Agricultural Education Problem in Florida, Athenaeum Club. October 1, 1915
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00000206/00003
Finding Guide: A Guide to the Peter Henry Rolfs Collection
 Material Information
Title: Agricultural Education Problem in Florida, Athenaeum Club. October 1, 1915
Series Title: Writings and Speeches 1891-1920
Physical Description: Unknown
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Box: 1
Divider: Articles, Speeches and Other Writings
Folder: Agricultural Education Problem in Florida, Athenaeum Club. October 1, 1915
Subjects / Keywords: Agricultural extension work -- Florida.
Agriculture -- Florida -- Experimentation.
Agriculture -- Study and teaching -- Brazil -- Minas Gerais.
Agriculture -- Study and teaching -- Florida.
Citrus fruit industry -- Brazil.
Leprosy -- Research -- Brazil.
Minas Gerais (Brazil) -- Rural conditions.
Escola Superior de Agricultura e Veterinaria do Estado de Minas Gerais.
Florida Cooperative Extension Service.
University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station.
University of Florida. Herbarium.
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System ID: AA00000206:00003


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'Athaenaeum Club,
October 1, 1915



Gentlemen of the Athaenaeum Club and Visitors:

I am presenting to you tonight a brief paper on the sub-

ject as stated above. r former essays before the Club

have been of nmuch greater length than the paper of tonight.

I expect to confine myself pretty closely to the twenty

minutes allowed by our Constitution for such a paper.

I trust therefore, while the paper will leave mnch unsaid

that I would like to present, that each member will sup-

ply this deficiency in his own mind, and that where the

essay is faulty or the thought may not have been brought

out clarly, that this may be taken up in the discussion

that follows the reading of the paper

As an introduction to my essay- tonight, I wish to

briefly re-state the titles of qy former papers with

some comments. The first paper was presented on Jan-

uary 25th, 1907, on Agricultural Education in Florida.

This was a brief review of the general status of higher

agrictl tural education in the State to approximately

that date. Up to that time no special fund had been

received from the Legislature to enable the institution

to carry on Farmers' Institute work in the State at large.

Such extension work 1as had been done by the institution

was by means of funds that were diverted from their in-

tended channels. This amount of money was smaJl, but

it was sufficient to enable a few zealous agricultural

missionaries to undertake some Farmers' Institute work

in various parts of the State.. In this paper I indi-

cated very strongly that the next step in the develop-

ment of the University was to present our claim for funds

with which to hold Farmers, Institutes. At that meet-

ing, which was held in the parlor of the President's home,

only one man in the Club agreed with me that it would be

possible to utilize finds of this kind satisfactorily to

the people of the State. The Legislature which con-

vened in the spring of 1907 allotted the sum of $5000

annually for carrying on Farmers' Institutes. Only a

portion of this became available since the funds in the

State treasury were not sufficient to provide for all the

disbur.3ements allowed by the Legislature.

My second paper was presented to the Club on

February 21st, 1908 on the subject of Educational Advance-

ment in Florida. I will quote the conclusions reached


1. We have developed from a monarchial form of gov-

ernment and must not expect to find a "ready to wear"

democracy, but will have to fight to get it. The Uni-

versity of F3orida is the logical leader, and we as the

active exponents, fail in our trust if we assume the at-

titude of camp followers.

2. The old AgriculturaJ College had her opportunity.

She passed it up and thereby was discredited. She failed

to grasp her opportunity, though she was given twenty

years to make good. The t.iiLe for success was ripe; the

place was also there, but the man was the one element

wanting. (In t-is co action, I will mark par nthet-

Icall that we missed b3 a very narrow margin getting Dr.

Curti and lat r Dr. Bai ey.)

3. The pressure is now upon us. Two million mouths

to be fed have been added annually since 1900. This

rate of increase will be accelerated in an arithmetical

progression. The time and the opportunity are here.

Are we the right men for the work?

What are we going individuall2Y to relieve .this

pressure? Or are e we almly sitting like the fly on

the buggy jheel? Everything about us is changing.

Even the ibea of what constitutes an education has

greatly chan ed in the last ifty years.

My third paper was presented to the Club on March

29th, 1912, in which I discussed the University and Ex-

tension.. As the conclusions of that paper adL have a

direct bearing on the thought I wish to present tonight,

I wi1l quote them as a whole.

1. The University of PForida is a public ser-

vice corporation.

2. We, you and I, individually, are responsible

for our share of the work.

3. The opportunity is knocking at our door. If

we hear the knock well and good. If we do not, the op-

portunity is gone forever.

4. The thought and education of our State rmst be

melded and it should be done by the University.

(a) Tnought should be molded along pro-

gressive lines, not along recessive lines.

(b) Thought must be molded by educational


(c) Every department in the University should

make its presence felt in every corner

of the State.

(d) The Correspondence Course is the cheap-

est and most accessible means.

(e) Excuses and exp2laations cannot,recover

lost opportunities.

5. Some of the present dangers.

(a) The establishment of independent voca-

tional High .Schools.

(b) The rapid development of Extension De-

partments of endowed Institutions in

Florida. (rt is easier to hold a fort

than to re-take it).

My fourth paper was on the Everglades, the Polit-

ical Significance of its Present Aspect, and was present-

ed to the Mlub on January 9th, 1914. This was a paper

illustrat&ed..iy stereopticon views taken from the vast

*If Y'

region-known as the Everglades. The last point made in

my summary has a direct bearing on the paper I present

tonight; this one reads: "The drainage of the Everglades

is one of the great civic problems of the time."

This hasty review of rny former papers brings il.

discussion up to the point where we want to take it up


Element.s Affecting the Education Prob]em

In ny paper of March 29, 1912, I made the follow-

ing statement: "Both of these institutions [church and

schoolJ need to be re-vitalized and made true educational

axd spiritual centers". It is of course with the school
that we are especia32y concerned. The elements that

are entering into the vitalizing of the education prob-

lem in Florida are,

(1) The Agricultural College, having four men giving

all of their time to strictly agricultural teaching.

(2) The iExtension Division with five men, located at

the University, giving all of their time to Extension di-

rection and teaching. Thirty-eight County Agents who

give all of their time to direct teaching in the field.

Four'women agents located at Tallahassee giving all of

their time toward directing and conducting the women's

side of the work. Twenty-three County Agents giving full

time for not less than six months and some of them for

eleven months, making a total of sixty-nine adults giv-

ing all of their time to the furtherance of extension work

in the State, in addition to four persons in clerical

positions, making a total of seventy-three.

(3) The Experiment Station, which is well understood

by all members present, devoting its.entire time to in-

vestlgational work, with seventeen salaried employees.

(4) The Plant Board Work, the newest of the projects


in the development of our agricultural education problem

and ideas, came into being as a result of the Acts of trhe

last Legislature. The Plant Board gives a large amount

of. time to the direction of its work in the line of police

duties. The Legislative Act, however, provides also for

a certain line of research. These lines of police duty

arid research will have a greater or less effect upon the

educational problem in the State.

I will not bring into this discussion the work

done by the Commissioner of Agriculture in the enforcement

of certain regulations, nor the work done by the Board of"

Health in carrying out the directions of the law govern-

ing that body.

The latest project taken up by the Extension Di-

vision is that of the Agricultural News Service. This

Agricultural News Service is gotten out weekly, and every

member of the .Athenaeum Club has received, or should

have received, copies of this weekly. At first sight

it would seem as if this effort was hardly worth the

while, but to those of us who have been in the forefront

in having to provide people in the State and out of the

State with accurate agricultural information, it is a

matter of considerable moment. If we take the summary

of what this News Service in the aggregate means we will

have a clearer understanding of the force of the Agricul-

tural News Service. It is sent out to all newspapers

in the State, every one of which is at liberty.to make as

many clippings from it for their weekly or daily paper as

they choose. We are concerned mainly with the weekly

papers, since these reach a constituency that we have

heretofore been unable to reach. Last week Mr. Beeler

summarized the results of the work; it showed that sixty-

seven in-State weekly papers made one or more clippings

from the News Service. There were others that made clippings
from the News Servics, but those could not be counted in

since we did not have exchanges or complimentary copies

from them to use in making up the actual data. These

sixty-seven weeklies have a weekly circulation of 171,573.

For the main part these statistics are based on affidavits

as to their circulation. This means that a very large

number of people in the State of Florida get accurate ag-"

ricultural information, prepared from authoritative

sources. In additions to the in-State papers there are

at least three weeklies outside of the State, with a com-

bined weekly circulataon of 168,494, that are using

c ippings from the News notes and giving out of the State

people agricultural information from a known and. author-

itative source.

I have now placed before you somewhat fully the

various elements that make up the complicated maze of

the agricultural education problem in Florida. To see

this problem clearly it will need careful analysis of all

the elements entering into it. ~fft wf yn .--Iwr

possiblein a brief wif an hour were allotted to

its presentation. That the problem is not clearly ander-

stood by all the members of the Athenaeum Club is certified

I by a letter from a young member whose nom de plume is

I. B. Gown. The occasion of the letter was ny five-minute

talk at the close of Dr. Berger's essay on the history of

Citrus Canker, read before the Athenaeum Club on October

29th, 1914. I. B. Gown says: "Now Professor, you love

to crow so" this gives the key note to the point of the

letter. It also gives me an opportunity to disclaim

any intentional guilt in this direction.

The point of the recital of the various elements

that make up our agricultural education problem in Florida

is that we are in a stage of evolution, -- I might almost

call it revolution. We are located here at the Univer-

sity and have the finest opportunity presented to any

similar body ~f higher education in the United States,

and possibly in the world. The vitalizing agency to-

waQi== referred in my essay of March 29, 1912, is active-

ly at work. We are, consciously or unconsciously, direct-

ing and molding the trend of our education problem. We

are living under a democratic form dtr government, guided

in the main by democratic principles. AWe elect officers

to make the laws and another set of officers to enforce

these laws, and so have a vast and complicated machinery.

that'the average man does not comprehend. In a monarchial

form of government the average man sees the matter much

more clearly. The King, Kaieer or Czar, hLig' been ap-

pointed by Providence to rule over.:the nation, is -mde

. rlpam Efr I the enactment of the laws as well as

their execution. In our democratic form of government

as the needs of the State become more complex, it is

necessary to delegate the carrying out of certain laws

to a large number of different individuals. Taking our ow"'

State as an illustration, we have at least four differ-

ent sources of authority for formulating and carrying out

agricultural work, whichhae a direct or indirect bearing

on the education problem. ( ) We have the Board of Con-

trol who are charged with the handling of the work at the

University. (2) We have the Plant Board who are charged


with the responsibility of carrying out the Acts of 1915,.

(3) We have the State Board of Health, responsible for

carrying out certain other Acts, especially the matter

of dealing with glanders in horses and cholera in hogs.

(4) The State Commissioner of Agriculture, who is charged

with the enforcement of the laws governing purity of fer-

tilizers, feeds, foods and drugs, In addition to these

four different elements there are various other agencies

that come in for consideration when the whole problem is

in mind. I am referring to the various pV organiz&-

tions. These need not be taken into consideration at

the present time, since they are playing no particularly

important part in the development of our education problem,

The unification "Ari Mt ro l of the efforts of

the ffo- t, in the agricultural extension line, between

the United States Department of Agriculture and the


University of Florida, has greatly simplified the problem

in this direction. The cause in the Laws of 1915

creating the Plant Board and making them the same persons

as those who are members of the Board of Control, has

simplified the problem in that direction. The simplifi-

cation of this problem in its ultimate analysis, has for

its object prevention of duplication of work by the dif-

ferent agencies that enter into this education problem.

As a result of this simplification we are approaching a

condition which may be described as bureaucracy. As a

matter of fact the general trend of our development in the

State is pretty strongly in this direction. Bereaucratic

government may become as undesirable and oppressive as

the monarchial form and as we are tending strongly in that

direction it is more than worth our while to stop and

study the situation. The democratic form of government


is undoubtedly extremely wasteful, both in its men and

materials. The monarchial form of government when ruled

by a beneficent and far-sighted monarch may be extremely

efficient in materials and men. The democratic form of

government can approach- efficie/cy~only through sys-

tematizing its activities and setting up the bureaucratic

form. This bureaucratic form will be good for our State

so long as the individuals composing the bureau see clear-

ly the needs of the masses in formulating and projecting

the problems that arise. The bureau must see these prob-

lems clearly and work them out patiently. If its ideals

are too far in advance of the masses, failure will un-

doubtedly result from inability to carry out the program, -

an unpopular law cannot be enforced either in a County

or a State. It is our province, therefore, in the demo-


cratic form of government which is our ideal, to lead out

with our educational problems in such a way as will bring

us to the goal we are seeking. And it is this question

that I am raising tonight: how far can we go with devel-

opment in the direction of coordination and organization

without reaching the point of being a dictatorial bureau?

The development that has taken place in the last .ten

years has been little short of revolution. At frrst dis-

Cordant elements were working separately, and quiteffre-

quently at variance with one another, certainly so far as

the educational ideal was concerned. With the passage of

the Smith-Lever Bill there has come about a wonderful

change, not only in Florida but in all of the Dhlted States'

in the way of coordinating different activities in the

Extension line.


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