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Board had worked one year without a dollar of funds to defray expenses, it was resolved to ask the Legislature for an appropriation of five hundred dollars to carry on its plans. The worthy President had not faith that a dollar would be obtained from that source; but by a little lobbying the Legislature granted the Board the munificent sum of two hundred dollars, to be expended for the promotion of agriculture in Ohio; while at the same time they wasted over twenty thousand dollars in party wrangling, and the appointment of a United States Senator!
Gratifying as is the contrast in many respects between those times and the present, I think you will agree with me as much progress as should have been has not been made, the past thirty-four years, in the promotion of agriculture in Ohio-especially in the intellectual and social improvement of the mass of our farmers—and we all know that the first and greatest step in agricultural improvement is the improvement of the farmers and their familiies. In these respects, it must be admitted, the progress of our rural population has not nearly kept pace with that of our towns and cities.
I think that the attention of our State Board, and their late Secretary, has been too largely devoted to the mere externals of agricultural improvement; and there certainly has been great progress in these-the general introduction of improved breeds of animals, and better styles of implements and machines. I would not under-value these, but I claim that they are of less importance than the intellectual and social elevation of the farmers and their children. It is to the signs of progress in this direction that I wish to invite attention.
First among the hopeful signs, is the general waking up of the farmers and the friends of education throughout the State, to the importance of some radical amendment to our school laws, so as to secure the means of better education for farmers' children who can not attend the graded schools of the villages. This is a reform which has long been needed, and the lack of which has been a sad detriment to thousands of farmers' sons and daughters now past school age. The discussion which has been going on for the past year on this subject, and the conclusions that have been reached by the ablest educators in the State, it is hoped will result in the adoption of the wisest measures, and the better education of our coming race of farmers.
But I promised to speak of the benefits resulting to agriculture from the late "hard times," and it is in this direction, I conceive, that we find the most hopeful signs of progress. We are told that "sweet are the uses of adversity," and in order that we may the better appreciate the beneficial results of the hard times, we need to glance at the influences of the flush times the few years preceding. Manufacture, commerce, and speculation were then pushed to their utmost limit; fortunes seemed easily made, and every man possessed of money or credit, with a fair amount of brains, seemed determined to obtain wealth in some other way than by God appointed labor or doing valuable service for others. Many farmers caught the prevailing mania for speculation, and some even mortgaged their farms to raise money to invest in railroad schemes or speculation in stocks or produce. I have been told, for instance, that in a line of thirty miles down this Scioto Valley, nearly one-half the farmers were bankrupted by the speculations of those times. But worst of all, in its pernicious effects, was the development of the popular sentiment that labor was degrading to people claiming respectability, and farming was a life of drudgery which all young people should avoid, if it was possible for them to find positions or employment in town or city. Such sentiments, we learn, prevailed in ancient Rome, and hastened her downfall. They have long prevailed to some extent in this country, but not to such degree as during this time of our great fictitious prosperity.
The consequence was, all the farmers' sons who had education and ambition enough to have made leading, progressive farmers, left their country homes for the town or city, or to join the great army of bummers and traveling agents. The sons and daughters who remained on the farms were secretly discontented with their lot, and envied their acquaintances in town, while the latter felt pity, akin to contempt, for their "country cousins." All this, of course, affected unhappily the minds of farmers generally, and there was very little effort in the way of improvement, excepting as some were prompted to improve the appearance of their farms in the hope of selling them shortly for better prices. And not a few good farmers whose sons had left them, sold their farms and moved into the towns, to please their wives and daughters, and give the latter the advantages of better education and society. By these influences, the largest share of the best young blood of our farming population was drawn out of the profession, and there was little chance for any real improvement in agriculture.
But the crisis came, and none too soon. The bubbles of speculation bursted, and the over-stimulated whirl of trade and manufacture suddenly ceased, leaving their managers bankrupt, and throwing out of employment thousands of workmen, clerks, and salesmen. Then came the "hard times" to merchants, mechanics, and townspeople generally, with hosts of failures and wasting anxiety. Many young men who had commenced business failed, and many more who had been employed as clerks were no longer wanted. Families that had been thought wealthy, now lacked the means of comforta ble subsistence, and were glad to receive weekly visits and contributions to their larder from their farming relatives, if they had any..
Now commenced the change of popular sentiment in regard to farming and farm life, which is working most beneficially for agriculture. While business men were failing or losing heavily by the failures of others, and the accumulations of a life-time were vanishing, leaving only a burden of debt and anxiety as to the means of future subsistence, it was natural they should regard, with feelings of envy, the position of the farmers, with their bountiful crops and all the means of comfort, with freedom from debt and
Many of the farmers' sons, who but a few years before forsook farm-life because it was too low for their ambition, now, schooled by adversity, had their views and feelings so changed that they gladly returned to their father's house, and to manly labor on the farm. Some older business men, also, who learned farming in their boyhood, purchased farms with the remants of their fortunes, and moved on to them, to spend the remainder of their days in the quietude of rural life. Both these classes are now zealous advocates of improved farming, and are convinced that farm-life need not be such drudgery as it is often made. They are striving by reading and study, combined with experience and observation, to make farming an intellectual and scientific as well as profitable pursuit. This feeling is happily becoming quite general in some neighborhoods.
The increased popular esteem for farming, and the disposition of the sons to remain on the farms is, of course, giving fresh life and cheer to farmers and their families, and increasing their self respect, which is the first step towards intellectual, social, and moral advancement. Hence we have seen, within a few years, a disposition to read agricultural books and papers, and to discuss with each other the principles and practice of their profession, and all matters that pertain to their interests or duties as farmers and citizens.
The Grange Movement.-One of the most hopeful signs of progress among farmers is the organization and operation of nearly one thousand Granges, besides numerous farmers' clubs in our State. We may differ in opinions respecting some of the features of
the Grange, but I think all will admit that the principles of the Order are just and beneficial; and the social and educational influences are destined to accomplish more for the promotion of agriculture, by the improvement of farmers and their families than any other agency that has ever been in operation. It is only within a year or two past that the real influence of the Grange movement has begun to make itself felt. Much time was spent in organizing and eradicating erroneous notions, and then in teaching how their work can best be done. This preliminary work is still going on in many cases, along with the more practical business. With its forty thousand members in the State, working harmoniously and intelligently for the benefit of agriculture, who can estimate the amount of good that this agency may accomplish in the years to come!
The Fertilizer Movement.-Among the signs of progess in Ohio agriculture, I mentior also the introduction of the use of commercial fertilizers, not so much on account of the intrinsic merits of these articles, as on account of the benefits that have arisen from their use, in setting the minds of farmers to thinking and reading on the scientific principles which are involved therein, and thus overcoming the prejudice which existed in some minds against scientific farming.
The rapidity with which the use of these fertilizers has increased, and the present extent of their use, especially in the eastern half of the State, are quite remarkable, and may be largely attributed to the very general discussion of the subject in the Grange meetings. From facts that have come to me, I believe that not less than ten thousand tons of bone-dust and superphosphate were purchased and used by farmers of Ohio the past year. Much of this was distri uted through the business agencies of the Grange.
Four or five years ago only here and there a farmer ventured to try these fertilizers, in consequence of reading about them in the agricultural papers. The experiments were on a small scale at first, but finding good results, larger amounts were used the next season, and when the crops matured doubting and prejudiced neighbors were invited to note the results. When the product of wheat was doubled by the use of a few dollars' worth of bone-dust, as was often the case, the argument was of a convincing kind, even to dull intellects, and some who never before would admit that they could derive any benefit from agricultural papers, were now quite desirous of reading about the use of fertilizers, and ready to admit that there was something in scientific farming. I think it is quite probable that some farmers who are now so enthusiastic in their belief that these fertilizers are going to work a renovation of their old lands will be measurably disappointed after a few years, unless other well-known methods of keeping up fertility are also used. I have no doubt that phosphoric acid-the active principle of bone-dustis the one element most wanting in these old wheat soils at this time; but after a few pretty liberal applications of bone the effect may be very slight, showing that this element is present in sufficient supply, and other manures or fertilizers are needed. All these matters will soon be understood by those who have set to work investigating this subject; and the grand thing about the fertilizer movement is, that it has set thousands of farmers to reading aud experimenting in a manner they had never done before, and it is now a topic of discussion in hundreds of Grange meetings, which cannot fail to be greatly useful in stimulating young farmers especially, to thought and investigation. Hence, I say again, I regard this movement as another of the hopeful signs of progress in Ohio agriculture.
I would also mention, as one of these signs of progress, the arrangement for the delivery of the course of lectures for farmers, at the (Agricultural) State University. Much good will no doubt result therefrom, not only to those who are so fortunate as to attend them,
but also, through their teachings and practice, to many of their neighbors. I trust this will be but the commencement of a long series of annual lectures of this kind, and that the numbers who will attend them in future years may be indefinitely increased.
In conclusion, gentlemen, I feel sure that you will agree with me that the signs are auspicious for the commencement of an era of greater agricultural progress than we have yet seen in Ohio; and I am sure you will agree with me in asking our State Board of Agriculture to devise and adopt some advanced measures for the promotion of this great interest. It is quite tine, for instance, that we had in this great State at least one experimental farm, managed by men of science and practical experience, where many of the problems could be solved pertaining to the tillage of the soil and the methods of preserving and increasing the fertility of our soils, the merits and value of the various fertilizers for the different soils and crops, etc. But I will leave this range of the subject for others, and trust that it may be well considered by the Board, if there is not time for its discussion by this Convention.
The subject for discussion now being, "What is the most exhaustive crop grown in Ohio?" it was opened, as follows, by W. N. COWDEN:
I was asked, two or three hours ago, to make some remarks upon this subject: "What is the most exhaustive crop grown in Ohio?" I had desired to speak after some one had opened the discussion, following him for a few moments. However, as that is not the condition of things, I must not let this opportunity pass without saying something with regard to a crop which we in southern Ohio are raising, I think, and as I will prove by figures, to onr detriment. It is a fact that hundreds and thousands of acres of land in southern Ohio are being exhausted of those mineral elements which feed plants and make up crops. I think that the tobacco crop, which we in southern Ohio have so long grown, is the cause of the exhaustion of the soils there. It is very difficult, on our hills, now, to get the fields reseeded-to get a catch of grass, as we call it-after we quit cropping in tobacco, and other crops are cultivated in. Now, I attribute this to the fact that we have exhausted our soils by growing tobacco on them. We have exhausted our soils to such an extent, in many places, that we can not restore it by the use of clover.
Chemical science has demonstrated to us the fact that tobacco and clover feed on verv nearly the same mineral elements. But in the case of tobacco, it taken off the soiltaken out of our State and country. Ohio tobacco is all marketed in France and Berlin. But in the case of clover it is just as exhaustive, if we take the hay off, and take all the seed off, and don't restore back to the fields the plant elements. But when we raise clover we leave a great part of the plant food in the ground. We can not take it all off when we make hay and pasture; and then when we turn it under, in the shape of green crops, we restore all the elements destroyed, and all the additional elements of the clover. While growing only tobacco, we impoverish the soil.
For one reason and another, I have taken special pains to look up the elements on which plants feed in the soils. I have had access to some authorities-perhaps have not found as many as some of you, but have found some. Southern Ohio, and, I suppose, Brown and Montgomery counties, ought to quit raising tobacco, I have some facts that show to me that we in southern Ohio ought to cease the cultivation of tobacco. Here is a table copied from the Agricultural Report for 1872, prepared by Prof. Wolff, of the Agricultural Academy of Hohenheim. I have also had access to the tables of Bosseit, Reiman, Dr. Jackson, of Massachusetts, and Dr. Peters, of Kentucky, who all substantially agree in the elements extracted by the various crops we produce. I need not
mention the fact that there are certain non-essential elements in the production of plants, and that there are certain essential elements. There are certain elements of plant food found in our soils without which no plant can grow-without which no plant can live at all; for instance, potash, nitrogen, magnesia, phosphoric acid, and sulphuric acid. These, I believe, our chemists class as the essential elements. In other words, soils in which these are absent, though the others may be present in abundance, can not sustain plant life. While there are other elements which the plants feed upon, yet if they are taken out the plants will grow.
I have, in this table, nearly all the essential elements for plant life. In this table I have shown ordinary plants. First, the wheat plant. For instance, in every 1,000 lbs of wheat sold off of our farms, we take away 20.8 lbs. of nitrogen, 5.5 lbs. of potash, 2.2 lbs. of magnesia, .6 lb. of lime, 8.2 lbs. of phosphoric acid, and .4 lb. of sulphuric acid. These are the essential elements of the plants, without which plants can not grow. If we take 1,000 lbs. of straw, we sell 3.2 lbs. of nitrogen, 4.9 lbs. of potash, 1.1 lbs. of magnesia, 2.7 lbs. of lime, 2.3 lbs. of phosphoric acid, and 1.2 lbs. of sulphuric acid. If we sell 1,000 lbs. of rye, we sell 17.6 lbs. of nitrogen, 5.4 lbs. of potash, 1.9 lbs. of magnesia, 5 lb. of lime, 8.2 lbs. of phosphoric acid, and .4 lb. of sulphuric acid. If we take corn as another example, when we sell 1,000 lbs. of it we sell 16 lbs. of nitrogen, 3.3 lbs. of potash, 1.8 lbs. of magnesia, .3 lb. of lime, 5.5 lbs. of phosphoric acid, and .1 lb. of sulphurie acid. Now, take tobacco. In every 1,000 lbs. we sell 46 lbs. of nitrogen, 54.1 lbs. of potash, 20.7 lbs. of magnesia, 73.1 lbs. of lime, 7.1 lbs. of phosphoric acid, and 7.7 lbs. of sulphuric acid. In other words, all the other items enumerated-wheat, wheat straw, rye, rye straw, and the corn-if we sell 1,000 lbs. of each one of these, the total amount sold of potash does not equal the amount of potash sold in 1,000 lbs. of tobacco. And in the case of these other essential elements, the contrast is still greater; 1,000 lbs. of tobacco exhausts the soil of three times as much of the essential elements of plant life as any other of the crops grown in Ohio. Hence I say, I do hope to see, in the near future, the cultivation of this crop abandoned in Ohio. I think that, in view of its effect upon the soils, it is not a remunerative crop.
The next topic, "What will make farming more desirable?" was passed without discussion.
R. Baker, of Lorain county, then read a paper on
WHICH ARE THE BEST BREEDS OF CATTLE FOR OHIO?
This question gives a wide scope for discussion. By taking in the whole range of the State, it cannot be expected for all the members of this Convention to agree upon any one or two breeds. Almost every occupier of the pastures of Ohio have their minds settled as to the kind of cattle they prefer. Some men have a fancy for the Alderney— they are up to the highest standard of excellence for dairy purposes, in their estimation; and some men will insist that they are, so far as they go, just as good for beef as any other race of cattle. The Ayrshires, too, have their admirers, who claim that for milk they cannot be excelled, and even go further, and contend that they will fatten easily, and also are to be admired for their beauty. Others claim that the hornless Scotch cattle-Galloways and Aberdeens-are to take the field against all other breeds, suggesting that it would be well to cross them with the Shorthorns and others, and get rid of the bones, which are useless. The Holsteins, too, are held by a few men to be perfect as milkers, and equally as good as any breed for beef. And then we have the Hereford, and there is not a man breeding this class but claims them to be superior to all other