will destroy the productive power of the soil to such extent as to deprive future owners of the most essential means of livelihood. A loss of $1,000,000,000 in farm values, such as the older States have already suffered, does not mean merely that this vast sum of money has been wasted, but that its annual earning capacity on which thousands should depend for support has been entirely destroyed, and that these thousands have been forced to seek their sustenance from the fields of commerce and manufacture in the large cities. We enact stringent legislation to prevent the impairment of capital in our banking institutions to protect depositors from loss, but the working capital investment of millions in farm property on which all human institutions must necessarily depend for existence has not been safeguarded in any manner whatsoever. Without any organized effort to interfere, we still permit millions of farmers to mine out the fertility of the soil, thus increasing the drudgery of farm life, reducing every source of farm income, converting the producers of the farm into consumers of the city, and thus contributing directly to the great increase in cost of living, the scarcity of farm labor, and the congested conditions that breed disease and crime in our large cities. Apply the situation to the country at large and you will find a situation that is simply appalling. There are approximately 500,000,000 acres under actual tillage in the United States. Instead of figuring four dollars per acre waste, which probably would be a fair average, we will place the loss at the extremely low estimate of one dollar. This will still make the total loss through wasteful farming methods in the United States reach the enormous total of $500,000,000 annually. In other words, if the loss were in fact not greater than one dollar per acre, which is unquestionably too low, and that rate could be maintained perpetually without an ultimate depletion of the soil, it would mean that a capital investment of $12,500,000,000 with an earning capacity of four percent per annum aggregating $500,000,000 annually, had been completely destroyed. At the rate of two dollars per acre, which is a low average, we are every year wasting the income from $25,000,000,000, a sum so great as to be entirely beyond human comprehension. In many of the older States, where farms were sold forty years ago at $150 per acre, the same farms cannot be sold today for $25 per acre, sometimes less than the actual cash value of the buildings and other improvements, because the soil has been robbed of its fertility, making it impossible for the owner to earn the most meager living without restoring the vitality of the soil through expensive methods of fertilization. It is not at all difficult to see how such wasteful methods of farming must affect the entire industrial situation. The younger generation, inspired with the hopes, aspirations, and energy of youth, stirred by the achievements, opportunities, and general prosperity of a truly great Nation, and encouraged by the possibilities of a liberal education, cannot afford to stake its future on the eking out of a mere existence under the shadow of a rapidly increasing farm mortgage or the threatening omen of a deserted homestead. All honor and credit to that farmer's boy who early realizes the handicap placed upon him by the impairment, and oftentimes utter destruction, of the only safe capital investment of the farmer—fertile and productive soil. Should we complain because he goes to the city to seek more inviting and attractive fields of existence after having been robbed of his only means of livelihood on the farm? This is the proper time for us to think it over. In the younger States, where soil mining has been of such short duration as to be incomplete, and the value of the land through settlement, city growth, and increased transportation facilities is constantly growing, the young man, who has learned intelligent and progressive methods of farming, should have no fear as to the future, for he has the making of a safe investment; but the young lad who, without experience or training, unexpectedly finds himself possessor of a farm where land values have ceased to rise and the soil has been starved until it no longer can yield in abundance, has a white elephant on his hands, and the sooner he can be brought to the realization thereof the better for himself and the entire community. Where a certain amount of labor should produce thirty bushels of wheat to the acre, it yields but ten, or even less; and when the farmer cultivates his corn, working ten hours per day, four hours thereof is spent in vain, because 40 percent of the field has no corn— not to speak of the poor quality of the corn grown on account of defective preparation of soil, poor tillage, and the lack of necessary nutritive elements within the soil itself. In addition, he has no knowledge as to diversified farming, the value of live stock, dairying, fruit-raising truck-gardening, and many other means of livelihood which yield large incomes to the possessor of a well-managed farm, nor does he appreciate the enormous waste committed by unnecessary exposure to the elements of farm machinery and buildings. The young lady faces a similar situation. Every field of employment bids her welcome at wages from $50 or more per month, and she has already achieved such abundant success in every line of human enterprise, and at the same time enjoyed all the pleasures and delights which bring cheer to the heart of the young, that she cannot afford to even hesitate. Should we complain if she refuses to stay on the farm and take her chances of marrying a $25 man and a ruined farm plastered all over with mortgages, and be chained in matrimonial bonds of lifelong drudgery to a devastated farm homestead, robbed of everything that contributes to the beautiful and good and true in a woman's life? (Great applause) There is only one answer, and its conclusions. are just. Though I have presented a sad picture, it is not pessimistic. The background is altogether cheerful. Two words express the most simple and effective remedy: intelligent farming. This will not only make farming profitable, but it will surround the home life on the farm wth so many attractions as to remove all desire for the deceptive allurements of a city. Intelligent farming does not merely guarantee good dividends on a farm investment, but it builds good roads to save cost of transportation, consolidates rural schools where intelligent farming, industry and home economics can be taught by precept and example, beautifies the home and its surroundings and fills it with all the attractions that elevate manhood and womanhood, teaches the younger generation the dignity as well as reward of farm labor, and inspires the laborer with the hope of a bright future.
Drainage, farm settlement, good roads, forestry, transportation, industrial education, minerals, cheap heat and power resources, are all important factors in the Conservation movement. Minnesota has successfully drained about 3,000,000 acres in the northern part of the State at an average cost of two dollars per acre, and converted into meadows, grain and clover fields, celery and cranberry gardens, what only a year or two since was a rough wilderness. Every State should have some effective way of making these results known to prospective settlers through exhibits and judicious advertising. No State officer is in a position to bring greater returns to the State than the immigration commissioner, and it is to be regretted that his work is so often crippled by lack of sufficient appropriations. In marketing produce, distributing material, fertilizer and machinery, the farmers of Minnesota haul annually approximately 20,000,000 wagon loads. Averaging the cost of each load over mostly unimproved roads at $1.50, the cost of highway transportation in the State aggregates $30,000,000. Most experts claim that uniformly good roads would reduce this cost one-half, but conceding for the sake of argument that the reduction would be only a third, the net saving to the farmers of the State in one year would be about $10,000,000. However, this is not the most important result. The building of good roads would build up farm intercommunication and promote the consolidation of rural school districts by making it possible to carry the pupils at all seasons of the year some distance over country roads to the school at a minimum cost. Several of the north-central border States were the chief shippers of lumber only a few years ago. Now our great forests are largely depleted, and scientific deforestation has become an absolute necessity. One of the most important duties the States as well as the Nation have to perform is the transformation of this vast stumpage area into forests and farms. Practical and scientific reforestation should convert the lands unsuited for farming into forests, so that every acre would produce revenue and furnish some necessity of life. The dry season of 1910 has particularly emphasized another important duty in this connection, and that is the protection of our forests and settlers from fires. It is a well known fact that enough timber has been destroyed by fire within the last four months to pay for the adequate protection of all our forests for a period of ten years or more, not to mention the great loss of human life, which in itself imposes upon States and Nation the duty of protection. This Congress should be instrumental in stirring public sentiment to such an extent that the various legislatures and the Congress will take immediate steps to stop this needless and expensive waste. Since mineral wealth is exhaustible, it follows that the interest of the people in this important resource should be guarded against the encroachments of greed with the utmost care. Minnesota furnishes now one-half of all the iron-ore in the United States, and one-fourth of that of the world, exporting this year about 40,000,000 tons. It is estimated that not less than 2,000,000,000 tons of ore has been definitely located, and that the volume of the undeveloped properties is enormous. The State is the owner of very large quantities of ore, and the income from this source alone will increase the State school fund by at least $100,000,000. No section of our country could profit more by water transportation than that tributary to this great mineral wealth. The canalization of the Mississippi river system with its 16,000 miles of streams would by cheap transportation bring together the coal fields of the central interior with the iron ore of the North, and produce in the Mississippi valley the greatest iron and steel industries of the world, besides opening up the greatest agricultural and industrial sections to the transportation facilities of the Panama canal. No commercial nation can long retain supremacy unless it has unlimited supplies of cheap heat and power. In the north-central border States are located peat deposits that should furnish cheap heat and power for untold generations, Minnesota alone possessing more than 1,000,000 acres; and as the source of the three great watersheds of the country, with an elevation of about 1,500 feet over sea and gulf level, there is an abundance of water-power to turn the wheels of manufacture and commerce. Time will not permit any consideration of the strictly human side of Conservation. We have saved millions of dollars annually by guarding against plant and animal disease, and are just beginning to take note of the untold millions wasted every month through neglect of preventable and curable disease, impure foods, defective sanitation and health inspection in homes and schools, unsuitable playgrounds for children, and the lack of safeguards against railway, mine and factory accidents, all of which come properly within the Conservation scope. The splendid progress made by Minnesota and other States merely emphasizes the importance of the Conservation movement. Warned by the decay of older nations, we must act before the crisis of exhausted natural resources reaches our Nation and commonwealths. Indeed, warned by signs that are only too plain in our own midst, we must take decisive action without delay. Fortunately, we have passed the pioneer stage of development. Our Nation and commonwealths have all experienced many of the disasters resulting from the skimming of natural resources. Having discovered the vast mines of wealth which surround us everywhere, we must now and forever determine that ignorance, selfishness, and greed shall no longer control our governments and exhaust our resources. (Great applause and cheers) The problems before us are not merely of tremendous importance, but they are also difficult as to solution. They frequently involve sharply conflicting claims and interests as between the Nation and the