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In general, it is not the man who knows the most who is most successful, but the man who imparts an implicit belief in his message.
Agriculture in most sections consists simply in a series of motions inherited from Adam.
This learning agriculture (which is a compound of the following ingredients one-eighth science, three-eighths art, and one-half business methods) out of a book is like reading up on the bandsaw and jackplane and hiring out for a carpenter.
These mechanic farmers now reside in a town or city, live out of a canned garden, and milk a tin cow.
The great battles of the future will be industrial. We are now prepared for the accomplishment of what we have so earnestly sought, the placing of rural life upon a plane of profit, of honor, and power.
The least worthy monument to a man is a granite block or a marble shaft. They represent the dead man's money and the kindness of friends. The true monument is what the man has accomplished in life. It may be a better gate, or house, or farm, or factory; put his name on it and let it stand for him.
800 PER CENT BIGGER PROFITS FOR THE SOUTHERN FARMER.
I estimate that there is a possible 800 per cent increase in the productive power of the farm laborer in the average Southern State, and I distribute the gain as follows:
300 per cent to the use of more and better mules and farm machinery; 200 per cent to the production of more and better stock; 150 per cent to a rotation of crops and better tillage; 50 per cent to better drainage; 50 per cent to seed of higher vitality, thoroughbred, and carefully selected;
50 per cent to the abundant use of legumes and the use of more economic plants for feeding stock.
KNAPP'S TEN COMMANDMENTS OF AGRICULTURE.
(1) Prepare a deep and thoroughly pulverized seed bed, well drained; break in the fall to a depth of 8, 10, or 12 inches, according to the soil, with implements that will not bring too much of the subsoil to the surface. (The foregoing depths should be reached gradually, if the field is broken with an ordinary turning plow. If a disk plow is used, it is safe to break to the above depths at once.)
(2) Use seed of the best variety, intelligently selected and carefully stored.
(3) In cultivated crops give the rows and the plants in the rows a space suited to the plant, the soil, and the climate.
(4) Use intensive tillage during the growing period of the crops.
(5) Secure a high content of humus in the soil by the use of legumes, barnyard manure, farm refuse, and commercial fertilizers.
(6) Carry out a systematic crop rotation with a winter cover crop on southern farms.
(7) Accomplish more work in a day by using more horse power and better implements.
(8) Increase the farm stock to the extent of utilizing all the waste products and idle lands of the farm.
(9) Produce all the food required for the men and animals on the farm.
(10) Keep an account of each farm product, in order to know from which the gain or loss arises.
Few people believed until within recent years that a man could achieve distinction in working with plants. Most people know of the work of Edison and some of the marvelous things he has done with electricity, but there is a genius living in California who has done as wonderful things with the plants as Edison has done with electricity. It is Luther Burbank, who is known all over the world as the most wonderful developer of plants.
He was born in Lancaster, Mass., March 7, 1849. His parents were so poor that Luther was unable to attend any but the public elementary school; and even then he had to find work in the factory at odd hours that would bring some income to the family. He cared little, however, for the factory and machinery, and as soon as he could conveniently do so, he left the factory and began in a small way to raise vegetables for the market. While in his potato patch one day, he noticed on the top of each plant a seed ball which interested him. Some were very good, while others were poor. Selecting the best of these, he planted them, and from this selection came the famous “ Burbank” variety of potato. It is said that this one variety has been worth many millions of dollars to the world.
While working in his garden he received a partial sunstroke, and his health became so impaired that he was forced to give up his garden and go West, where he could find a climate in which he could work out-of-doors the greater part of the year. He sold the rights to his improved potato seed for $150, and taking a pocket full of them with him, he started West. He made his home in California, about 50 miles north of San Francisco. It was difficult to secure work, and his money was soon gone. At one time, it is said, he was employed to clean out poultry houses on a ranch, and more than once he had to sleep in them. He was forced to work very hard, being exposed to all kinds of weather, and frequently without sufficient food. His weak constitution was unable to stand such a severe life, and he contracted a fever which came near ending his life. A kind lady in the neighborhood gave him help and encouragement, and he slowly recovered. When his strength came back to him, he secured employment in a small nursery. His love for plants, and his genius for cultivating them, soon made him a valuable man to the nurseryman and to the community. As soon as he could save enough money to acquire a small plat of ground, he started a nursery of his own. The place has since become famous over the whole civilized world as “ Santa Rosa, the home of Burbank.”
It is said that the first order received by Burbank, was for 20,000 young prune trees. He accepted the order, but he did not have so many trees old enough to bear prunes, and it required about three years to grow the prune trees. But what he did then started the agricultural world along a new route. The almond is very closely related to the prune, and he decided to make the almond tree bear prunes, since the almond could be planted at once. Therefore, he planted a large quantity of almond seed, inserted prune buds in the almond plants, and in nine months he was ready to fill the order. This achievement brought him money and considerable fame, and within a short time he left the nursery business and became a plant breeder.
For many years his great talent has been devoted to the improvement of trees, flowers, vines, shrubs, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. This improvement is brought about in three ways: (1) By improving the old plant, (2) by combining the good qualities of wild plants with those of their cultivated relatives, and (3) by originating entirely new varieties of plants. In carrying out this work he first takes the pollen from one plant and puts it on the stigma of another plant of the same kind; then he gathers and plants the seed which ripens from the flower he has thus pollinated. As the new plants grow, he selects for perpetuation those which show the qualities he desires.
Constant improvement upon nature has been Mr. Burbank's lifework. Some of the most wonderful results which he has obtained by scientific breeding and crossing of plants are: A Wickson plum as large as a turkey's egg; the plum-cot, which combines the taste and appearance of the plum with those of the apricot; the “shasta daisy," which has several rows of petals and produces flowers 4 inches across; a calla lily 3 feet in circumference and another one only 1 inch in diameter; black roses, and an amaryllis as big as a football. In addition, Mr. Burbank has made very many practical improvements on the potato, the plum, the walnut, chestnut, and many kinds of flowers. He has also “invented” several new kinds of berries, by ingeniously crossing a number of varieties from all over the world.
On Mr. Burbank's estate in California as many as 80,000 lilies are in full bloom at the same time. “No horticulturist ever worked on so vast a scale nor in so scientific a manner as Mr. Burbank.” He is still busily engaged in producing new fruits, flowers, and vegetables to nourish the bodies and please the senses of all humanity.
So successful has he become that the feeble lad who once did menial service and slept with the chickens is one of the most famous men in the world. Wealth has come to him, as well as fame, and his work is studied by learned men the world over. He knows the habits of plants as the mechanic knows the movement of machinery, as the sailor knows the motion of the waves and the wind, and as you or I know the peculiarities of our neighbors.
MR. BURBANK'S LOVE OF CHILDREN.
I love the blue sky, trees, flowers, mountains, green meadows, sunny brooks; the ocean when its waves softly ripple along the sandy beach or when pounding the rocky cliff with its thunder and roar; the birds of the field; waterfalls, the rainbow, the dawn, the noonday, and the evening sunset-but children above them all. Trees, plants, flowers—they are always educators in the right direction; they always make us happier and better; and if well grown, they speak of loving care and respond to it as far as in their power; but in all this world there is nothing so appreciative as children—these sensitive, growing creatures of sunshine, smiles, and tears.
LOUIS PASTEUR (1821–1895).
This great French chemist made the wonderful discovery that there are vegetables which prey on animals, just as animals prey upon vegetables. These flesh-eating plants, which are known as bacteria, float in the blood and cells of animals, and though they are so exceedingly small that it takes a very strong microscope to see them at all, they make up in numbers and in appetite what they lack in size. Dr. Pasteur found also that there are good bacteria, as well as harmful ones, and that even the harmful kinds could be so changed that, when introduced into one's system, they could do no ill, but on the contrary that they would preserve one from the attacks of the more powerful bacteria. On these discoveries of Pasteur rest in large measure the science and art of modern medicine.
With the knowledge he thus gained, Pasteur himself was able to end the silkworm plague in France, to cure chicken cholera, and the deadly disease, anthrax in cattle, and to perfect an almost infallible treatment for hydrophobia, or rabies. It is said that he added more to the wealth of his country than both France and Prussia together wasted in the bloody war which they fought in 1870–71.
JUSTIN S. MORRILL (1810-1898).
The Land-Grant Act, signed by President Lincoln in 1862, was the work of Mr. Morrill, who at the time was a Congressman from Vermont. This act gave to each State a certain amount of land, the proceeds from the sale of which were to be used for colleges of agriculture and the mechanic arts, “without excluding other scientific and classical studies.” Mr. Morrill was the author also of the bill approved August 30, 1890, for the greater endowment of these colleges. There are now 69 institutions in the United States established under these acts.
ISAAC NEWTON (1800-1867).
As the first United States Commissioner of Agriculture, Mr. Newton laid the foundations for the great Agricultural Department as it exists to-day. Upon its creation in 1862 the Government's agricultural bureau was merely a subdivision of the Patent Office; but, administered on the policy formulated by Mr. Newton, it rapidly increased in power and importance. At last, in the Presidency of Benjamin Harrison, it was raised to the rank of an executive branch of the Government and its Secretary assumed a seat in the Cabinet.
JAMES WILSON (1835– ).
It was under the administration of Mr. Wilson that the United States Department of Agriculture experienced its greatest growth. To-day it comprises the greatest academy of scientists ever assembled. Mr. Wilson was Secretary of Agriculture from 1897 to 1913, thus establishing the record of holding a Cabinet portfolio longer than any other department head. Before his appointment as Secretary, Mr. Wilson was director of the Iowa Agricultural Experiment Station and professor of agriculture at Iowa State Agricultural College.
SIGNIFICANT THINGS EVERY SCHOOL BOY SHOULD KNOW.
When the cattle-fever tick is destroyed in the Southern States the country will get much more meat from that section and the producing of it will build up the farms there.
Every country in the world that has diseased plants that can not be sold at home can ship them to us. This results in great loss. The chestnut disease here is an illustration.
We are sending explorers to the ends of the earth for new plants and getting them.
When a foreign insect invades, our scientists seek its enemy where it came from. The natural enemy of the boll weevil was an ant that could not endure our winters, but the native ant is getting busy.
The object lesson in agriculture is the best teacher; we had. 60,000 of them at work last year.
The consumer pays $1 for food; the farmer gets less than 50 cents for it. . Who gets the rest?
The Department of Agriculture has had success in the Southern States through object lessons in the fields, where the best southern farmers in their counties were the instructors. This method should be organized in all the States along lines of greatest necessity.
The southern farm boy is showing the way to grow more of all crops on an acre.
Educate the farmer's boy toward a more valuable life on the farm.
Uplift the farm home through the education of the farmer's daughter toward greater usefulness and attractiveness in the farm home.