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DAIRYING A BIG BUSINESS,
Dairying is a business, a big and a serious business, both for the producer and the manufacturer.
The dairy farmer is just awakening to the fact that he is a business man employing both capital and labor on no mean scale. Dairy manufacturers are realizing, as never before, that their problem is one of producing an article that will please the trade and stimulate through quality its own demand. These are the big and vital problems that the extension workers must face. They are economic problems and must be faced with facts not now obtainable.
ECONOMIC PROBLEMS MUST BE STUDIED.
Everywhere in experiment station literature we find feed costs of milk production, but rarely do we find labor costs, or dry-cow costs, or depreciated herds costs, or bull costs, or capital charges, such as interest, taxes, insurance, and depreciation, which I submit as the principal costs of milk production on the up-to-date dairy farm. On the manufacturing side we are equally weak. We have not studied the demands of the consumer who makes our market, and consequently have made little effort to produce what will especially appeal to his taste.
And yet every other business of national scope, be it ever so small, has done all these things, and for the most part borne its own costs. A great dairy industry with nationally endowed research laboratories should do these things—must do these same things for the sake of the industry. If the extension service can not do them—as it legally can not-may it not bring to the experiment stations this insistent demand from the field which neither the research nor the extension worker can afford to ignore? If extension work in dairying is to continue to live and grow and function as a great and vital force in the future development of dairying, the economic problems of the dairy industry must yield to solution. If experiment stations in the dairy States rise to their highest opportunity for real service to the industry, they will attack these problems with vigor and push them to successful completion.
In this lies the hope of to-morrow.
Mr. W. S. KELLOGG. In my own case I have found the greatest difficulty in securing assistance for various problems that arise. I find that the research workers at State colleges are occupied in their research work, and the extension worker, through the farm bureau in our district, deals with group meetings and problems and classes. The tendency seems to be more toward organization of the poultry and dairy and farming work than the solution of particular problems which arise from time to time.
I have often wondered how that situation could be remedied. Frankly, it would seem if they had a staff that could go about and look into conditions and rectify some of the troubles it would be of very great help. I can easily understand that it would mean a great deal of work and the employment of a great many specialists, yet it seems to me that in some way there ought to be a system devised making it possible to give specific information on different subjects.
Chairman Hatch. Any other remarks?
Professor M. MORTENSEX (Iowa State College). In our State we have not experienced so much of that difficulty. I happen to be on the other side. I am in dairy manufacturing, but we have a good deal of cooperative work existing between the various departments. In extension service the men have their offices with the departments they represent. So in dairy manufacturing we have three extension men. They have their offices in the dairy building. In dairy hus
. bandry they have two or three men and they work under the animal husbandry department. They have their offices there.
When we have our faculty meetings in our department, our dairy extension men attend whenever they are in. We consider that they belong to the department as members just as much as any of the research or teaching staff. When they suggest work to be taken up from the experiment station side, we take it up as early as possible. We have done some of those practical problems. We figure that the first thing in order now is to bring a better return to the farmers, is to have a better product to market; we must improve the quality and we must standardize the quality. That is what we are working on at the present time.
In our experiment station we carried on some work to determine what kind of butter the consumer wanted. We, of course, know that the quality of the cream must be right in the first place. The second point is, how much acidity do you want? There is a great deal of argument in reference to the amount of flavor that butter must possess. Some claim it should be without flavor and others claim it must have some.
We carried on experimental work along that line by cooperating with commercial judges in New York and Chicago, and from the work done we determined that we must now ripen the cream to acidity determined by multiplying the serum by 0.0063. That is the basis for the work that our men are doing along that line throughout the State.
The work that our manufacturing men are doing along the ertension line is to improve the quality. They are scoring cream throughout the various creameries in the State, and in that way they are improving the quality. When we get the quality up to a certain standard then they can apply for what is known as the Iowa State trade-mark that is protected by the State of Iowa by legislation.
We have, at the present time, 20 creameries that are marketing their butter under the Iowa State trade-mark. That is similar to the trade-mark that they have in Denmark. The Holland trademark is quite different.
In that way through the extension department there is cooperation. There is the teaching force, the experiment station and the extension department which are practically identical. They are working together as one organization.
It is in that way that the work is carried on through the State. and I can assure you that we have improved the quality of the butter a great deal and we consider that there is no need of trying to establish a marketing organization for our butter before we have the quality of the butter standardized.
Mr. J. V. QUIGLEY (Consumers' League, Kansas City, Mo.). I was glad to hear you say that the extension work should meet the wants of the consumer. That point goes home very well with me because I have been on the three sides helping the producer and then with the retail distributing company and now with a women's organization of consumers.
After all is said and done, the extent of all your dairying activities depends upon the amount that the consumer will take, and all your talk about the food values will not go home in the way it should unless the consumers believe in the sanitary quality of the product they are getting.
In Kansas City we have a very strong organization that has been Forking for a period of about 12 years now in helping to improve the quality of the products that go on the market.
There are farmers' organizations there that are working with them and employing extension men to help bring their products up.
In that way I think we will expand to a great extent the consumption of dairy products, because, after you have told consumers that the food values of milk are good, and then during a stay in the country they see insanitary dairying, the market sales do not increase.
There is another phase of that. There are problems in the dairy industry that affect the methods of handling the milk on the farm and affect the cattle, problems that deal directly with the quality and not with the production side, that our dairymen around Kansas City are wondering how to solve.
Tihen I left there they were asking, “ How can we find out means of decreasing the amount of mastitis in our herds and other udder troubles that are increasing our bacterial troubles, and what are the best methods of holding down bacterial counts in our utensils?"
If a number of things of that sort could be solved in the experiment stations and carried through to the producers of milk through the extension men, they would be of great help to the dairy industry.
Prof. R. C. FISHER (Connecticut Agricultural College). I was interested to hear what Mr. Kellogg had to say. I am connected with the State College at Connecticut, both on the teaching staff and on the experiment station staff'; incidentally I am doing some extension work as well, so in many ways I am familiar with the three branches of the educational work.
I quite agree with what our chairman has said in regard to the relation between experiment station and extension work. In many States there is a need of a closer tying up between the work that the experiment station men are doing and the extension men. I have felt that for some time, as a rule, experiment station bulletins are not written for the average farmer because they frequently are expressed in technical terms and in technical language which the average layman does not understand.
However, the extension service or the extension department of a college should take these technical bulletins—and in most cases they are doing this, in Connecticut as well as other States—and digest
them and issue popular bulletins which bring out the principal topics of interest to the farmer and as applied to the industry.
As to our organization in Connecticut, we have in many ways the same organization as Professor Mortensen has outlined. We have in the dairy department, at least every two weeks, a conference at which all of our teaching staff, the extension staff, and the experiment station staff are present, and at which we can discuss the problems of dairy extension work, our experiment station work as it is carried on, and our teaching problems.
So we aim, so far as it is possible, to know of each other's work. Those of us who are on the teaching staff try to keep familiar with the extension problems over the State and, similarly, extension men aim to keep in touch with the experiment station work that is under way.
Ĩo give an illustration of how we are trying to apply our research work and experiment station work in connection with our dairy extension work, I will mention our present way of trying to improve the quality of the milk. Connecticut, of course, is principally a market milk and ice cream State, market milk especially.
The plan which we have under way at the present time is to go to the smaller milk dealers who have no laboratories and who request our assistance in improving the quality of their milk as it comes in to them from the producers.
To give you a concrete illustration: Last week I was at a dairy that had some trouble with the keeping quality of the milk which the managers were anxious to improve.
We took a bacterial count of every can of milk that came in. Then in the evening, we called in the producers and simply put the facts on the blackboard and pointed out to them that about 80 per cent of them were supplying a fairly good quality of milk, and that only 20 per cent were really causing the trouble. Then we outlined to them how they might improve their quality and perhaps do individual work with the farmers who were having trouble.
After a couple of weeks we usually go back and make another test of the quality of the milk coming in and usually find it improved.
That is the way we are aiming to connect the experiment station work with the extension work. As a matter of fact, I feel that there has been a tendency to separate them too much. There is a certain type of extension work that is almost research work. There is a certain type of research work which can not be done in the laboratory that must be done in the field.
I believe that in certain cases the extension man has to be almost a research man in getting at problems which can not be worked out in the laboratory. I feel that close cooperation is needed.
Chairman HATCH. We are working on the theory that all we need to do is to improve our product and the dairy industry is saved by our extension work. That seems to be the general feeling. I confess that I got the shock of my life from a big distributor not long ago when he said, “I don't know whether we are on the right track or
not on this sweet cream butter business. Does the public want it? Do they want it even at the same price, let alone at a premium?" Then he went on and gave me something of the experience of his concern in the matter of handling high quality butter which sold at a few cents' premium above the regular market price. You would soon get a saturated market on that.
Another thing: They are producing what they call “Grade A”. milk. He said, "Our customers will take just about so much of that. The average customer for dairy products is just like any other buyer. He wants to buy where he can get it cheapest."
I could not answer that argument.
Our institution has carried on a good deal of extension work on the theory that if we can get the quality up (that is a pronounced quality) and sell it under a trade name and let the public know that it is the best, and give them the taste of it; when they get that taste, they will come back with a repeat order because it is a standard product. Then we will be able to raise this dairy industry out of the slough of despond up into the realm of profit.
It takes money to do that. I admit that we don't know very much about it. I admit that we haven't very much evidence. I don't know what department should handle it in the institutionthe department of economics or the department of dairy manufacture, or what-but it is a fertile field for investigation simply because we are basing a large portion of our extension work upon assumption, not on facts.
If we analyze some of our other propositions we will find we will run into a blind alley in about the same way. I really believe that the extension group ought earnestly to discuss these problems with our research workers somewhere in our institutions in order that we may know more than we do about the things which we now assume.
Is there any further discussion?
Professor MORTENSEN. That brings up the other phase of it with reference to cooperation between the various departments in the college.
You made the statement—and I feel the same way—that you did not know whether it was an economics problem or a dairy problem. We have had the same experience. We take it up with those different departments and they cooperate. The matter of marketing the Iowa butter was up for consideration about a year ago. That was considered by the department of economics, by the extension director, and by the department of dairying. We all came togeth talked it over together and we had a definite understanding before we quit.
With reference to sweet cream butter: I don't think you are at all misinformed about that. That has been our experience in Iowa. The consumer does not care so much for sweet cream butter, except in special localities. We want to have sweet cream to start with and ripen it up to the degree of acidity that we believe produces the better result.
Our extension workers have had this satisfaction in working for this State trade-mark, that we can point to all of the creameries that are permitted to use the Iowa State trade-mark to-day, and they have all had an increase in price at from half a cent per pound to 6 cents per pound since they began to use the Iowa State trademark
I consider that those extension men have done work worth while.