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THE RELATION OF THE DAIRY INDUSTRY TO CHILD WELFARE.
Mrs. IRA Couch Wood, director, Elizabeth McCormick Memorial Fund,
Mr. Chairman, Mr. President, our foreign delegates, and the members of the International Dairy Congress: I heard some one say something about an anticlimax this morning. You know a governor is really supposed to be the climax of almost anything in this country except when you have a President present, so really I feel you have had your climax. [Laughter.]
I have a suspicion that perhaps your chairman, delightful as he is and kind as he always is and considerate to his friends, may still have had the same feeling as a certain man who had several speakers on his program. As the evening went on first one and then another drifted out. The climax seemed to have been reached and there was still a speaker or two. This poor, harassed chairman saw the people going out, so he finally made the following plea: “Oh, friends, don't go; wait awhile; we have another speaker on the program.
He is a good man; he is an ex-officer; he is a soldier; we ought to hear him; just come back and sit down. This man is a soldier; he was in the late war; he went through hell over there for us and we ought to do as much for him here.' [Laughter and applause.] I have seen chairmen facing that same situation.
I am here to-night, as your chairman says, in the interests of the children, since I represent a service that is directly concerned with the children of this country. The Elizabeth McCormick Memorial Fund was founded by Mr. and Mrs. Cyrus Hall McCormick. Mr. McCormick, as many of you know, was at the head of the International Harvester Co. for many years. This fund which I represent was founded in memory of Mr. and Mrs. McCormick's only daughter, Elizabeth, a very beautiful and talented child, who died when she was 12 years old. That the spirit of her life might carry on in the lives and happiness and health of other children, this foundation was established in her name, the aim being to improve the condition of child life in the United States.
Your chairman has very kindly spoken of me as one of the pioneers in the movement. I really was something of a pioneer, and I have often thought of myself to a slight extent as a godmother to this present movement in the dairy industry of which we have seen and heard such splendid things to-day. It is very rarely that one lives to gather the harvest from the seed one has himself sown. very glad, before I get any grayer and any older than I am, to see some of the accomplishments of that movement concerning which I had something to say in the beginning.
It was only five years ago that down in Columbus, Ohio, your president, Mr. Van Norman, and I sat with a few choice souls there and discussed the possibilities of cooperation between welfare organizations and the dairy industry. It was not a particularly auspicious occasion. It was the time of the influenza epidemic, and there were only half a dozen people who dared brave the microbes and come out to the Dairy Show. We were right in the
* Mrs. Wood died Dec. 19, 1923.
midst of the great war, which was in its last desperate stages. We were just weighing and measuring children, but we did not know then what a poor showing those children were going to make, and we did not know fully the fact that so many of our men were unfit for service. We had not then realized that the homes and schools of this Nation were not producing a young manhood fit for the business of war; and if we were not fitting them for the business of war, surely we were not doing an efficient piece of work for the much bigger business of producing citizens. [Applause.]
We sat there and talked of what might happen. Your preside: had this vision of the cooperation that might come from these organizations, and we talked a little of the possibilities and of the future. Just at that moment our hearts were very much touched by the conditions of the children of Europe, by the tragic spectacle of those starved, diseased, and wounded children who were collecting in all the different points in Europe.
Our purse strings were opened here in America, I am happy to say, very generously, but we little dreamed at that moment that we should find in this country, the land of plenty and wealth, a whole army of children who were suffering for lack of food—the right food-here, where everything seemed to smile and every prospect was pleasing. Yet that is just exactly what we found as we have heard so many times to-day. We had the great army of the physically unfit and the undernourished children to deal with.
My conference at that time with your president was followed, as your chairman has said, by a conference with him and his associates in Chicago, and in just a short five years see what has been accomplished. A great group of trained men and women has arisen, working whole-heartedly for the children of the country, taking health education into the schools—and surely that is where it belongs.
You know, by our law, of which we are so proud, we condemn a child to school much as we condemn a prisoner to jail. He must go when he is 7 and he must stay until he is 14; but we never thought to write into that law that the children should be released at the end of the school period finer, sturdier, physically as well as mentally. That is the thing we must have in mind to-day.
This is the reason that health education, to me, seems so significant. We are bringing it to the children in the schools, the one place where we touch every child. There it can be carried by the teachers who have so much of the modeling and the molding of the future of America in their hands.
It seems to me it has been very evident to-day that we are making progress. We are not having the formal teaching of physiology of which Miss Jean spoke this morning-learning all the bones and muscles in the body and never practicing a health habit. We used to study about 40 pages on the evils of alcohol and a great deal about its effect upon the liver, which the Women's Christian Temperance Union was perfectly sure we should learn in my early days. In place of such stereotyped learning there is now a vitalizing force going through the schools, that means, in the end, the health of the chil dren and the power of the Nation-a distinct contrast to the sort of physiology taught to the boy who, when asked to describe the spinal
cord, thought awhile and then said, “ The spinal cord is a flexible bone. Your head sits on one end of it and you sit on the other.” [Laughter.]
We have lived to see health education popular. It is even becoming fashionable. To use the slang phrase, "Everybody is doing it." Certainly that is a measure of success—in America at least. We are singing, we are playing, we are filming, we are “ radio-ing” health. The fact that this message is "registering” must have been evident to you to-night in many ways.
Everybody is in the game now and many unusual factors have been introduced. Even the humble yeast cake has come into its own; the despised goat is now a very fashionable addition to the dairy industry. Doctor McCollum has found a use for the rats and the stupid guinea pigs.
Your president has said that we need a new name to describe what we are doing. We have, as a matter of fact, a whole new health vocabulary. We have to use these new terms rather carefully or we may cause considerable consternation. Take, for instance, the word " nutrition.” A little boy who had just been given a physical examination went to his teacher crying bitterly.
" Why, John," she said, “ what is the matter?”
“I am never going to that doctor again as long as I live," he wailed.
The teacher was much disturbed. “Why, John,” she said, “I have never seen you cry before. Wasn't the doctor kind to you?
"Kind nothing. Look what he wrote on my card." The child dramatically cast his card down before the teacher. “Poor nutrition ” had become “Poor Nut" through the doctor's special way of abbreviating.
There are a good many ways in which it seems to me your industry is peculiarly fortunate. The scientists are strengthening the value of your product. Without even being asked to do so they are bolstering it up every day. Doctor McCollum and all the rest are adding, day by day, to your capital and to the value of your product. You even please both types of food cranks—those who believe in no cooking and those who believe in cooking everything. Milk fills both needs without any difficulty.
You have made milk stand for more than a white wagon and some rattling bottles. You are making children and parents feel that it is the very source of life itself. I think yours is the only group where welfare work brings a direct financial reward, as it is quite right it should. The rest of us, you know, have a belief that social service has a reward in human values and the consciousness of work well done, but your welfare work furnishes the best medium in the world for selling the thing you have to sell.
I do congratulate the dairy council on having the vision to grasp the fact that this indirect selling method of putting the welfare of the human race first is the soundest way that ever has been devised of advertising what you have to sell. It is much more effective than even a full page in our world's greatest newspaper-which, we are constantly assured, is published in the town I happen to come from. [Laughter.]
But, of course, while you are fortunate in having chosen this dairy industry, it brings with it certain very great responsibilities.
You deal, in fact, with life or death-the greatest things that come to man-since you further his health, which is after all the great essential Therefore, there can be, of course, no excuse in your business for a commercial trick, for a poor bit of advertising, for anything that looks like profiteering, because you almost hold the source of life in your hands.
There is an old fable that, it seems to me, may well be given deep thought by your industry:
In the city of Bagdad lived Haykem, the wise one, and many people went to him for counsel, which he gave freely to all, asking nothing in return. There came to him a young man who had spent much but got little. He said, “Tell me, wise one, what shall I do to receive the most for that which I spend?” Haykem answered, “A thing that is bought or sold has no value unless it contains that which can not be bought or sold. Look for the priceless ingredient." “ But what is this priceless ingredient?" asked the young man. Spoke then the wise one, “ My son, the priceless ingredient of every product in the market place is the honor and the integrity of him who makes it and markets it. Consider his name before you buy."
You have in your hands this priceless ingredient. What will you do with it? You are stewards of this life-giving substance. The world is right in looking to you for an accounting. You here tonight represent the brains, the commercial instinct, the industry, and the wealth of this great organization. How are you going to utilize this force? You have, above all things, the possibility of united action. You have already done much, but you have yet much to do. There are places all over the world where people never see milk, much less taste it. There are places in my own State of Illinois where one can not be sure of a glass of pure milk. Are you going to do your utmost to make certain that every child in the world has milk to drink, and pure milk at that? Are you going to see that every single child knows the value of milk? If you do these things, will you not make a fine accounting of your stewardship?
Will you so discharge your stewardship that every one of us can trust to you our children, our priceless possession and the Nation's greatest guaranty of its future greatness and leadership? Shall we build health efficiently and soundly on the trust that we have that you will guarantee purity in your product?
You are the custodians of a substance that gives life. No king, no emperor ever held such power as you hold through this substance that is yours to sell or to barter.
On your honor and honesty and your vision of what your industry can become, almost a whole world hangs. If you discharge your duty well, what will be your reward? The consciousness of work well done, of a trust and faith kept for the world, of a look of perfect confidence in the clear, confiding eyes of a child, and the knowledge that you have followed the teachings of the Master, who said "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of one of these, my children, ye have done it unto me.” [Applause.]
Toastmaster Munn. Recently in England it was my privilege to meet the next speaker. I called at one of the national organizations in England and inquired for the gentleman in charge and was presented to Mr. Langford. I found in him one quite keenly alive to
agricultural conditions in England, Scotland, and Wales, one who had guided for a year, as president, the activities and destinies of the National Farmers' Union of England, and was then and still is chairman of the Milk Conference Committee of England and Wales. He is over here attending the World's Dairy Congress as the direct representative of the farmers' organizations of England. We are indeed privileged to have him here, and it is a great pleasure to me to have the opportunity of presenting him to you. Mr. Langford.
(The members and their guests arose and applauded.)
PRODUCTION AND MARKETING OF DAIRY PRODUCTS IN ENGLAND.
E. W. LANGFORD, J. P., past president, and chairman of the milk and dairy produce committee, National Farmers' Union of England and Wales, Hereford, England.
Mr. Chairman, ladies, and gentlemen : I can assure you it affords me very great pleasure to be here. It affords me pleasure on my own account and it affords me very great pleasure that you have done me the honor of asking me, as the only foreigner of the 44 nations here represented, to address this meeting to-night.
I don't know why that distinction has fallen upon me, except, perhaps, it be that we sent from our country a great many men to help found this great Nation. [Applause.) And coming, as I do from that little island, I talk to a great many American citizens here who tell me that their forebears came either from one part of England or another, and a great many indeed came from north of the Tweed, Scotland, and not a few from that principality, that little country known as Wales.
So there is very much in common between England and this great Nation of yours, and we are proud to be here to-night to represent England, Wales, and Scotland as we do at this conference. May I remark that out of all the nations we have the distinction of sending the greater number of delegates to this congress. [Applause.]
As I said before, I come from a very small country, but nevertheless a very great country, but I never quite realized the importance of that country in regard to international trade until I came to this congress. What do I find? Practically every speaker who has spoken up to now has mentioned the name of England more than any other nation—and why is it? It is because we are the greatest customer of every nation in the world for any surplus goods that they have to sell. Indeed, I feel that at this congress every nation is trying to get into the market. It appears to me that every nation is a traveler, knocking at the door of England's markets.
Well, up until now we have imported a very large quantity of the necessities of life. We only produce in our country 44 per cent of the milk and milk products we consume. We, therefore, import from one or many countries 56 per cent of our requirements. In addition to that we spend annually 90,000,000 sterling in lamb, mutton, and wool. We spend no less a sum that 55,000,000 sterling in pigs, bacon, and pork products. We spend millions in money for poultry and eggs.
But, in common with agriculturists all over the world, we are passing through a very great crisis, and I regret that the crisis is no