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Professor of Economics, University of Kentucky;
author of the “Butter Industry in the

United States”

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With an Introduction by

Professor of Rural Social Organization, Cornell University


April, 1923


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, 11-5-1723


M. S. W.


I am confident that no citizen of this country, in private or public life, who has an understanding of the work of the Department, or the handicaps under which our present-day agriculture is laboring, and of the national problems involved in maintaining supplies of food and raw materials sufficient for our constantly increasing population, will fail to give his sympathetic support to measures which promise increased strength to the nation in its most basic industry, the foundation of all other industries, agricultur.-E. T. Meridith, 1920 Yearbook, p. 81.

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Why not tell the farmer the truth and advise him if he would escape the consequences of another such disaster, he should organize; organize, Mr. President, not to be the plaything or the instrument of designing politicians, but organize for an intelligent investigation and pursuit of economics; organize for a cooperative marketing of his product; organize, if it may seem desirable, for the cooperative purchase of his requirements; organize for an intelligent understanding of the source and volume of demand for farm products.- Carter Glass in a speech on the floor of the Senate, January 16 and 17, 1922.

The purpose of this book is to present a scientific and an unbiased analysis of the forms, functions, causes, and effects of public and private agricultural organization in America. The author believes that a separate course in colleges and universities in the field of agricultural economics should be devoted to this subject. The public is generally ignorant of the work of our agricultural institutions, and even college students majoring in agricultural economics fail to secure a thorough and compre. hensive knowledge of our organized facilities erected for the purpose of improving agriculture in all its phases. The organization of federal and state departments of agriculture and their functions, the organization of agricultural colleges with their exiension departments, the experiment stations, agricultural education under the Smith-Hughes law, farmers' organizations, breed associations, and the relation of these parts to one another and to the public, constitute a body of knowledge with which the college students should become acquainted. Certainly students majoring in agricultural economics and especially students taking the teacher-training courses in agricultural education should be familiar with the facts of agricultural organization and its underlying principles. The whole field of agricultural economics is still somewhat wanting in body, and it can well afford, there. fore, to add to the spe«ialized courses of cooperation, rural credit, etc., one dealing with organized efforts for the control of the destiny of American agriculture. It is a course whose content presupposes considerable economics and political science and should, therefore, be given in junior and senior years.

Where no separate course is given in agricultural organization the study will afford valuable collateral reading for use in other courses. Considerable historical matter showing the development of our present organization is given and this will never lose its value. Life is dynamic and changes are always in progress; but the changes that are being made from year to year are related to what has gone before and are after all not wholly dissimilar from their precedents.

In the preparation of this study the treatment of cooperation in a formal way was intentionally omitted because this sub

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