This item is only available as the following downloads:
..... .*i* .... .
... Property of the United States Government.
S$ Issued December 14. 1906.
U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.
OFFICE OF EXPERIMENT STATIONS-BULLETIN 174.
A. C. TRUE, Director.
FARMERS' INSTITUTE SPECIALIST.
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE.
.. ... .. .. .. ..
.,. ,f... .. *
*. "I. ii
...... .. 74
THE OFFICE OF EXPERIMENT STATIONS.
A. C. TRUE, D. Sc., Director.
E. W. ALLEN, Ph. D., Assi8tant Director and Editor of Experiment Station Recoadn
W. H. BEAL, B. A., M. E., Chief of Editorial Division.
JOHN HAMILTON, B. S., M. S. A., Farmers' Institute Specialist.
iU. S. DEPARTMENT O AGRICULTURE
OFFICE OF EXPERIMENT STATIONS,
.Washingten, D. C., October 15, 1906.
Sm: I have the honor to transmit herewith a History of Farmers'
IInstitutes in the United States, compiled by John Hamilton, Farmers'
a institute Specialist of this Office.
This bulletin gathers together such data respecting the origin and
progress of the farmers' institute movement in the several States and
Territories as it has been found possible to secure, and presents the
material in an abridged form for the information of institute workers.
It brings tbe-history of the institutes up to the year 1904, the sub-
sequent history of the institutes being recorded in the annual reports
of the Farmers' Institute Specialist of the Department. I recommend
its publication as Bulletin 174 of this Office.
A. C. TRUE, Director.
Hon. JAMES WILSON,
Secretary of Agriculture.
J'. .. ..
..m:gi: .S EATETOFARCLUE
*i;.OFC F XEIET TTO
*:' i:: WsigoD coe 5 96
::i?. ... Sn aetehnrt rnmthrwt itr fFres
. .... .... ....
Introduction ....................................................... .- .- -
Historians-.-... .........-.. ..................-.......... --...........---
Government aid.to institutes .-----..--------....-....------------------.........-....--
American Association of Farmers' Institute Workers...................
Institutes in the several States and Territories ...........................
Alabaa ..........................- ----- ...........---........ ......
Arizona.. ---------..........----------------- ---............---------
California .....-........--..........-...........-......... -. .-.......
Colorado-............. -.......... ............................. ..
Connecticut....---......--.. .------ ..--------.....-.......--..------
Delaware... ......-- -- .........-.. ...------------------------........
Florida.... ...... ..... ........... ..............- ................ ..
Hawaii.............-- .----......-..... ... ........ ..... ..-.........
Missouri...... ..... ..... ......... ....
New Hampshire .... ............... .......... .. .. ...... ...........
New Jersey ....... ............... ................................
New Mexico--.............................................. .............
New York .........-...............................................--
North Carolina.............. ............................... ..........
North Dakota. ........... ..................... .......... .. .....
Oregon ....... .................. ........... ................ ....
. .. .. .
:o:.i~i.. ............. ..
Institutes in the several States and Territories-Continued. Pa.:
Pennsylvania.. .................. ................... .........-- -77
Porto Rico................ -.. ....--.. .............. ............-...-.. sO
Rhode Island ... --------.............------------ -------------.......--80
South Carolina .................... ----.. ........... ................. 81
South Dakota .....-.:-------.. -----------........... .................. 81
Texasse.- ..-----...........--------.... ......-..................----- 83
Utah ....--------...........................-------------------..... 83
Vermont .-----.............................----------------------------......--...---..................--.. 84
Virginia.. ..-------------------------------------. ..--------------... 86 ':i
Washington .----... .---...--.............----...........-.--- .-----. 88 --
West Virginia ..----- ...--- ---------------................------------...--. 89
Wisconsin --------....----..- ----------------------------...-..--- 94
HISTORY OF FARMERS' INSTITUTES IN THE
The farmers' institute movement in the United States has now
reached a degree of importance and development that places it along-
side of the leading institutions of the country organized in the interest
of industrial education. Forty-five States and Territories held insti-
tutes in 1905, aggregating 10,555 half-day sessions, which were at-
tended by 995,192 persons, chiefly adults.
SThe teaching force in the employ of the State directors numbered
S995. The personal history of 791 of these lecturers shows that 386
hold college degrees, 159 had taken partial college courses, 130 had
normal or high-school certificates, and 116 had common-school train-
ing. In addition to this force, the local managers of the several coun-
ties in 28 States reporting employed 3,331 local lecturers who. read
papers or delivered addresses it the institute meetings.
The appropriations for institute purposes by the several States in
1905 amounted to $225,738.89. This development has taken place
within about thirty years, and the greater part of it within the past
The marvelous growth of this form of agricultural instruction in so
short a.period is accounted for by the fact that about the time that
this movement began agricultural lands in many States were begin-
ning to show the injurious effects of constant cropping without restora-
tion of the fertilizing elements thus abstracted, and the majority of
their owners were coming to realize that the restoration of their lands
to profitable production was a problem for the solution of which they
needed the assistance of experts who had made special study of this
S Meetings were called by the farmers of the various communities for
conference and interchange of opinion respecting the difficulties that
they were encountering. To these meetings successful farmers were
invited and given opportunity to explain the methods by which they
aAdditional publications on this subject: Annals of Horticulture, 1891, p. 137, ff.;
Ann. Rpt. Penn. Dept. Agr. 1895, p. 97, ff.; U. S. Dept. Agr., Experiment Station
Record, vol. 7, p. 635, ff.; U. S. Dept. Agr., Office of Experiment Stations Bul. 79.
Sjj z... ...
had succeeded. Later, as the agricultural experiment stations wir
developed, expert scientists from these stations and professors fromn.iSj
the agricultural colleges were brought in to announce the late discov- S
cries of science as these discoveries related to agriculture, and to give. j
advice as to new methods that might be introduced with prospect -of
The feeling of need for information respecting their calling was so .-
general among the farmers and the instruction which these experts
imparted was so helpful that in all of the States the demand for such
instruction became urgent. In response to this demand the legisla-
tares in most of the States provided for the organization and sup-
port of farmers' institutes. The indications are that the institute has
come to stay and that out of the early and cruder forms there will
gradually be developed a system that will be thoroly organized for
giving systematic instruction in agriculture and become recognized :
as a necessary part of the general system of industrial education. .
If the development referred to should be realized, it will become of
interest to students of industrial education in future years to know
precisely how the movement originated in the several States and un-
derstand the circumstances that surrounded it and the forces that
aided in its progress. With this in mind, as well as in the belief that
institute workers even now will be interested in the facts presented, "i1I
the Institute Specialist of the Office of Experiment Stations of the iA
Department of Agriculture has collected such data as could be had
respecting the origin and early history of the institutes in the several -.
States. It was felt that it was important to do this while there are
still living those who were identified with the movement from its .,
beginning and are consequently familiar with it in all of its details. ;
A letter was sent out to the institute directors of the several States '
and Territories in April, 1904, stating that it was proposed to publish n
in bulletin form a history of the farmers' institutes in the United :,
States, partly as a matter of general interest, but specially that an .
authentic record may be had which can be used for reference and ask-
ing each director to prepare a brief paper giving an account of the- -::
origin and development of the farmers' institute movement in his .
In response to this -letter the majority of the State directors Y
prepared statements more or less complete and sent them in to the :
Institute Specialist. In a number of instances the preparation ofj
the history was delegated by the director to some citizen known to
be familiar with the facts, who collected the data and transmitted ::
the manuscript to this Office.
In some cases bare outlines or disconnected facts were given; in::
others a large amount of irrelevant material was included in the state ::."
ments, and in still others the accounts far exceeded the limits of space:
which could be allowed. It became necessary, therefore, in editing
the copy to rewrite entirely a number of the histories, to rearrange the
facts in others so as to present them in consecutive order, and in
others to cut out superfluous matter. In no case, however, has any-
thing been omitted that was regarded as essential to a proper under-
standing of the history, and no statement has been inserted that was
not justified by some authoritative record.
No attempt has been made to summarize the several histories or to
comment upon the work that each State has done. The purpose has
been to present the facts as they have been furnished by competent
authorities and leave the drawing of inferences and conclusions to
those who study and compare them.
This bulletin brings the history of the institutes up to about the time
of the appointment of the Farniers' Institute Specialist of this Office in
1903. The subsequent history of the institutes will be found quite
fully recorded in the annual reports of the Institute Specialist pub-
lished in the annual reports of the Office of Experiment Stations.
It is hoped that the information furnished by this history may not
only preserve a record of the facts, but may also encourage and aid
those who are interested in the future development of the institute
work by exhibiting its progress in the past.
ing persons prepared histories or Supplied data for their respective States
ies, and the valuable service that each has rendered is hereby acknowl-
Alabama.-C. A. Cary, professor of veterinary science in Alabama Polytechnic
Arizona.-R. H. Forbes, director Agricultural Experiment Station, Tucson.
California.-E. J. Wickson, professor of practical agriculture, University of Califor-
Colorado.-A. C. True and F. H. Hall, in article in Experiment Station Record,
Vol. VII, page 638, and L. H. Bailey in U. S. Department of Agriculture, Office (f.
Experiment Stations Bul. 79, page 10.
Connecticut.-T. S. Gold, ex-secretary-State Board of Agriculture, West Cornwall.
Delaware.-Wesley Webb, director Farmers' Institutes, Dover.
Florida.-Charles M. Conner, superintendent Farmers' Institutes, Lake City.
Georgia.-Harvie Jordan, superintendent Farmers' Institutes, Monticello.
S Hawaii.-Jared G. Smith, Agricultural Experiment Station, Honolulu.
Idaho.-H. T. French, director Agricultural Experiment Station, Moscow.
Illinois.-A. B. Hostetter, secretary Illinois Farmers' Institutes, Springfield.
Indiana.-W. C. Latta, superintendent Farmers' Institutes, Lafayette.
Indian Territory.-No institutes.
lowa.-John R. Sage, United States Climatic and Crop Service, Des Moines.
Kansas.-J. T. Willard, director Agricultural Experiment Station, Manhattan.
Kentucky.-Hubert Vreeland, commissioner of agriculture, Frankfort.
Louisiana.-J. G. Lee, commissioner of agriculture and irrigation. Baton Rouge.
Maine.-A. W. Gilman, commissioner of agriculture, Augusta.
Maryland.-W. L. Amoss, superintendent of Farmers' Institutes, College Park.
Massachusetts.-Howard N. Legate, clerk' State Board of Agriculture, Boston.
Michigan.-L. R. Taft, superintendent of Farmers' Institutes, Agricultural College.
Minnesota.-Thomas Shaw, editor of "The Farmer," St. Anthony Park.
Mississippi.-W. L. Hutchinson, director Agricultural Experiment Station, Agri-
- : r : :'
Missouri.-George B. Ellis, secretary State Board of Agriculture, Columbia.
Montana.-F. B. Linfield, director Agricultural Experiment Station, Bozenian. .l
Nebraska.-E. A. Burnett, director Agricultural Experiment Station, Lincoln::
Nevada.-J. E. Stubbs, director Agricultural Experiment Station, Reno -:
New Hampshire.-N. J. Bachelder, secretary State Board of Agriculture,. Coneori;
New Jersey.-Franklin Dye, secretary State Board of Agriculture, Trenton:
New Mexico.-J. D. Tinsley, vice-director Agricultural Experiment Station, Mesil
New York.-Miss K. B. Allis, Office of Farmers' Institutes, Fayetteville. .
North Carolina.-W. F. Massey, horticulturist, Agricultural Experiment Station,
North Dakota.-E. E. Kaufman, director Farmers' Institutes, Bismarck.
Ohio.-W. W. Miller, secretary State Board of Agriculture, Columbus.
Oklahoma.-J. B. Thoburn, secretary State Board of Agriculture, Guthrie.
Oregon.-James Withycombe, director Agricultural Experiment Station, Corvallihs. :.
Pennsylvania.-A. L. Martin, deputy secretary of agriculture, Harrisburg .
Porto Rico.-No institutes.
Rhode Island.-William Williams, member State Board of Agriculture; Bristol. .
South Carolina.-J. S. Newman, superintendent of Farmers' Institutes, Clemson i
South Dakota.-S. A. Cochran, irrigation engineer, Brookings; James H. Shepard,
professor of chemistry, Agricultural College, Brookings.
Tennessee.-W. W. Ogilvie, commissioner of agriculture, Nashville. .
Texas.-J. H. Connell, editor, "Farm and Ranch," Dallas,
Utah.-John A. Widtsoe, director Agricultural Experiment Station, Logan.
Vermont.-George Aitken, secretary State Board of Agriculture, Woodstock.
Virginia.-G. W. Koiner, commissioner of agriculture, Richmond; A. M. Soule,-:
director Agricultural Experiment Station, Blacksburg.
Washington.-E. A. Bryan, president Washington Agricultural College, Pullman.,
West Virginia.-J. B. Garvin, director Farmers' Institutes, Charleston; A. D. Hop-
kins. Division of Entomology, Washington, D. C.
Wisconsin.-George McKerrow. superintendent Farmers' Institutes, Madison.
Wyoming.-B. C. Buffum, director Agricultural Experiment Station, Laramie.
GOVERNMENT AID TO INSTITUTES.
The United States Department of Agriculture has undertaken to assist the States in
their institute work. At the request of the Secretary of Agriculture, the Fifty-seventh- 3
Congress provided for the appointment of a Farmers' Institute Specialist in the Office ;
of Experiment Stations of the Department, and appropriated $5,000 for meeting the I:
necessary expenses of the new office. *.
The duties of this officer, as stated in the act making the appropriation, are "To :ii
investigate and report upon the organization and progress of farmers' institutes in the :
several States and Territories, and upon similar organizations in foreign countries, with:i--
splcial suggestions of plans and methods for making such organizations more.effective :i.'
for the dissemination of the results of the work of the Department of Agriculture and-.:i;;:!
the experiment. stations, and of improved methods of agricultural practice."
In anticipation of the action of Congress theUnited StatesCivil Service Commission,!.
July 23, 1902, issued a circular letter to the effect that an examination would be held : i
September 1, 1902, for the position of Farmers' Institute Specialist in the Office iiof
Experiment Stations of the Department of Agriculture, the examination to be open i
all citizens of the United States who comply with the requirements as set forth in thebi
forms of examination which the Commission prescribed.
From the eligible list thus secured the Secretary of Agriculture, Hon. James WilteolJN
under date of February 9, 1903, tendered the position to John Hamilton, of State O l
lege, Pa., then secretary of agriculture of the State of Pennsylvania. Mr. Hamilt iS
accepted the position and assumed the duties of the office April 1, 1903.
Since that date the office has collected and published the laws under which insil-
tutes are held in the several States and Territories; a list of names of lecturers in th&.
employ of the State directors with their post-office addresses; bulletin on Ari
tural Instruction for Adults in the British Empire; bulletin on Agricultural Instrur-
tion for Adults in Continental Couptries; Proceedings of the Ninth and Tenth Annual
Meetings of the American Association of Farmers' Institute Workers; annual reports
and statistics of the farmers' institute work .in the United States for the years 1903,
1904, and 1905. The Institute Specialist has had prepared syllabi of six illustrated
lectures--No. 1 on the Care of Milk; No. 2, Potato Diseases and their Treatment; No.
L: 3, Acid Soils; No. 4, Profitable Cattle Feeding; No. 5, Silage and Silo Construction,
and No. 6, Essentials of Field Experimentation. There has also been prepared and
published a course of study consisting of fourteen lectures on cheese-making adapted to
movable schools of agriculture, and arrangements have boen made for the preparation
of five other courses of similar character. There is also in course of preparation a set
of charts on the selection of cattle for feeding.
Arrangements have been made with the directors of the agricultural experiment sta-
tions for supplying station bulletins to the State institute lecturers and with the Divi-
sion of Publications of the Department of Agriculture for sending its publications to
institute workers upon application made to the Institute Specialist. A card list of the
names and addresses of over 4,000 institute workers has been formed in the institute
office, correspondence conducted with these persons, and literature and information
The Institute Specialist has during this period visited most of the States east of the
Rocky Mountains and has conferred with institute directors and lecturers and deliv-
ered lectures in all of the States visited.
The office of the specialist has been in addition to its investigation character a clear-
ing house for the farmers' institute workers of the country.
THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF FARMERS' INSTITUTE
The organization of the American Association of Farmers' Institute Workers took
place at Watertown, Wis., March 13, 1896. George McKerrow, of Madison, Wis., super-
intendent of farmers' institutes for that State, issued a call in the winter of 1896 for a
meeting of the farmers' institute workers of the United States and Canada to be held
at Watertown, Wis., March 13, 1896.
The attendance at this first meeting was quite small, only a few of the States being
represented, and those were for the most part'the nearby States. O. C. Gregg, farmers'
institute superintendent for Minnesota, was elected temporary chairman, and F. W.
Taylor, institute superintendent for Nebraska, was made temporary secretary.
Mr. McKerrow, in explaining the purpose of the meeting, stated that "there was felt.
to be a need for a meeting of the farmers' institute workers of the several States to
exchange views and compare experiences. No two States have the same plan under
which institute work is carried on, but all have some good points about which we all
ought to be informed. There seemed to be a feeling that we should come together
and acknowledge our mistakes and tell of our successes in order that others need not
experience the same failures."
After discussion it was agreed to form a permanent organization, and the temporary
officers, on motion of Kenyon L. Butterfield, of Michigan, were made permanent, and
a committee consisting of C. W. Garfield, of Michigan; George McKerrow, of Wiscon-
sin, and F. W. Taylor, of Nebraska, was appointed by the chair to prepare and report
a constitution. The committee before adjournment reported a draft of a proposed
constitution, which after discussion and amendment was adopted, the understanding
being that its final ratification would take place at the next meeting of the association.
The following resolution, introduced by Mr. Garfield and adopted by the asso-
ciation, is worthy of special notice because of its pronounced declaration upon the
."... ... .
question of the relation of the farmers' institute to the agricultural college and ti!::b
Resolved, As the sense of this association, that the farmers' institutes of each State:..::
and Province should be guided by some central authority which recognizes the agp:ri-.i.l
cultural college and experiment station as the leaders of our system of agricultural :
education, and the farmers' institute as a strong, active, and effective ally.
After a very: full and instructive discussion of the several subjects presented,:
adjournment was taken to meet in Chicago on October 14, 1896. There were present l
at this meeting at Watertown about thirty representative men from Wisconsin, and
also delegates from Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan, and Nebraska.
The adjourned meeting of the association was held in Chicago, according to appoint-
ment, October 14, 1896, and continued for two days. A program had been prepared
for this meeting, the several subjects to be opened with addresses or papers by the
following gentlemen: K. L. Butterfield, Michigan; W. C. Latta, Indiana; John Ham-
ilton, Pennsylvania; G. A. Smith, New York; B. W. McKeen, Maine; H. C. Gregg,
Minnesota; George McKerrow, Wisconsin; Mary A. Mayo, Michigan; Charles P. Fox,
Idaho; W. S. Devol, Arizona; E. J. Wickson, California; R. E. A. Leach, Canada;
W. W. Miller, Ohio; O. Clute, Florida, and others.
There were present at the first session ?9 persons. A committee on nominations
appointed by the chair recommended as officers for the ensuing year, for president,
George McKerrow, of Wisconsin; vice-president, K. L. Butterfield. of Michigan; Pec-
retary and treasurer, F. W. Taylor, of Nebraska. The recommendation of the com-
mittee was unanimously adopted.
The committee that had been appointed on constitution and by-laws reported, recom-
mending the form that had been agreed upon at the Watertown meeting. After the
reading of the report John Hamilton, of Pennsylvania, offered a substitute, which,
after discussion, was adopted. The substitute is as follows:
CoNSTITTIOTbN, AS ADOPTED.
ARTICLE I. Name.-This organization shall be known by the name of The American-
Association of Farmers' Institute Managers.
ARTICLE II. Officers.-The officers shall consist of a president, vice-president, and
secretary-treasurer, to be.elected by ballot.
ARTICLE III. Membership.-The membership shall consist of one representative for
each State or Province in the United States or Canada, who shall be in charge of the
State or provincial farmers' institute work as its general superintendent, director, or
manager. or his official representative.
ARTICLE IV. Dves.-In order to membership in this association each individual
entitled to membership and qualified as stated in Article III shall pay annually to the :
treasurer of the association the sum of $10.
ARTICLE V. Ttr;n of ofice.-The term of office of the officers of this association shall.
be for one year from the Ist day of January next following their election or until their--
successors are elected.
ARTICLE VI. The duties of oficers.-The duties of the officers of this association shall
be those usually performed by officials of like rank in similar associations.
ARTICLE VII. Associate members.-Associate members of this organization may be:!
elected from time to time upon the presentation of their names by some member of the
association and upon their receiving the votes of at least two-thirds of the members':
ARTICLE VIII. Dues of associate members.-The annual dues of an associate member':!
shall be $1.
ARTICLE IX. Power of associate members.-Associate members shall be entitled to sit ii
in all of the sessions of the association and to take part in all discussions, but shall havqe-i:i
ARTICLE X. B!I-luas.-This association shall have power to make by-laws from time, i
to time not inconsistent with this constitution. '
ARTICLE XI. Executive committee.-There shall be an executive committee consist-
S ing of the president and the secretary-treasurer of this association, ex officio, and three
other members to be elected annually by ballot, who shall meet at the call of the presi-
dent and have charge of such matters of business relating to the association as it shall
be necessary to attend to in the interval between the annual meetings. and it shall be
their duty to report such action as they may take to the next regular meeting of the
, ARTICLE XII. Change in constitution.-This constitution shall not be changed except
by a vote of two-thirds of the members at a regular annual meeting held one year from
the date on which the proposed alteration o0 amendment has been first presented.
1. ''he time of meeting of this organization shall be fixt by the association.
2. Order of business:
1. Calling the roll of membership.
2. Reading of minutes of previous meeting.
3. Admission of new members.
4. Reports of committees.
5. Election of officers.
S 6. Appointment of committees.
7. Unfinished business.
8. New business.
After the adoption of the constitution and under its provision the three additional
S members of the executive committee were elected, as follows: John Hamilton, of
Pennhylvania; W. W. Miller, of Ohio. and W. C. Latta, of Indiana. Before adjourn-
ment the place of the next meeting was fixt for Columbus, Ohio, and the time Octo-
ber, 1897, the exact date to be set by the executive committee.
The following list includes the names of those present at both the Watertown and
Chicago meetings, as presented in the consolidated report of the proceedings of these
meetings published by the secretary: a
Members.-J. F. Culver, Montgomery, Ala.; O. Clute, Lake City, Fla.; W. C.
Latta, Lafayette, Ind.; B. Walker McKeen, Augusta, Me.; R. E. A. Leach, Brandon,
Manitoba; W. L. Amoss, College Park, Md.; K. L. Butterfield, Agricultural College,
Mich.; F. W.'Taylor, Lincoln, Nebr.; F. E. Dawley, Albany, N. Y.; W. W. Miller,
Columbus, Ohio; F. W. Hodson, Guelph, Ontario; John Hamilton, Harrisburg, Pa.;
George McKerrow, Madison, Wis.
Associate members.-M. T. Allen, Waupaca, Wis.; S. C. Bassett, Gibbon, Nebr.;
W. C. Bradley, Hudson, Wis.; I. H. Butterfield, Agricultural College, Mich.; W. L.
Carlyle, 86 Lyndale avenue, Minneapolis. Minn.; A. F. Coddington, Syracuse, Nebr.;
John W. Decker, Madison, Wis.; A. Allen Francis, New Lenox, Ill.; R. W. Furnas,
Brownville, Nebr.; E. L. Furness, Furnessville, Ohio; C. W. Garfield, Grand Rapids,
Mich.; Milton George, editor Farmers' Union, Chicago, Ill.; S. G. Gist, Wellsburg,
W. Va.; A. P. Grout, Winchester, Ill.; W. R. Hostetter, Mount Carroll, Ill.; W. B.
Lloyd, agricultural editor Farm, Field, and Fireside, Chicago, Ill.; Ed. McIntyre,
Seward, Nebr.; G. A. Marshall, Arlington, Nebr.; J. H. Monrad, Winnetka, Ill.; C. J.
Monroe, South Haven, Mich.; F. S. Phoenix, Bloomington, Ill.; W. A. Poynter,
Albion, Nebr.; C. A. Shamel, managing editor Orange Judd Farmer, Chicago, Ill.;
John L. Shawver, Bellefontaine, Ohio; John T. Stimson., Fayetteville, Ark.; B. R.
Stouffer, Bellevue, Nebr.; H. F. Thurston, editor Farmers' Review, Chicago, Ill.;
-0. J. Vine, Canton, Ill.; W. G. Vincenheller, Little Rock, Ark.; C. J. Warner, Wa-
verly, Nebr.; L. L. Young, Oakland, Nebr.
'The.second annual convention of the association was held in Columbus, Ohio, Octo-
ber 27 and 28, 1897. A formal program had been prepared, and speakers had been
engaged to discuss the subjects assigned. Reports from the delegates representing the
several States were presented and discust. The officers elected were: President,
John Hamilton, of Pennsylvania; vice-president, W. C. Latta, of Indiana; secretary-
treasurer, F. W. Taylor, of Nebraska. The three elective members of the executive
a Report of the meetings of The American Association of Farmers' Institute Man-
agers, by F. W. Taylor, Lincoln, Nebr., 1897.
S~J'S'.zLb. tbat. .12!
Fi"_ ":..... ""l l "7 "......"
committee chosen were W. W. Miller, Ohio; K. L. Butterfield, Michigan, and 0. 0.; ..'.
,Gregg, Minnesota. .::i:"
Fourteen States and two of the Provinces of Canada were represented at this meeting i t;i:
by their State or provincial institute directors.
It was at this meeting that action was first taken looking toward cooperation between: :
the institutes and the National Department of Agriculture at Washington. The sub- ~t
ject was introduced by the following question presented for discussion by the com-. :
nittee in charge of the question box: "What support should farmers' institutes have-,:: I:;
from the United States Department of Agriculture, and how shall such cooperation be..: i
After very full discussion the following motion, offered by F. W. Taylor, of Nebraska, i
and seconded by W. L. Amoss, of Maryland, was adopted:
Moved that the association at this time appoint a committee of three, consisting of .i
the president-elect (John Hamilton) and two others to be appointed by the president- ,'
elect, the business of which committee shall be between the present time and the
date of our next annual meeting to gather such facts as are obtainable and get in touch
with the Department of Agriculture at Washington, and inquire thoroly into the
question of the feasibility and advisability of a relation and union, such as has been
outlined either directly or indirectly with the Agricultural Department of the United
States, and submit their report at the next meeting.
The committee above referred to was duly appointed, and consisted of the president,
John Hamilton, W. C. Latta, and F. W. Taylor.
TJhe association adjourned to meet at Omaha, Nebr., in 1898, the precise date to be.
fixt by the executive committee. A report of the proceedings was prepared and
published by the secretary.
The third annual meeting of the association was held October 4 and 5, 1898, at -
Omaha, Nebr. The attendance was quite small, believed to have been occasioned
by the fact that the association as then organized, being substantially a close cor-
poration, was too limited in its membership to be of general interest. In the absence '.
of the president and the vice-president, Franklin Dye, of New Jersey, was elected
to preside. The following officers were elected for the ensuing year: President,
Franklin Dye. of New Jersey; vice-president, F. E. Dawley, of New York; and secret -
tary and treasurer, George McKerrow, of Wisconsin.
The committee that had been appointed at the Columbus meeting to consider the
question of the cooperation of the United States Department of Agriculture with the .::
farmers' institutes forwarded their report to the secretary of the association. The i:i
chairman of the committee and Mr. Latta were unable to be present at the meeting.
As a consequence the resolutions do not seem to have been presented, or if they were .
no action is recorded respecting them. The report, however, had been carefully con-
sidered by the committee and would have been urged upon the attention of the asso-
ciation if a majority of the members had been present. The report is as follows:
The committee appointed at the annual meeting of the American Association of
Farmers' Institute Managers, held at Columbus, Ohio, October 27 and 28, 1897, to
report upon "The feasibility and desirability of a more intimate relation and union :i
between this association and the Department of Agriculture of the United States" '::
respectfully report that after having conferred with the Hon. James Wilson, Secretary
of the Department of Agriculture of the United States, they have agreed upon the .
(1) That the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture at Washington be requested
to arrange for a division in connection with that Department, to be known as the
"Division of Farmers' Institutes," and to appoint a suitable officer who shall be in '
(2) That the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture be requested to arrange :
for the sending out of suitable scientific lecturers to the several States to assist the
State managers in the farmers" institute work.
L. .... ..........:.
S (3) That the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, thru the olliicer of the
Division of Farmers' Institutes, be requested to annually colllect. o:llple, and publish
: statistics of the institute work conducted by the several States, and distribute such
documents in the same manner as like publications are now distributed by that
(4) That a bill be prepared to be presented to the Congress of the United States
Providing for an appropriation to the several States for farmers' institute purposes,
Sto be apportioned pro rata, according to the number of farms (farmers) in each State.
i (5) That this bill shall provide that the moneys so appropriated shall be used
S exclusively in the payment of the salaries and expenses of competent instructors, and
that each State receiving the benefits of this act shall appropriate out of the State
treasury for institute purposes at least as much as is received from the National Gov-
(6) That each State before receiving the benefits of this act shall appoint a State
; director of institutes, who shall have charge of the expenditure of these funds. and who
shall report annually on the 30th day of June to the auditor-general of his State, and
also to the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture at Washington, giving an
itemized account of the expenditures for institute purposes for the preceding year,
H according to a form to be provided by the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture
W. ('. LATTA,
F. W. TAYLOR,
Cont ? il're.
The committee had agreed upon all of the items contained in the report except the
portion embraced by section 6, which one of the members felt should be modified so
as to permit the States to place the supervision with the agricultural college and
experiment station if desired.
The association adjourned to meet in the State of New York. No formal report of
.the Omaha meeting seems ever to have been published.
The fourth annual meeting of the association was held at Rochester, N. Y., March. 29
and 30, 1899, and was well attended.
At this meeting the name of the association was changed from the American Associa-
tion of Farmers' Institute Managers to that of the American Association of Farmers'
Institute Workers. The officers elected for the ensuing year were: President, F. E.
Dawley, Fayetteville, N. Y.; vice-president, Kenyon L. Butterfield, Agricultural
College, Mich.; secretary-treasurer, F. W. Taylor, Lincoln, Nebr.; executive commit-
tee, F. W. Hodson, Guelph, Ontario, W. C. Latta, Lafayette, Ind., and H. W. Colling-
wood, New York. The proceedings of the meeting were published in the Transactions
of the New York Agricultural Society and Bureau of Farmers' Institutes for 1898.
The fifth annual meeting of the association was held at Delevan, Wis., during the
evening of March 15, 1900. In the absence of the president, F. E. Dawley, of New
York, the chair was occupied by Clinton D. Smith, of Michigan.
The nominating committee presented the names of the following gentlemen for offi-
cers for the ensuing year: President, C. D. Smith, Lansing, Mich.; vice-president,
G. A. Willmarth, Seneca, Ill., and secretary-treasurer, G. C. Creelman, Toronto,
Canada. For the executive committee: W. C. Latta, Lafayette, Ind.; S. A. Cochrane.
Brookings, S. Dak., and W. L. Amoss, College Park, Md. The fixing of the time and
place for the next meeting was left to the executive committee. A brief account giv-
ing the minutes of this meeting was published in the annual publication of the Wis-
consin Farmers' Institute for the year 1900,
The sixth annual meeting was held in Buffalo, N. Y., September 18 anid 1
The officers elected at this meeting were: President, W. L. Amoss, College .PmikjAii
vice-president, W. L. Hutchinson, Agricultural College, Miss., and secretaty-,iii
G. C. Creelman, Guelph, Ontario.
Up to this time the proceedings of the annual meetings were published eithe ii
association itself or by the superintendent of institutes of the State in which thiela.i.
meeting was held. The meeting at Buffalo, however, marked an important c
this respect. The records of this meeting were reported, edited, and pubishedY~:J .
Office of Experiment Stations of the United States Department'of Agriculture, ;fi a .
junction with the secretary of the association, and were printed by thDepDartai
The proceedings of all subsequent annual meetings have been similarly reported a"
At this meeting also A. C. True, of the Office of Experiment Stations of the Nmio:
Department of Agriculture, made an address that marks the beginning of the ool%:.s
tion between that Department and the institutes so much desired by the institute
workers. In the course of his remarks he stated that "it is the intention of Secretary
Wilson in his forthcoming report to urge that an appropriation be made at the next
session of Congress for work in connection with the farmers' institutes."'
This meeting, although held during the period of the Exposition when President
McKinley's body was awaiting burial, was well attended and the interest was main-
tained until the close.
The seventh annual meeting was held in Washington, D. C., June 24-26, 1902.
Inasmuch as the proceedings of this meeting of the association and those subsequently
held are printed by the Department of Agriculture and are accessible upon application
to that Department, it is unnecessary to do more than to mention the list of officers and
the places and dates of the meeting.
The officers elected at Washington were: President, W. C. Latta, cf Indiana; vice-
president, J. G. Lee, of Louisiana, and secretary-treasurer, G. C. Creelman, Ontario;
The eighth annual meeting was held in the Parliament Buildings, Toronto, Canada,
June 23-26, 1903.
The officers elected were: President, B. W. Kilgore, Raleigh, N. C.;-vice-president,
E. E. Kaufman, Fargo, N. Dak.; and secretary-treasurer, G. C. Creelman, Toronte,
The attendance at this meeting was quite remarkable and the interest greater,
perhaps, than at any previous meeting in the history of the organization.
ST. LOUIS MEETING.
The ninth annual meeting was held in the Agricultural Building, World's Fair
Grounds, St. Louis, Mo., October 18-20, 1904.
The officers elected were: President, J. C. Hardy, Agricultural College, Miss.; vice-
president, E. A. Burnett, Lincoln, Nebr.; and secretary-treasurer, G. C. Creelman,
Guelph, Canada; executive committee, J. G. Lee, Baton Rouge, La.; F. H. Hall,
Aurora, Ill., and L. A. Clinton, Storrs, Conn.
i *: *: :H ii
".. ." :,
"; i x t
'" .. '** ::;' i j
a U. S. Dept. Agr., Office of Experiment Stations Bul. 110.
b U. S. Dept. Agr., Office of Experiment Stations Buls. 130, 138, 154, and 165.
Full information respecting the proceedings can be had from the account published
by the Department of Agriculture. This meeting had an attendance of about one
hundred and is remarkable for the interest displayed and the faithfulness with which
S the delegates attended the several sessions.
S From the time that the original constitution was adopted in 1896 there have been
numerous amendments added, resulting in practically a new constitution. The
-changes have affected the membership of the organization by liberalizing the require-
S ments so as to include all farmers' institute workers, whether directly connected with
the State management or not.
The amended constitution is as follows:
CONSTITUTION OF THE ASSOCIATION.
I This organization shall be known by the name of The American Association of
Farmers' Institute Workers.
The officers shall consist of a president, vice-president, and secretary-treasurer, to be
elected by ballot.
Any active worker in the farmers' institutes in the United States and Canada may
become a regular member of this association on payment of the annual dues, and is
entitled to one vote. A delegate member representing the State farmers' institute
organization shall be admitted from each State and Province, on compliance with the
by-laws, and shall be entitled to cast five votes on any question: Provided, That the
annual membership dues of the person shall be $1 and that of the State $5. Also the
United States Department of Agriculture and the Office of Experiment Stations of that
Department shall each be entitled to representation in the association, with the full
privileges of delegate membership.
The annual dues of delegate members shall be $5 for six representatives of each
State. The annual dues of members not delegates shall be $1.
TERM OF OFFICE.
The term of office of the officers of this association shall be for one year from the 1st
day of January next following their election, or until their successors are elected.
DUTIES OF OFFICERS.
The duties of the officers of this association shall be those usually performed by
officials of like rank in similar associations.
Honorary members of this organization may be elected from time to time upon the
presentation of their names by some member of the association and upon their receiv-
ing the votes of at least two-thirds of the rmmbers present.
11797-No. 174-06- 2
...... u L ":.':." ",:. "", .. :,
POWER OF HONORARY MEMBERS.
Honorary members shall be entitled to sit in all of the sessions of the association Mad .
to take part in all discussions, but shall have no vote.
This association shall have power to make by-laws from time to time not incon-
sistent with this constitution.
There shall be an executive committee consisting of the president and the secretary-
treasurer of this association, ex officio, and three other members, to be elected annually
by ballot, who shall meet at the call of the president and have charge of such matters
of business relating to the association as shall be necessary to attend to in the interval
between,the annual meetings, and it shall be their duty to report such action as they
may take to the next regular meeting of the association.
CHANGE IN CONSTITUTION.
This constitution shall not be changed except by a vote of two-thirds of the mem-
bers at a regular annual meeting held one year from the date on which the proposed
alteration or amendment has been first presented.
(1) The time of meeting of this organization shall be fixt by the association.
(2) Order of business:
1. Calling the roll of membership.
2. Reading of minutes of previous meeting.
3. Admission of new members.
4. Reports of committees.
5. Election of officers.
6. Appointment of committees.
7. Unfinished business.
8. New business.
INSTITUTES IN THE SEVERAL STATES AND TERRITORIES.
The farmers' institute movement in Alabama began in the latter part of the decade
1880-1889. Each year during that period a few farmers' meetings were held by the
staff of the agricultural college experiment station. in cooperation with the State
commissioner of agriculture.
Most of these meetings were in connection with those held at that time by the
Farmers' Alliance. This association soon became involved in political difficulties
that affected its influence, in consequence of which all meetings called for farmers for
several years thereafter were looked upon as being prospective political schemes-and
were accordingly avoided by the country people.
In the year 1892, C. A. Cary, of the Alabama Polytechnic Institute, began holding
a series of meetings in the various counties under the general direction of that insti-
tution. The meetings during the first year had a very small attendance, but when a
second was held in the same locality a larger and more interested audience was always -
---- .- .... .. .... ... .:... ....:., ....
present. Gradually the confidence of the farming people was regained, and the insti-
tutes are highly regarded by the farmers as substantial aids in the improvement of
their agriculture. During the period just referred to the lecturers at the institutes
dealt almost wholly with the lfve-stock industry-the diseases of live stock, the caring
and feeding of domestic animals, etc.
After about five years of work of this character by Dr. C'ary, assisted from time
to time by the members of the staff of the agricultural experiment station, the late
William Leroy Brown succeeded in inducing the board of trustees of the Alabama
*Polytechnic Institute to appropriate the sum of $400 annually for farmers' institute
purposes. This amount was continued each year until three years ago, when it was
increased to.$600 per year, and in 1904 was still further increased to $800.
The condition and progress of the institute work is exhibited in the following state-
ment covering the past six years, showing the number of institutes held, the counties
visited, and the attendance:
County institute meetings in Alabama.
Year ended- Institutes Counties Atten
held. visited. Total. Average
July 1,1899........ 21 21 1,572 78
July 1,1900........ 14 13 701 50
July 1,1901........ 18 17 1,112 62
July 1,1902....... 8 8 518 65
July 1,1903._..'... 22 21 2,630 119
July 1,1904....... 24 23 3,639 152
Total...... 107 103 10,172 95
There is no State law regulating or controlling the work. What is being done is
wholly under the direction of the board of trustees of the Alabama Polytechnic Insti-
tute and of the agricultural experiment station. This body, as has been intimated,
appropriates all of the money that is used for conducting the institute work and auth-
orizes the members of the faculty of the Polytechnic Institute and the staff of the
experiment station to render such assistance in lecturing before these meetings as they
may be able, not to interfere with their regular work in the institutions to which they
The director of institutes is appointed by the board for a period of one year to act
as their representative.
There are no permanent local institute organizations in the State. The arranging
of the dates, selecting places, and the preparing of the programs are all in the hands
of the State director.
Farmers' institutes have not been organized in Alaska, but the special agent in charge
of the experiment station at Sitka, as he visits the various districts, takes advantage of
the opportunity to give advice as to more advanced methods that might be employed in
improving the agriculture of the several localities.
The farmers' institute movement in Arizona originated in 1895. On October 18 a
convention of farmers, fruit growers, and stockmen assembled in Phoenix in response
to a call issued by the agricultural experiment station and the Phoenix Chamber of
Commerce. The meetings continued for two days. William Stowe Devol, director of
the experiment station, was elected chairman, and Bruce Perley, of the Phoenix Chamber
of Commerce, secretary. The program consisted of papers and addresses upon subjects
of importance to those in whose interest the convention was called. Among the topi s
discust at this meeting were economical distribution of water, farming in Arizona,
cattle feeding, alkali, citrus fruits in the Salt River Valley, etc.
A similar meeting was held October 21 and 22, 1898, in Phoenix, and in 1899 eight
farmers' institute meetings were held-two at Mesa City and one at each of the following
places: Tempe, Buckeye, Glendale, Safford, Thatcher. and Pima. These institutes
were organized and conducted by the staff of the agricultural experiment station, who .
lectured at the meetings and bore so much of the expenses as was connected with the
payment of the lecturers and their transportation to and from the several points.
Institute meetings were held each year thereafter, being conducted under the diree-
tion of the University of Arizona. Until 1903 the entire expense attendant upon this
work was borne by the university and the agricultural experiment station. In 1903 the
legislative assembly passed an act providing for the establishment of "farmers' insti-
tutes, and short courses of instruction thruout the Territory and appropriated the sumr
of $2,700 for the purpose of meeting the expenses. The law places the control of the insti-
tutes in the hands of the board of regents of the university.
The institute work for the year 1904 consisted of three weeks of lectures at Thatcher
Academy, Thatcher, Ariz., on subjects relating to soils, irrigation, alkali, pruning of
fruit trees, plant lice, plant diseases, dairying, and feeding. There was an average
attendance of about forty persons at each meeting and the lectures were by two members
of the experiment station staff, who averaged two hours a day for fourteen days. The
direction of the institute work has been placed, by the regents of the. university, in the
hands of the director of the agricultural experiment station.
Farmers' institutes have not been organized in Arkansas.
From the establishment of the university in 1868 the members of the teaching staffof
the college of agriculture participated in the proceedings of societies and conventions
devoted to agricultural progress and the dissemination of agricultural information.
Such association with practical agriculturists secured important results. It brought the
institution and its purposes directly to the attention of those whom it aims to benefit and
won their interest and support; it assisted the members of the college staff by increasing
their knowledge of agricultural conditions and needs; it also, to some extent at least,
gave the staff opportunity to observe the natural resources and characteristics of the
State. Since, therefore, all possible participation in agricultural assemblies had been
gladly undertaken, an opportunity for freer intercourse with the people in their local
meetings was welcomed. This opportunity arose with the request from the California
State Grange, addrest to the regents of the university, that farmers' institutes be
undertaken imder the auspices of the University of California, and the regents deemed
it fitting to undertake an extension of the instructional work of the college of agricul-
ture through the farmers' institute method. This action was taken by the regents in
March, 1891; the beginning of institute work under that name in California was in April,
of that year, and E. J. Wickson of the university was placed in charge of the work in
addition to his duties as instructor in agricultural practice.
It was decided by the regents of the university at the inception of the work that the
institute effort should be directed to those parts of the State where greatest interest was
manifested and widest cooperation possible. During 1894 and 1895 these points were
clearly in southern California, and, to specially minister to and to promote this interest,
A. J. Cook, of Pomona College, Claremont, Los Angeles County, was designated by the
regents as university representative in farmers' institute work in southern California.
Daring 1896-97 farmers' institute work was prosecuted with more vigor and to a
greater extent than previously, and the responsive welcome from the people in all parts
C --- ~
of the State was proportionally wide and warm. This result was directly due to an ini-
tiative on the part of the regents of the university. At the meeting on June 9, 1896, a
special committee of ways and means, composed of Regents Rein-tein, Black, and
Rodgers, submitted a report embodying, among other important propositions, a plan for
promoting the agricultural interests of the State, which was adopted by the board. The
following reference to the institutes was made:
The board of regents of the University of California has arranged to hold thruout this
State fifty meetings of those engaged in occupations dependent on the soil, at which
meetings the representatives of the University of California will seek to bring about such
a relation between that university and the agricultural interests of the State as shall
minister to the welfare of all concerned.
These meetings are expected to strengthen the farmers' institutes already organized
and to further the creation of new farmers' institutes and local farmers' clubs, the
eminent utility of which is universally admitted.
A prominent purpose of these meetings is to obtain the opinion of those interested in
agriculture thruout the entire State as to the best means of spreading and practically
applying the scientific teaching and knowledge of the University of California on agricul-
ture and other industrial subjects. With the aid of such opinions it is expected to plan.
as soon as possible, the system best calculated to accomplish that result and thereby
increase the value and variety of the products of the soil of this State.
The superintendent was instructed to carry out this plan for the extension of farmers'
institute work. Edward F. Adams, of Wright's, was appointed organizer for the portion
of the State north of the Tehachapi Mountains; and A. J. Cook, of Claremont, was con-
tinued as organizer in his district. The result was a notable increase in the number of
institutes and in the interest awakened thruout the State. After a year of very effective
service Mr. Adams retired, as his time was fully required by other purFuits.
The success of the first year's work under this broader plan induced the regents to
make provision for wider and more systematic work during the fiscal year 1897-98.
On July 13, 1897, a new university department was created under title "The Depart-
ment of University Extension in Agriculture," of which Professor Wickson was desig-
nated "superintendent," and two assistants were provided, to be known as "con-
ductors of farmers' institutes." D. T. Fowler was chosen for the region north of
Tehachapi and A. J. Cook continued for the region south of Tehachapi.
In March, 1903, the institute work, which had been carried on since 1891 by the
University of California by appropriation from its general funds, was taken up by the
State and direct appropriation made for its maintenance by the enactment of a law
appropriating $6,000 per year for two years.
In that same year Mr. W. T. Clarke, who had served as field entomologist of the
experiment station, was chosen assistant superintendent of university extension in
agriculture, to assist in the farmers' institutes and to have special charge of reading
'and correspondence courses which were formally established.
This work was begun in June, 1904, and during the first year 1.75 students were
registered in the course. These students were scattered thru 29 of the 57 counties of the
State. Eighty per cent of the students (140) were directly engaged in farming, while
the other 20 per cent were fond in other pursuits. The work done by these students
showed an intelligent and healthy interest.
From many points of view institute work in California has been pronounced very
effective and satisfactory, and a growing demand has been manifested for it. The
most tangible measure of this is shown in the average number of institutes from year
to year, as follows: 1891 to 1895, 12; 1896, 52; 1897, 78; 1898, 86; 1899, 80; 1900, 81;
S1901, 82; 1902, 71; 1903, 74; and 1904, 113.
Attendance has also increased, the annual average from 1898 to 1903 being esti-
mated at 23,000, and the record of attendance, according to the method suggested by
the American Association of Farmers' Institute Workers, yielding a total for 1904 of
The secretary of the State board of agriculture of Colorado, under date of March 1, I
1905, states that "it is impossible to furnish any kind of a history of the farmeXr~
institute movement in this State."
The data, therefore, given in the following account of the institute work in Colorado,
are taken from a paper by A. C. True and F. H. Hall, printed in 1896,a and from.a
history of farmers' institutes prepared by L. H. Bailey, published in February, 1900.6
In the paper by True and Hall this item appears: "In 1879 Colorado joined in the
movement (institute) with a meeting held at Fort Collins, November 26, in the man-
agement of which the local organization and the State board of agriculture cooperated."
Professor Bailey, writing in February, 1900, states that-
No direct appropriations were made by the general assembly during this year (1891)
for the purpose of supporting and conducting farmers' institutes. The State board
of agriculture set aside a certain sum to be used for the purpose of defraying the ex-
penses of professors attending such institutes held in different parts of the State.
Since the year 1888 a record had been kept of the amount expended for this purpose,
which is as follows: For the year 1888. $99.55; for the year 1889, $56.60; for the year :
1890, $121.80; for the year 1891, $90; for the year 1892, the sum of $500 had been
appropriated for said purposes.
The farmers' institutes in Colorado are held under the auspices of the State agricul-
tural college. There is no definite number held each year; they have varied from
about six to twenty. The meetings are not regularly distributed over the State.
They are held entirely in the irrigated districts, and at least one-third of them are held
in connection with meetings of local Pomona granges. There are also several local
organizations which apply to the college for speakers to hold and conduct the meet-
ings. There is no definite sum available for the institutes; each locality is expected
to pay the expenses of the room in which the meeting is held, of printing programs,
and other local expenses. The railroads furnish free transportation and the college
pays the rest of the traveling expenses; also the hotel expenses, if there are any, altho
the local people are very likely to take care of the speakers while they are in town.
On the average there has been less than $150 a year spent by the college on these
institutes. There is no State department of agriculture. There is a co-called State
board of agriculture, but this is merely the legal title for the trustees of the State
From the report of the institute director for the year ended June 30, 1904; the fol-
lowing statistics are taken:
The funds with which to carry on the work are contributed by the State agricul-
tural college. The total expenses last year (1903-4) were $517. Fifteen institutes
were held, made up of 36 sessions, and the total attendance was 1,660. The lecture
force was provided from the faculty of the agricultural college and experiment station
staff. Twelve persons were sent out on this service, contributing in the aggregate
forty-eight days of time.
The legislature at its session of 1905 appropriated the sum of $4,000 annually for
the purpose of organizing and conducting farmers' institutes each year in each agri-
cultural county of the State and made it the duty of the State board of agriculture,
thru its officers and those of the State agricultural college, to organize and conduct
these institutes. c
The late Doctor Bushnell, of Hartford, in an address before the Hartford County
Agricultural Society about fifty years ago, speaking of the deserted and feeble churches
in the country districts said: "It would seem to me that as a remedy, rather than
sitting in conferences to discuss the question, we should form farmers' clubs to revive
the agricultural life in these communities."
a Experiment Station Record, vol. 7 (1896), p. 638.
b U. S. Dept. Agr., Office of Experiment Stations Bul. 79, p. 10.
c U. S. Dept. Agr., Office of Experiment Stations Bul. 135 (Revised), p. 10.
County and local agricultural societies were formed in Connecticut early in the last
century. The desire for additional knowledge which these encouraged led to the estab-
lishment of the State agricultural society in 1852 and to the organization of the State
board of agriculture in 18M6. The first secretary of the old State agricultural society,
Henry A. Dyer, who was secretary until his death in 1859, and later T. S. Gold, who
was associated with Mr. Dyer, afterwards was secretary for thirty-nine years, did much
to encourage a desire for more knowledge in agriculture, and laid the foundation of the
modern farmers' institute system as it is in operation in Connecticut to-day.
The State board, among its other duties, held each year a three-day meeting for
lectures and discussions and numerous one-day meetings whenever and wherever
circumstances demanded it.
The three-day meetings usually had one central topic about which minor ones clus-
tered, but of kindred character, such as dairying, fruit culture, good roads, etc. A
gentleman who was somewhat skeptical as to the value of the three-day meetings, after
visiting a meeting of this character, exprest himself as satisfied, since what he had
seen had convinced him "that it took about three days for the farmers to get red-hot in
discussing any question."
The single-day meetings were held to carry a subject to the rural districts for the
information of all classes, some of whom might not come to the large meeting, and yet
would be glad of the opportunity to spend a day or an evening at a meeting near their
homes, particularly when some new or striking improvement in agriculture was before
the people for discussion.
The history of the farmers' institutenmovement in Connecticut would be incomplete
if a notable meeting held at New Haven in 1869, under the auspices of Yale Univer-
sity, were omitted. This meeting marked an era in agricultural education. Dr. John
A. Porter, professor of organic chemistry in the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale,
with other members of the faculty, planned for a four-weeks' convention at New Haven
for lectures and discussions on matters pertaining to agriculture. This was under the
patronage of the Sheffield Scientific School, then in its infancy.
Three sessions were held daily for four weeks, beginning February 1, and three to
five lectures were delivered each day. The subjects were classified under four heads,
and a week was given to the consideration of each. The first week was given to agri-
cultural chemistry, the second to pomology, the third to agriculture proper, and the
fourth to domestic animals. There were 26 speakers on the program, most of whom
gave two or more lectures. The lecturers were drawn from Yale University and
from all over the Union-practical and scientific men. Among the young men were
Professors S. W. Johnson, W. H. Brewer, Benjamin Silliman, jr., and T. S. Gold.
The great strength of the meeting was in the presence of a number of successful, prac-
tical men of national reputation, such as Marshall P. Wilder, of Boston; John Stanton
Gould, of Hudson, N. Y.; Cassius M. Clay, of Kentucky, and others of equal celebrity
The New York Tribune sent its representative, Mr. Henry S. Olcott, and published
a daily report. The notes were collected and printed in a small volume entitled
"Outlines of the First Course of Yale Agricultural Lectures." In this report occurs
this comment on the lecture on Sheep Husbandry.
A certain shepherd lecturer at a farm school in Saxony illustrates his lectures on
breeding by presenting before his class sheep of various breeds and diverse qualities.
So far as my information extends it has never been attempted in this country before
to-day, when T. S. Gold placed on the stage a Cotswold, a Merino, and a Southdown.
* It is a new and a most capital idea, and hereafter he who will lecture on
sheep without the living illustrations ready for reference will be behind the age.
The success of this course both in speakers and attendance was such as to warrant
permanence in an annual form, but the breaking out of the civil war and the early
death of Professor Porter prevented even a single repetition.
**i~Fiii..i i~iiEE:I:i ..:: ;.. ...... ...."" ......................
As before stated, the State board of agriculture holds many single-day institutes,
and various associations or societies supplement this service by institutes or field-
day meetings, as the Dairy Association, the Pomological Society, the Forestry Amso-
ciation, the Grange, and other associations each in their own interest, working jointly
or separately, but in harmony for the general good.
The methods used by these different organizations in carrying on their work of die-
seminating information are entirely in their own discretion. Each has an institute
committee appointed to have charge of the institute work. The board of agriculture
requires that localities applying for institutes shall furnish a suitable hall, provide
local transportation for speakers and visitors, music, if desired, and entertain by
collation or otherwise unless there are convenient hotel accommodations. The board
pays for printing, traveling expenses, and services of speakers.
The colleges and experiment stations furnish speakers, men who join science and
practise to meet men whose practise tests the theories of science.
There are no specific local organizations for conducting institutes, but the superin-
tendents depend upon the local granges and farm clubs for cooperation. There is
no special law making appropriation to farmers' institutes, the expenses being met out
of the general appropriation made to the State board, the Dairy Association, and the
The first farmers' institute in Delaware was organized as the "Farmers' Institute of
New Castle County" at a meeting held at Delaware College, Newark, on February 21,
1889. Officers were elected, including a president, vice-president, secretary, treas-
urer, and an executive committee. A constitution and set of by-laws were adopted.
Twenty members joined, paying the fee of $1, which was fixed as the cost of annual
membership. On March 11, the same year, a second meeting was held at the same place,
when several addresses were made on practical farm topics, and some phases of the
State and county government were discust. This meeting was largely attended,
farmers being present from all parts of the county.
At the time this organization was formed a farmers' institute bill was pending in the
Delaware legislature, then in session, and was passed without opposition on March 29,
1889. The act provided for the holding annually of at least one farmers' institute in
each county for the discussion "orally or by.written essays or papers of agricultural
and kindred matters and for the dissemination of agricultural knowledge among the
farmers of this State." Each county institute organization consists of a president,
vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and an executive committee of not less than five
nor more than nine members. The act appropriated $600 annually for bearing the
expenses of the institutes, which is apportioned $200 to each county.
Under this act institutes were organized in Kent and Sussex counties on May 18,
1889, but for some reason no meeting was called in New Castle County until January
18, 1890, when a meeting was held. The organization formed the previous March was
disbanded and a new organization was formed according to the act of the legislature.
The institute of each county was absolutely independent of those in the other counties.
All three organizations at once became very active and useful. At first the meetings
usually consisted of a single session, or rarely of two sessions. The subjects discuss
were topics relating to practical farming and to the management of county and State
affairs, good roads, methods of taxation, honesty on the part of county and State offi-
cials, civic betterment, and educational problems. Many of these addresses were pub-
lished in pamphlet form and distributed to the farmers of the State. For several years
after the institutes were organized the speakers were nearly all practical farmers and
leading citizens of the county in which the institute was held, in addition to the offi-
cers, workers, and teachers in the agricultural college and experiment station, who
were called upon freely and rendered very efficient and acceptable service. From
time to time, also, specialists from other States were secured.
These. single-session institutes were continued as the general practise in all three
counties until the winter of 1894-95, when a number of all-day meetings were held in
Kent Cdunty and were addrest by-prominent institute workers from outside the
State, as well as by local speakers. These meetings were so successful that one-day
meetings were continued, as a rule, in Kent County until the winter of 1899-1900,
when Kent and Sussex counties joined in holding a series of meetings of two days each.
These meetings were well advertised, interesting programs were arranged, and were
even more successful than the one-day institutes, and therefore two-day institutes
have been the rule since that time.
'A feature of the work which proved of great interest and value consisted of school-
house meetings. In the winter of 1895-96 Sussex County was almost entirely covered
by'such meetings, held on successive nights in adjoining districts. Each meeting
helped to advertise those following, and, as a rule, every farmer in the school district
attended and often followed it up by going to his neighboring school district the follow-
ing night. The next winter Kent County was covered in a similar manner, and some
of these schoolhouse meetings have been held in all three counties since.
The effect of the farmers' institute movement in the State has been marked. The
farmers have been stimulated to adopt better methods in the practical operations of
the farm and to make their homes more comfortable and happy. Public sentiment
has been aroused upon a number of important questions, and beneficial legislation has
In the winter of 1903 the legislature authorized the State board of agriculture to
appoint a State director of farmers' institutes to cooperate with the several county
organizations to assist in securing speakers and arranging and advertising the meetings,
thus furnishing a means of placing the system under one head and in this way simpli-
fying and enlarging the work. The director is paid out of the funds of the State board
of agriculture, which is equivalent to making a small appropriation to the institutes.
In September, 1898, a resolution was passed by the board of trustees of the State
agricultural college to the effect that "A farmers' institute under the direction of the
agricultural department of the college be held in each county of the State, provided
the railroads furnish transportation for the speakers and the local committee furnish
Prior to this date farmers' meetings were held in various parts of Florida by those
interested in better agriculture, but nothing definite had been done looking toward
any permanent organization of the work.
Under the resolution of the board just referred to, a number of successful meetings
were held in different parts of the State, speakers being furnished by the Florida
Agricultural College and by the agricultural experiment station.
In May, 1901, the legislature, recognizing the importance of the work, granted an
appropriation of $5,000 for two years for farmers' institutes. During 1903-4 the
expenses were met from an appropriation made by the State to the board of trustees
of the Florida Agricultural College in the following terms: For holding farmers' insti-
The superintendent of institutes is appointed by the board of trustees of the college
and given authority to make all necessary arrangements for holding institute meetings.
In 1894 15 institutes were held, consisting of 32 sessions, and over 1,600 persons were
reported as being in attendance.
Institute meetings are held only upon request of the locality desiring the institute.
A local chairman for each institute is appointed by the State superintendent of insti-
tutes, who looks after the advertising and the securing of a suitable place for holding
The farmers' institute movement in Georgia began in 1899, at which time the Atlanta ".
Semi-Weekly Journal made an appropriation of $750 to hold a series of farmers' insti- .
tutes under the management of the agricultural editor of that paper. Fifty institutes
were held that year. This appropriation, however, was not continued, and the work
was suspended until 1903, when it was taken up by the University of Georgia. In that :.
year the trustees of the State university made an appropriation of $1,000 for farmers M.1'
institute purposes. A State director was appointed and instructed to hold one farm-
ers' institute meeting in each senatorial district in the State. Harvie Jordan, of Mon-
ticello, was selected for this position. During that year he held 44 institutes, having ::
an attendance of 8,250 farmers. The expenses of the lecturers, office expenses, and
publication of bulletins of information were all provided for and paid out of the $1,000
In 1904 the general assembly of Georgia made a direct appropriation for farmers'
institutes amounting to $2,500. The trustees of the State University continued the
appropriation of $1,000, making available for institute purposes for that year $3,500.
The institutes are held, one in each senatorial district, under the rotation system of
changing to different counties in each district each year. The total attendance for
1904 was about 22,000, and from 4 to 6 lecturers were present at each institute.
A women's session presided over by a lady lecturer has been made a part of every
institute and is proving a popular movement, attracting the wives and daughters of
farmers to these agricultural meetings.
The institute work has been placed by the board of regents under a board of con-
trol consisting of the chancellor of the State university, president of the State college
of agriculture, and the director of farmers' institutes.
The dates, places, and programs for the institutes are arranged by the State director,
and the meetings are usually advertised at least two weeks in advance by means of
the county press. In 1904 14 lecturers were upon the State force, 8 of whom were rep-
resentatives of the faculty of the agricultural college and of the experiment station
Societies for the promotion of agriculture have been in existence in Hawaii for
almost half a century. An effort was made in 1898 to form an organization on the plan
of the farmers' institute, buL for lack of public interest the movement failed. Each
year thereafter up until 1902 similar efforts were made with like results. On the 25th
of January, 1902, thru the efforts of the local Federal agricultural experiment station, .A
a meeting was held at Oahu for the purpose of organizing a permanent society to
encourage and help diversify agriculture in the Territory and for the founding of per-
manent homes thruout the country. It was further the purpose of the organization to
have the society become the head of a movement in the Territory to give aid to all the
farming districts of the islands in every possible way and to encourage the promotion
of local organizations for the study of local conditions and problems.
An organization was effected and the following offices were created and filled by the
following persons: President, Jared G. Smith; vice-president, T. F. Sedgwick, and
secretary-treasurer, D. L. Van Dine.
The president was empowered to appoint all committees necessary to further the .;
work of the institute, to act in the organization and work of branch or local institutes, '
to make arrangements for the regular meetings of the institute, to appoint committees
on the nomination of officers, to have charge of the work of getting up the programs
of the meetings, and to be a member, ex officio, of all such committees. The regular
meeting was to be called once in three months, the date and place of meeting to be i
decided by the president. It was further decided that at all such meetings a paper-
should be read on subjects dealing with matters of importance to the development of
agriculture in Hawaii by men thoroly competent by experience and training to
present such information, and that such papers should be followed by discussions, the
discussions to form an important part of the program.
- The farmers' institute began with a membership of 15. At the present time (1904)
there are 72 active members enrolled and 2 honorary members-the governor of the
Territory and the superintendent of public instruction. Six regular meetings of the
institute were held during the year-four on the island of Oahu and two on the island
of Hawaii. On Hawaii a branch organization was formed which is to meet once a
month during the year.
There are no salaries connected with the society. The money has been provided by
the officers of the institute with the aid- of some of its members.
The following extract from a letter addrest to the president of the farmers' insti-
tute by Sanford B. Dole, governor of Hawaii, under date of January 24, 1902, shows the
interest that the Territorial government has manifested in the organization of the insti-
tute work. The governor writes:
It is with great pleasure that I have learned of your intention to organize a farmers'
institute upon a permanent basis. It is an enterprise which if perseveringly conducted
can not fail to be of great benefit to the farming interests of the Territory. I
recognize the probability that general farming here must develop slowly. Individuals
here and there will succeed because of intelligent and skillful cultivation of the soil and
a careful study of the markets. Farmers' institutes will promote such cultivation
and such study of the markets amongst the whole farming fraternity.
During the year ended June 30, 1904, four institutes were held, consisting of eight
sessions, having an attendance of 200. All of the meetings were conducted by mem-
bers of the experiment station staff. A report of the proceedings was published and
1,000 copies distributed among the farmers of the Territory. The present director of
institutes is Jared G. Smith, special agent in charge of the agricultural experiment
Prior to 1898 very little had been done in conducting institutes in Idaho. A few
meetings were held under the supervision of Charles Fox, director of the experiment
station. The work was again taken up in the fall and winter of 1898, and several
institutes were organized in southern Idaho and a few in the northern part of the
State. These meetings, the first of which was at Moreland in December, 1898, were
well attended, considering the fact that they were the first institutes ever held in the
localities visited. Local committees were appointed in each of the towns where
meetings were held and work was fairly begun. From that date the work has been
kept up and has grown in interest until in many localities it is not easy to secure
rooms large enough to accommodate the people. The number of meetings held
yearly has increased from ten or fifteen the first year to more than thirty during the
In 1900 the legislature made a biennial appropriation of $2,000 for institute work,
and this has been maintained at each of the biennial sessions since. An effort was
made to increase the amount at a recent session, but failed on the ground of economy
in State affairs.
The director of the State experiment station is superintendent of institutes in the
State and conducts all correspondence regarding the meetings. The dates are arranged
by the superintendent and programs are made out in cooperation with a local com-
mittee, which is known as the institute committee of the locality. No county organi-
zations have been made, owing to the difficulty of communication and transportation.
The plan followed seems to work very satisfactorily and the interest is steadily increas-
ing. It is becoming a question of how to meet the demands for more meetings and
~i~i~iti~~ii:l.;;' 1* ii*
to secure a greater number of instructors. The last demand is partially solving itadisel
in that men are developing a capacity for this work in various sections of the State :.
and many will no doubt soon be able to render assistance on the lecture platform,
The first farmers' institute held in Illinois of which record appears to have bem;::,en.::.
made was held under the auspices of the Illinois Industrial University at Champaign, i
January 12 to 22, 1869.a
In the announcement of this meeting it was stated that the course would continue
for eleven days, with three sessions each day; that there would be no charge for admis-
sion, and that each lecture would be followed by a discussion in which all were .
expected to participate.
The topics discust included: Agricultural Facts and Theories, by J. M. Gregory,
regent of the university; The Natural Sciences in Agriculture, by Prof. A.' P. S.
Stuart; The Soils of Illinois, by H. C. Freeman, of the State geological survey; Man-
agement of Soils, by Dr. John A. Warder; Grass, by Dr. L. D. Morse, editor of Journal
of Agriculture; Corn, by M. L. Dunlap, agricultural correspondent, Chicago Tribune;
Wheat, by W. C. Flagg; Potatoes, by Jonathan Periam, superintendent practical
agriculture; Root Crops, by Jonathan Periam; Agricultural Bookkeeping, by Capt.
Ed. Snyder, instructor in bookkeeping; Orchard Fruits, by Dr. E. S. Hull, of Alton;
Grapes, by Hon. George Husmann, of Herman, Mo.; Small Fruits, by Samuel Edwards,
Lamoille; Breeds of Cattle, by Sanford Howard, secretary, Michigan State Board of
Agriculture; Horses, by Col. N. J. Coleman, editor of Rural World; Swine, by Hon.
Elmer Baldwin; Sheep, by A. M. Garland, president of Sheep Growers' Association;
Agricultural Botany, by Assistant Professor Albert J. Burrill; Vegetable Physiology
and Economy, by John H. Tice, secretary of Missouri Board of Agriculture; Rural
Economy and Rural Life, by Dr. J. M. Gregory; Fences and Hedges, by Dr. John A.
Warder; and Timber Growing, by O. B. Galusha.
The papers and discussions were published in full in the above named university
Dr. L. D. Morse, St. Louis, editor of Journal of Agriculture and secretary of the
Missouri Agricultural Society, published most of these papers in the Missouri Agri-
cultural Report for 1868. He said of this meeting:
Thus was inaugurated a new and probably important movement in western agri-
cultural education and improvement. Regarding it as an experiment, it may safely
be recorded as resulting successfully. The lectures and discussions were attended by
the students of the university, seventy or more in number, quite largely attended by
the citizens of Champaign and vicinity, and there was a goodly number from various
parts of the State. The lectures were, most of them, of an eminently practical char-
acter and the discussions lively and interesting.
It is very significant that the early promoters of industrial education, the advocates
of the agricultural college, should also have been the prime movers in developing the
farmers' institute idea.
In 1870 three farmers' institutes were held under the auspices of the industrial uni-, 9i
versity. In 1871 four institutes, in 1872 five institutes, and in 1873 eight institutes,
which appears to have been the supreme and last effort of the industrial university to
hold farmers' institutes at other places than at the university.
The expenditures for these institutes had been limited to about $500 per anumi.
No mention of institutes was made in the university report for 1874. In 1875 the
following resolution was adopted by the board of institutes: I
Resolved, That the corresponding secretary be authorized to arrange for farmers' :,
institutes without expense to the university and to call upon professors of the uni-
versity for such services as lecturers as they may be able to render without detriment ..
a Ann. Rpt. Ill. Indus. Univ., 1868-69, p. 120.
to their work with their classes: Provided. That the traveling expenses of such pro-
fessors and lecturers shall be paid by the localities benefited by such institutes or
without charge to the university.a
In this early effort to conduct farmers' institutes and build up an agricultural col-
lege the farmers and the university people mutually failed to understand each other's
conditions and needs, and the effort was short-lived and a comparative failure. The
university authorities directed their enthusias:n, energy, and money to other educa-
tional lines to the neglect of agriculture, and the farmers' institutes, so far as the uni-
xersity was concerned, were thrown upon their own resources. The institute idea,
however, survived, being kept alive by the annual meetings of the Illinois Horticul-
tural Society, Dairymen's Association, Wool Growers' Association, Swine Breeders'
Association, and the Tile-makers' Association, all of them strong organizations, well
equipped with practical, experienced men and competent instructors in their several
special lines of industry.
The decade of 1870 to 1880 was one of great activity in organizations of farmers, the
common purpose being redress from the extortions of railroads and regulation of freight
rates. Granges and farmers' clubs and associations, State, county, and local, were in
About 1880 the Illinois State Board of Agriculture began, officially, to recognize the
value of the farmers' institutes, and took up the work where the industrial university
abandoned it, by cooperating with local organizations in the arrangement of programs
and in the payment of the expenses of speakers. The attitude of the board of agri-
culture toward farmers' institutes is expressed in an address by J. R. Scott to the
board January 3, 1882.
In the course of his-address President Scott, in speaking of the farmers' institutes
and their value in improving the condition of the farmers of the State, said: "It is rec-
ommended that the board provide for the holding, during the present year, at least one
institute meeting in each Congressional district of the State. It is further recom-
mended that a reasonable appropriation be made by the board for the holding of insti-
tute meetings." b
The board of agriculture approved the president's recommendations in regard to
farmers' institutes and advised the holding of at least one farmers' institute in each
Congressional district during the year 1882.
Two institutes were held in 1882 under the direction of the State board of agriculture.
Several of the papers read at these institutes were published in Transactions, Depart-
ment of Agriculture of Illinois, vol. 20.
The number of institutes held under the auspices of the board of agriculture and by
private enterprise in the several counties increased from year to year, but no record
of the'number of these institutes seems to have been made till the publication of Trans-
actions, Department of Agriculture of Illinois, vol. 25, wherein it is stated, giving place
and date of meeting, that 9 Congressional district and 33 county farmers' institutes
were held in 1887.
The first appropriation for farmers' institutes by the State of Illinois was made in 1889,
$100 for each Congressional district, to be expended under the direction of the State
board of agriculture.
In 1891 an appropriation of $50 was made to each county farmers' institute and the
management of such institute placed entirely in charge of the county organization,
which reported to and drew the fund thru the State auditor. This plan and appropria-
tion of $50 to each county was continued till 1897; the number of counties holding
institutes and drawing in whole or in part the $50 ranged from 35 to 64 in number each
In 1895 the Illinois Farmers' Institute was created, providing for a State round-up
institute meeting, a director for each Congressional district, officers of the board, and
a Rpt. Ill. Indus. Univ., Vol. VIII, p. 101.
b Trans. Dept. Ag. Ill., 1881, vol. 19, p. 223. Farmers' Institutes.
the publication of 10,000 annual reports. No appropriation was made for this State:.
organization. Two State institutes, however, were held and annual reports of the'':
same published in 1896 and 1897. a
In 1897 an appropriation of $7,000 per annum was made for the use of the Illinois.a
Farmers' Institute and $50 per annum additional for each county institute, the work.
to be carried on jointly by the State and county organizations without destroying the
autonomy of the county institute. b
These amounts were increased in 1899 to $8,000 per annum for the State and $75 per ..,
annum to each county institute. c
In 1901 an additional appropriation of $2,500 per annum was made to' the State i.hti'
tute for the purchase of books for and the maintenance and management of the Illinois
Farmers' Institute free libraries. These libraries consist of collections of about 45
volumes, each set being put up in a substantial case, and are for the free use ot rural
communities. The community securing a library pays the express charges to ad '
from the central office in Springfield and has the use of a library for six months.
These libraries have proved very valuable adjuncts to the institute work. Two hun-
dred libraries are now in use and more are being equipped.
In 1901 the number of annual reports published was increased from 10,000 to 20,000
per annum. d
The general assembly of 1903 renewed the appropriation of $75 per annum to each
county institute, $2,500 per annum for free libraries, provided for the salary of secre-
tary of $2,000 per annum, and $7,500 for general expenses, a total of $19.650 per annum
for farmers' institutes. e
During the year ended June 30, 1904, 105 institute meetings were held; of these, 63
were two-day institutes, with from four to six sessions each, and 42 were three-day insti-
tutes, with from six to eight sessions each. The total attendance was 84,681, an average
of 806 for each institute. The total cost, not including the expenses of the State insti-
tute, officers, and directors, was $10,673.79. Average cost per institute, $101.65. Of
the above cost, $7,874.97 was paid from State funds and $2,798.82 by local and county
contributions. Total number of days on which institutes were held, 248. Total num-
ber of sessions, 609.
A characteristic feature of the work of the farmers' institute is the cooperation of the
Illinois Association of Domestic Science, which organizes clubs and associations in the
several counties and cooperates with the State and county institutes in supplying num-
bers on the programs relating especially to home making and home keeping.
With the inauguration of the State institute began a campaign for the development
of the Illinois College of Agriculture. It was largely thru the influence of the farmer'
institute that an appropriation of $150,000 was secured for the college of agriculture
building and a bill past requiring the trustees of the University of Illinois to devote
one-half of the funds derived from the United States appropriations for industrial edu-
cation to the maintenance of the college of agriculture.
After being divorced for over twenty-five years, the farmers' institute and the College
of Agriculture were again united and began anew the development of an educational
system on agricultural lines.
The earliest mention of farmers' institutes in Indiana is found in the annual report
of the State board of agriculture for 1881. This report covers the latter part of 1881 and
a Rpt. Illinois Farmers' Inst., vols. I and II. d Laws of Ill., 1901, p. 3.
b Laws of Ill., 1897, p. 18. e Laws of Ill., 1903, pp. 4-39.
c Laws of Ill., 1899, p. 21.
the earlier part of 1882. At the January meeting of the Indiana Delegate and State
Board of Agriculture, 1882, Allen Furnas, of Hendricks County, offered the following:
Resolved, That it is the sense of this delegate body that the State board should create
an agricultural institute, to meet once a year, to remain in session from ten dayM to a
fortnight, for the discussion of matters pertaining to agriculture and kindred subjects.
This resolution was referred to a committee consisting of Aaron Jones, W. B. Seward,
of Bloomington, and Mr. Sutherland, of Laporte. The committee reported on January
4 as follows:
We unanimously recommend:
(1) The holding of four institutes as a trial in this State, two to be held this winter
and two in the month of December, this year.
(2) That the secretary of this board be authorized to receive proposals from different
localities in the State for such institute and have the power to make appointments.
(3) That the town or locality expecting such institute must pledge itself to defray
the expenses of such institute, including the providing of a suitable hall, warmed and
lighted; and further, that the locality furnish at least one-half the papers on the pro-
(4) That the State board of agriculture ask of the trustees of Purdue University that
they send at least two of the faculty of that institution to attend each institute and
lecture or read papers.
(5) That such institute hold two days with four r five sessions, as circumstances
may seem to dictate.
(6) That the secretary of this board, with a local committee at the place of holding
such institute, be empowered to make up the program for that special occasion.
(7) We further recommend that the legislature be memorialized for a special annual
appropriation of $500 for the holding of agricultural institutes for the education of the
farmers of our State.
In accordance with these.resolutions two meetings were held in the spring of 1882,
the first at Columbus, Bartholomew County, March 8 and 9, and the second at Craw-
fordsville, Montgomery County, March 22 and 23.
The board made an effort to locate and hold the two other institutes, but failed owing
to the excitement occasioned by the political campaign of that year.
At the annual meeting of the State board of agriculture in January, 1883, the presi-
dent of the board, in his annual address, advised the holding of farmers' institutes
during the year, and. the board of agriculture agreed to memorialize the legislature for
an annual appropriation of $1,000 for defraying the expenses of the institutes. This
application was not made by the committee of the board, as they "feared that it might
jeopardize the appropriation for the interest on their bonds."
The next reference to the institutes by the board is in the minutes of the meeting of
February, 1886. In these minutes this statement is found: "The executive committee
in connection with the president was directed to outline a system for gathering crop
reports and forming farmers' institutes thruout the State."
The next reference is found in the proceedings of the annual meeting of the State
board of agriculture January 4, 1887. The committee, to whom the president's
address of that board had been referred, reported that they were of the opinion that
the legislature should appropriate a sum of money each year to be used by the State
board for the purpose of sending a competent person out thru the State to work up
what are called farmers' institutes. This was followed by a general discussion which
terminated by passing the following resolution:
Resolved, That all that portion of the president's address and the report of the com-
mittee to whom it was referred on the subject of farmers' institutes be referred to the
State board, with the request that they formulate a full set of rules for the organization
of such institutes, and that the members of the State board shall take such steps as they
may deem best to secure an organization in the counties and townships of their several
Messrs. Seward, Mitchell, Simonton, and Lockhart were appointed a committee to.
formulate a system covering county institutes. This committee made its report at the
January meeting in 1888. They stated that they had corresponded with officers and
ii;, ;; ... ,.. :.. i.....l..
managers of farmers' institutes in the States of Illinois, Ohio, and Wisconsin, and aft
considering the institute work of these States were of the opinion that Indiana was in al::iH'l
good a shape to commence the work of holding farmers' institutes as some of these States
were when they began their work, and they advised the holding of at least one institute ,
in each county in the State between the date of their report (January, 1888) and :.":
March 1, and advised that the members of the State board of agriculture take charge of
the work in their several districts and see that institutes are held. The recommends ;-
tions of the committee were adopted and the board was instructed "to provide for a
series of farmers' institutes to be held during the coming year, one such meeting to be
held in each member's district."
At the annual meeting of the State board in January, 1889, R. M. Lockhart, chair- I
man of a special committee of three appointed for the purpose of formulating a plan by
which the work could be started in different parts of the State, reported that the corn-
mittee had prepared what they conceived to be the best plan for immediate work and
had it published in the Indiana Farmer, advising that at least one institute be held
in each district between January, the date of the board meeting, and the first of the
following April. He also stated for the committee, "We are glad to be able to report R
that a number of very interesting institutes have been held in the State."
In the report of 1888 the secretary of the State board, in speaking of the farmers' .
institutes in Indiana, stated that-
Several institutes were held in different parts of the State during 1887 which, from
reports submitted to the board of agriculture, were failures thruout as regards attend-
ance. During the year 1888 just closed, however, success has crowned the efforts of
workers in this field and notably different results have obtained in a very large number
of places where institutes have been held. In many instances the institute has been i
maintained thruout the two days set apart for holding these meetings, and large crowds .
have come together in response to the call to hear addresses by learned gentlemen
selected to conduct these institutes. Among the institutes held programs
were received at the office by the secretary of the board of agriculture from Rockville,
Parke County; Peru, Miami County; Princeton, Gibson County; Laporte, Laporte
County; Plainfield, Hendricks County; Franklin, Johnson County, and Anderson,
The annual reports of the State board of agriculture contain accounts of but four
institutes up to this time-the meetings at Columbus and Crawfordsville in 1882, and
at Franklin and Anderson in 1888. The two first institutes were held under the
direct control of the State board of agriculture. The Johnson County institute and
the Madison County institute were under the joint auspices of the State board and
local agricultural associations.
In 1887 a number of district meetings were held under the direction of R. M. Lock-
hart--one at La Grange February 14, another the next day (Wednesday) at Sycamore
Corners, on Thursday at Kendallville, on Friday at Angolia, and at Waterloo on Sat-
urday. The speakers at these meetings were Professor Webster, of Purdue Univereity,
John B. Conner, editor of the Indiana Farmer, and Judge Robert W. McBride.
Mr. Lockhart reports that during 1887 he aided in organizing the institutes in twenty-
two counties. In addition to these there were eleven others held at the following
points: Goshen, South Bend, Laporte, Warsaw, Columbia City, Fort Wayne, Peru,
Kokomo, Anderson. Muncie, and Richmond.
These early institutes were less like schools than farmers' institutes of the present j
day. Altho held in an irregular, somewhat spasmodic and very incomplete way, they ":
doubtless did much to interest the people of the State in practical discussions on topics
of everyday interest to farmers. With no public funds to draw upon, with no author-...
ized and centralized control of the work, and dependent almost wholly upon local ,:
initiative, only a few favored localities could be expected to take an interest, and con- .
sequently receive the benefits of the work. The seed, however, was being sown in 'i
fruitful soil, as the later developments of the institutes revealed.
..."... .. ...... ... .
In consequence of the work that had been begun in 1882 t'e general assembly of
1889 past an act which had been presented by Hon. W. W. Robins, representative
from Miami, known as house bill No. 430, organizing the farmers' institute under
State control and appropriating $5,000 per year for institute support. The bill was
approved by the governor Ma.ch 9, 1889.a
In the autumn of that same year, 1889, the farmers' institute work was begun under
State control. In order to comply with the institute act which required the holding
of an institute annually in each county of the State, an effort was made to get the work
organized in all of the counties the first year. This was found to be impossible, owing
to lack of information and indifference on the part of the people in many localities.
Institutes, however, were held in 50 counties the first season, 1889-90; in 41 of the
remaining 42 counties the second season; in the third season, 1891-92, institutes were
held in 90 counties, and in the fourth year in 89. Beginning with the fifth season,
1893-94, and continuing since, at least one institute has been held annually in each
of the 92 counties of the State. At first the institutes were held almost exclusively
at the county seats, altho in a few counties the plan has been from the first to hold
the meetings successively at different points.
Beginning with 1898 a conference of institute officers and workers has been held in
October of each year. In 1901 the general assembly increased the appropriation for
farmers' institutes from $5,000 to $10,000 per annum. In the autumn of the same
year, 1901, a women's conference was held for the purpose of considering what farmers'
institutes might do for the women of the farm.
Beginning with 1901 two-day district farmers' institutes have been held annually
in the month of August. The increased appropriation which became available in
1901 added largely to the number of institutes that were held, and from that time
approximately half of the meetings have been held at outlying points near county
For the purpose of carrying out the provisions of the institute act the board of trus-
tees appointed a joint committee on institutes consisting of the president of the univer-
sity, the director of the State experiment station, and the professor of agriculture of
the university. This committee has direct charge of the institute work. The last-
mentioned officer is the superintendent of institutes, and formulates plans for the
approval of the committee and has immediate supervision of the work.
When the work was first organized under State control the members of the State
board of agriculture were invited to take charge of the institute arrangements in their
respective districts. Those who were willing to act were appointed to assist the general
management in holding meetings in the several counties in their respective districts.
Altho several members of the board of agriculture cooperated acceptably and
effectively it was soon found desirable to appoint a suitable person within each county
to take the local supervision of the work in charge. It became apparent that some
form of local organization within each county was necessary to give standing and per-
manence to the work. Accordingly granges, agricultural societies, farmers' clubs,
etc., were invited to take local supervision of the institute. Further experience demon-
strated the necessity for having some form of local organization for the single purpose
of holding farmers' institutes. Each institute was therefore requested to elect a chair-
man, who might be recognized by the general committee as the one having charge of
the.work in the county. A secretary was also elected and a little later a number of
the counties elected or appointed vice-presidents for the several townships.
These local organizations, varying in character and not well knit together and often
with no written or definite constitution, nevertheless answered the purpose very well
for a number of years. With the increased appropriation of 1901 and the consequent
a U. S. Dept. Agr., Office of Experiment Statioils Bul. 135 (Revised), p. 15.
.. .. ... ,... ,,. :,.:....
management of the work it soon became apparent to the general committee that a coa m- :
pact, uniform, county system of organization would secure more effective local cooper-
ation in carrying forward the work thruout the State. A form of constitution for th
government of the local associations was therefore submitted to the annual conference r ..
institute workers, which met in October, 1903. With some slight changes the proposed 'i
constitution was unanimously approved by the conference. It was then sent out to the
several counties for adoption. During the season just closing, 19Q3-4, one-half of the
counties have adopted the constitution substantially as presented. It is believed
that within a year or two more when the purpose of the proposed constitution is better
understood and its necessity becomes more apparent to the local societies it will bhi
generally adopted as the working plan for conducting farmers' institutes thruout the
The aim of the institute in Indiana is, largely-
(1) To give instruction that will be practically helpful to all classes of farmers and
their wives in the performance of the everyday work of the farm and the farm home;
(2) To awaken a greater interest in the promotion of agriculture, betterment of the
farm home, improvement of the highways, and advancement of the rural schools; and
(3) To heighten the attractions of farm life and interest the young people of the
country to seek adequate preparation for the successful pursuit of agriculture.
The general plan is to hold one or more institutes in each county of the State during
the institute season, November 1 to April 1. The county institute chairmen in the
spring of each year advise the superintendent of institutes as to the dates and places
desirable for meetings the subsequent year and the general theme which they deem
proper to be discust. The superintendent then arranges the schedule of meetings
and assigns speakers to each. The meetings are thrown into groups, usually thiee
in each group, with two days of five sessions allotted to each meeting. Two State
speakers attend each institute. The list of speakers and the schedule of the institutes
are printed and sent out to officers and speakers before the opening of the institute
Three classes of meetings are held: (1) Local institutes in the several counties,
usually two-day meetings; (2) two-day district institutes for a group of counties; and
(3) a two or three day annual conference of institute officers and workers for the entire
The details of arrangements for the local institutes are left largely to the county
chairmen and their associates. The district institutes are arranged for by the State
superintendent in connection with the local committee of farmers and business men
at the places where the meetings are to be held. The annual conference of institute
officers and speakers is arranged for by the joint committee of institutes.
Indiana has no institute conductors. The county institute chairman is, as a gen-
eral rule, the presiding officer and is in charge of the details of opening and closing
the meetings, conducting the discussions, preserving order, etc.
Two official reports of each meeting are required-(1) from the secretary and (2)
from the assigned speakers. These reports contain such matter as will inform the
superintendent as to the character of the work done and aid him in planning for
future work in the locality.
The securing of effective institute speakers is one of the difficulties that Indiana
has endeavored to solve. In doing this it has been the aim to discover and develop
practical workers from the ranks of the everyday farmers. The best possible workers
in the State have been developed by means of the opportunities that have been given
by the State director to acquire experience in the presentation of the particular-sub-
ject with which they have had most experience. Specialists, agricultural experiment
station workers, and the faculty of the school of agriculture are drawn upon to sl i
plement the force of practical workers.
S Two classes of local institutes in the counties have hitherto been held-(1) annual
S meetings, usually at the county seats, and (2) supplementary meetings at outlying
points near county boundaries. By this means meetings have been much more
"i equally distributed thruout the State than heretofore.
i; During the coming season the meetings will be apportioned in the counties in pro-
portion to area. Each county having less than 200 square miles will be entitled to two
days of institute work; each county ranging in area from 200 to 350 square miles will
be apportioned three days of institute work; each county having over 350 and less
than 500 square miles will be allowed four days of institute work, and each county
having over 500 square miles will be granted five days of institute work.
The following table shows the number of counties holding meetings and the total
S number of meetings held each year; also the average and aggregate attendance since
1894, prior to which time no record of attendance was kept:
County institute meetings in Indiana.
Number Total Attendance.
Year. holding insti-
insti- tutes Average. Aggregate.
Fi 1889-90........... 50 50 .......... ............
1890-91...........I 41 41 .......................
1891-92..........., 90 102 ..........1 ............
1892-93-........... 89 95 ..............
PE. 1893-94........... 92 95 .......... ............
: 1894-95........... 92 97 118 11,446
1895-96........... 92 103 272 28,016
..1896-97........... 92 104 232 24,128
1897-98........... 92 108 272 29,375
1898-99.......... 92 102 250 25,500
1899-00........... 92 104 269 27,976
1900-01........... 92 104 279 29,016
1901-02........... 92 197 191 37,603
1902-03........... 92 179 192 34,226
1903-04...-....... 92 175 338 59,189
Beginning with 1901, when the increased appropriation for farmers' institutes
became available, a few district institutes of two days each have been held in the
late summer of each year. The management has three purposes in holding these
district meetings-(1) to promote some special line of agriculture in a section of the
State specially suited to its pursuit; (2) to afford high-class instruction that would
prove helpful to the most intelligent and progressive men engaged in special agri-
cultural pursuits, and (3) to awaken a wider interest in the subjects considered and to
stimulate the workers in attendance to more earnest effort in behalf of the local insti-
tutes to be held during the winter months.
Beginninig with 1898 an annual conference of institute officers and workers has been
held at the university in the month of October. In holding these annual conferences
several purposes have been kept steadily in view. The more important of these are:
S(1) To inform all the workers more fully as to the nature, scope, needs, and importance
of the institute work; (2) to consider carefully the lines of work that should be under-
taken; (3) to discover and adopt the best methods of advertising, conducting, and
reporting the institutes; (4) to acquaint the workers with each other and thus develop
and foster a spirit of good-fellowship and mutual helpfulness; (5) to give to the workers
a higher and broader conception of the dignity and importance of the institute work
and to inspire them to more diligent effort to accomplish the ends in view; (6) to enable
the workers to meet from time to time prominent and widely useful men in the field
of agricultural education and thereby acquire broader and truer conceptions of the
S importance and relations of the farmer; (7) to inspire a deeper love for agricultural
S pursuits and a more earnest desire for the betterment of agricultural conditions, and
(8) to arouse a deeper and more intelligent interest in the improvement of the rural
home, the rural schools, and the rural highways as means for agricultural improve-
ment and progress." .
In August, 1901, a women's conference was held at the university. As a result of :
this conference women's auxiliaries to the farmers' institutes have been organized
in a number of counties. In several of the counties these auxiliaries held inde-
pendent sessions for home makers usually at the time of the annual institutes. In
other cases these auxiliaries took charge of one or more sessions of the regular institute.
Exhibits of culinary, dairy, and cereal products are becoming increasingly common
features of the farmers' institutes. When properly conducted these exhibits have
been made educational in character and added greatly to the interest.
At the institute conference held in 1904 the question of interesting and enlisting
the young folks of the farm in the institute work received earnest consideration.
Systematic measures are now on foot in several counties of the State to awaken an
abiding interest on the part of the young people in the institute work. One method
that has been adopted is the awarding of prizes to young people for exhibits of products
grown or made by them, these exhibits to be made first at the county fair and later at
the institute the following winter.
The support rendered to the institute work by Purdue University is deserving of
special mention. The president of the university has served as chairman of the joint
committee on institutes during the entire period since the work has been placed in
charge of the institution, and the director of the experiment station has also served
as a member of the committee. The bills presented against the -institute fund by
county chairman and institute speakers, aggregating several thousand dollars each
year, have been registered and audited by the officers of the university free of charge.
In addition to this all the members of the agricultural faculty and several of the
general faculty of the university have attended a large number of the institutes and
taken an active part, making no charge whatever for their services, altho their
duties have been materially increased by this gratuitous work.
The local expenses of the meetings are met by an appropriation of $25, which is appor-
tioned to each county for this purpose. In addition to this, two speakers are assigned by
the State whose expenses are met by the general committee. About $1,000 has been
annually expended upon the several district institutes and in holding the annual con-
ference of institute officers and workers. The balance of the institute fund is used to pay :i
the salaries of the superintendent and clerks, and to defray the expenses of the superin-
tendent's office, including postage, printing, stationery, traveling expenses, etc.
Some of the results of the institute work are more intelligent and better care of the soil; ::.
greater attention to prevent the introduction of noxious weeds; better culture of crops;
increased area devoted to clover and leguminous crops; improvement in seed corn;
better kept farms; improvement in live stock; greater interest in dairying and horticul- ::.
ture; greater interest and pride in the calling of the farmer; improvement of the rual :
highways; improvement of rural schools; improvement in home reading; higher-appre- :
ciation of the natural advantages of Indiana as an agricultural State; and a greater rec-
ognition of the necessity and value of agricultural education as a means of continued *
progress in agriculture.
In the winter of 1870-71 a number of farmers' institutes were held in Iowa, organized
by Dr. A. S. Welsh, the president of the Iowa Agricultural College. Among those who
were lecturers at these institutes were President Welsh, Professors Jones, Matthews
Bessey and Berry, of the faculty of the college. These were the first farmers' institutes
held in the State.
i The following report by President Welsh to the board of trustees of the college, taken
from the College Annual, dated February 1, 1871, giving the work of the institutes for
' 1870, shows the method that was pursued in conducting the farmers' institute work:
Many of the trustees will remember that last fall an urgent demand was made outside
the institution for a winter session. Such a session, however, was for reasons well known
to you found to be impracticable. It is now thought to promise better results to the
S farmers, that farmers' institutes, somewhat similar in method to the teachers' institutes,
should be held by a few of the older members of the faculty in different sections of the
State. We propose that each institute shall last five days, and that its program shall
consist of lectures for day and evening sessions, on stock breeding and management,
fruit culture, farm accounts, and kindred topics. The first farmers' institute is already
appointed in Cedar Falls, to open on the 20th instant (December, 1870); the second is
to commence on January 3, at Council Bluffs, in response to an earnest invitation from
the farmers of that county; and the third will be held in Muscatine, by desire of its citi-
zens; time not fixed. A fourth may be held in Boonesboro or Ames. Now it is desir-
able that this new experiment should be tried without much expense to the farmers in
attendance, and if the trustees should see fit to appropriate a moderate sum for traveling
expenses it would, I have no doubt, be wisely expended. Professor Jones, Professor
Matthews, and myself will conduct the exercises.
The attitude of the board is shown by the following extract from the action of a com-
mittee to which was referred the president's report:
In regard to the farmers' institutes, without hesitation we entirely coincide with the
president's plans, and believe that great good will result therefrom, and most earnestly
desire that a sufficient amount may be appropriated to defray the necessary expenses
The following prospectus was published by the college in February, 1871:
Farmers' institutes.-At least three farmers' institutes will be held in different parts
of the State during the winter vacation.
First farmers' institute opens December 19, 1871; second farmers' institute opens
January 2, 1872; and third farmers' institute opens January 16, 1872.
These institutes will open on Tuesday evening and continue to Friday evening of the
The sessions during the day will be occupied with lectures and discussions on stock
breeding and management, fruits and fruit growing, farm architecture, farm engineering,
farm accounts, raising of crops, etc.
Public addresses on subjects connected with agriculture will be given in the evenings.
A farmers' institute may be secured at any locality, in the order of application, by for-
warding a written request to the president of the college signed by 50 farmers who desire
to attend all the meetings.
It is expected that the current expenses of the lecturers will be paid by those in whose
interest the institute is held.
At the beginning of the institute work in Iowa, and for a number of years thereafter, the
expenses were borne by local contributions. In 1890-91 the station and agricultural
college and the State agricultural society appropriated a small sum to pay the expenses
of the college professors and other competent lecturers at these institutes.
The Iowa Improved Stock Breeders' Association, discerning the value of the institute
system, took action at an early date to secure recognition and financial aid from the State.
In 1889 that association past the following resolution:
Resolved, That we ask the legislature to require all county and district agricultural
societies receiving money from the State (for local fairs) to hold farmers' institutes within
their territory every winter, and we also ask a yearly appropriation of $5,000 for ex-
penses of such institutes.
This association reiterated the demand for State aid at its sessions in 1890 and 1891.
At the latter session the Hon. James Wilson, serving as chairman of the committee to
which the measure was referred, reported a resolution favoring legislative action and
named as a committee to frame a bill for submission to the general assembly the follow-
ing gentlemen. Senator B. R. Vale, Henry Wallace, and J. B. Furrow, president of the
State Farmers' Alliance. The bill prepared by this committee followed closely the
iiiiiii~ -- r
system then in operation in a number of States, providing for a central board and supe .::
intendent of institutes under whose direction the money appropriated should be ex-
pended. The legislative committee, composed mainly of farmers, adopted a substitute
bill which was finally past, and which provided for the holding of county institutes
and appropriated $50 to each county for this purpose.
It was stated that the object cf such institute should be the dissemination of
practical and scientific knowledge pertaining to agriculture in all its various branches."
This act was amended by the general assembly in 1902, increasing the appropriation
for each county institute to $75 per annum, and further providing that each county
institute shall be entitled to representation at the annual sessions of the State board
cf agriculture. Under the operation of this law there has been a steady advancement
in the number cf institutes and public interest in the annual sessions.
There is no central organization or State superintendent cf farmers' institutes in
Iowa. The counties act independently in their institute work. In the year 1903-4
institutes were held in 70 of the 99 counties cf the State. The attendance for that
year is estimated at about 17,700 and the number of sessions at about 350.
The farmers' institute work in Kansas began in 1868. The honor of organizing the
first meeting seems to be divided between the board of regents of the State agricultural
college and the Union Agricultural Society, which was organized June 6, 1868. The
first officers cf this society were: President, J. S. Hougham; vice-president, Elbridge
Gale; secretary, R. D. Parker, and treasurer, William Wells. The directors were
C. B. Lines, Wabaunsee County; Samuel Cutter, Riley County, and Orville Huntress,
This society arranged in its constitution to meet on the second Saturday of each
month, and its object was stated to be to promote, by exhibits and by exchange of
opinions and experiences, the pursuits of horticulture, agriculture, and arboriculture."
The Manhattan Standard, in its issue of October 31, 1868, referring to the Union
Agricultural Society, printed the following item:
"Agricultural institute.-It is proposed to hold an agricultural institute in connection
with the Horticultural Society on Saturday, the 14th of November."
In its issue of November 7, 1868, the same paper contained the following item:
"' Farmers' institute.-Arrangements have been made to hold a farmers' institute in
connection with the next regular meeting of the Union Agricultural Association;
The exercises will occur in the County Hall in Manhattan, November 14, 1868." The
subjects to be discust were announced as follows: Tree borers; culture of fruit trees;
economy on the farm.
This institute was held according to announcement, as appears from a statement in
the Manhattan Standard, December 5, 1868:
"Fanners' inslitutes.-The Union Agricultural Society met in the County Hall,
Manhattan, November 14, 1868, at 10 a. m., and was called to order by President
Hougham. The first business was an address by President Denison, of the agricultural
college. His theme was "The Relation cf the College to the Agricultural Interests of
the State." This was followed by discussion.
The next was a lecture by Professor Mudge on tree borers, followed by discussion.
In the afternoon there was an address by Rev. Mr. Gale on fruit-tree culture, fol-
lowed by a lecture on economy on the farm, by Professor Hougham. This appears
to have been the first farmers' institute held in Kansas.
But about the same time that the Union Agricultural Society took action looking :
to the establishing of farmers' institutes in Kansas the board of regents of the State :.
agricultural college, at Manhattan, took up the same subject. The college records:
show that at a meeting of the board of regents of the college, June 23, 1868, at which
E. Gale, vice-president of the board, presided, the matter of farmers' institutes was
suggested by Mr. Gale, and at the ensuing session the subject was formulated into a
set of resolutions presented by Charles Reynolds, a member ,(f the board. The reso-
lutions, after referring to the desirability .f extending the benefits (if the institution
to the people cf the State at large, provided that the president and professors be
.required to visit the more populous settlements uf the State and by free converse, as
well as by formal lectures, make known the character and aims of the State agricultural
Before adjournment Hon. G. W. Glick, a member of the board of visitors, who had
:: been invited to meet with the board cf regents, presented the following resolution:
m Resolved, That a system cf lecturing on agricultural subjects at this college and in
the populous settlements of the several counties of the State should be continued, so
that the benefits of farming according to correct agricultural principles may be dissemi-
nated throughout the State.
In compliance with this resolution a farmers' institute was appointed for November
20 and 21, 1868, to be held at Wabaunsee, to be addrest by President J. Denison,
Professors Mudge and Hougham, Hon. C. B. Lewis, and others. (Manhattan Sentinel,
.November 14, 1868.)
This same paper, in its issue of November 28, refers to the Wabaunsee institute in
the following manner:
There was a large attendance and the interest of the farmers was manifest. Several
topics cf practical value were discussed, and altogether this second of the series of insti-
tutes in agriculture by the faculty cf the agricultural college was a decided success.
An account of the institute held November 14 appeared in the Kansas Farmer for
December, 1868, then edited by George T. Anthony, afterwards governor cf the State.
In commenting upon the institute the editor says: "The idea of agricultural institutes
is, we believe, original with the president and professors cf our State agricultural
college. The initial step in this enterprise was taken Saturday, November 14, by the
holding of an institute in the court-house at Manhattan." The same article, in giving
-an abstract of President Denison's address, reports him as stating that he believed there
existed a demand for such concerted action among the tillers cf the soil as would be
afforded by the system of agricultural institutes there and then inaugurated.
A third institute was held at the agricultural college at Manhattan, beginning January
18, 1869, and continuing thru the 19th, 20th, and 21st. The announcement states
that "a number of persons will unite with the faculty in giving lectures." At this
institute the following subjects were discust: Cultivation cf land; fences; coopera-
tion in farming; gypsum as a fertilizer; potato growing; progress in the world; weeds;
small fruits; raising fruit trees; Indian corn; raising hedges and forest trees; cultivat-
ing trees; insects injurious to vegetation; birds, their habits and the benefits we
receive as well as the injury that is done by them to crops; the dairy.
The Kansas Farmer for February,?1869, under the heading "Agricultural college
lectures," gave a ten-column account of this institute, which concluded as follows:
"Thus terminated in the most successful manner an experimental effort to inaugurate
and popularize a system of agricultural institutes under the auspices of the State agri-
In 1870 a three-day institute was held at the college, beginning January 17. A full
report of this is given in the Manhattan Standard for January 22 ahd 29, 1870. In 1871
a.similar institute was held at the college, which was advertised in the Manhattan
Nationalist for January 13, and a full report was published in that paper in its issue of
The next institute was held in 1872 at the agricultural college, with a reported attend-
ance of 428. The Kansas Farmer for February 1, 1872, in its account of the institute,
states that "it was originally intended, we believe, to hold these institutes under the
auspices of the college faculty in different parts of the State, but this plan seems to have
been abandoned for the one of holding these gatherings annually at the college during i..
the winter term." The fifth annual institute was held in 1873. The attendance was e
referred to by the Kansas Farmer as "surprisingly large." The Nationalist refer to
this as "the most profitable and interesting one yet held."
The institute held in 1874 was the last one of this series under the special patronage
of the college. Classes were dismissed, and students were expected to attend. The
board of regents attended some of the sessions.
Institutes, however, continued to be held under the auspices of the Bluemont
Farmers' Club, but were of local character. This club held institutes in nearly,'if not
quite, all of the yeais up to and as late as 1888.
The present system of farmers' institutes was begun by President Fairchild in 1881. .1
President Fairchild had been intimately associated with the farmers' institute work -'
in Michigan and thoroly appreciated its value to the farming population. The Indus-
trialist in its issue of November 26, 1881, states that-
It is proposed to organize a series of annual institutes thru which the State agri-
cultural college and the farmers of the State may work together for the promotion of
agriculture. The professors will, under the direction of the board of trustees, take pat 'A
in six farmers' institutes in as many portions of the State provided sufficient encour- .
agement is given by application from local organizations. The board will endeavor to
choose among the applications in such a way as to accommodate the greatest number
this winter, with a view to reaching all parts of the State during a series of years.
Applications should be senc to President Fairchild at as early a date as possible.
President Fairchild, in an article published in the Industrialist March 25, 1882,
speaking of the system of farmers' institutes, states that-
Since the middle of January members of the faculty have taken part in six such :
gatherings, besides those held annually, as heretofore, in Manhattan. In this way we
have met the prominent farmers of Clay, Cloud, Osage, Barton, Jackson, and Coffey
counties. For the next winter it is proposed to select six more counties from.
among those which apply first and can be readily reached and to hold in them better
institutes than the good ones of the first winter-better because experience will help
to better methods. The college will furnish, as in the past winter, three or more
speakers and pay their expenses, but will insist that each institute make provision for
at least half the speakers from among those interested in the immediate locality.
Up to 1890 the expense of farmers' institutes was met by appropriations made by the :
board of regents from the income fund. The cost varied from $123 to $490 per annum.
In 1899 the legislature made an appropriation of $2,000 for each of the next two fiscal
years, and this has been repeated by the two legislatures since then. The first two
years the amounts expended exceeded the appropriation, while for the other years a
balance has reverted to the treasury. These appropriations have greatly increased the ...,
number of institutes assisted. The largest numbers were held in the fiscal years end- -
ing June 30, 1900, and June 30, 1901, namely, 134 and 156, respectively. These large
numbers were made possible by arranging class work so that the members of the farm
department were entirely free from teaching duties during the fall months, and speak-
ing tours were arranged for them largely under the patronage of creamery companies.
In this way more meetings were held, but they were to a greater extent of the character
in which the local population did not contribute to the program excepting by partici- :';
pation in discussions. In the latest years the increase in students, and consequently
in the number of classes to be handled, has become a greater burden upon the teaching ..I
force, and this has reached a point where the farmers' institute work can not be .I
extended or even maintained without additions to the teaching force. While no
requests for institutes have been declined where the people themselves were prepar-
ing a program, efforts to extend the work and encourage the organization of institutes .
have not been made, or at all events to a very slight extent. If the college and station
force were of sufficient numbers topermit it, there is no doubt that the institute work
might be enormously and rapidly extended, especially if it were transformed into a
series of speaking tours in which the people of the localities visited participated only ii
POPERM ........i. -
as listeners or as questioners. There can 1h no doubt, however. that an institute to
do the most good must be one which trains and Ievelops the talent of the people of the
locality, enabling them to help each other. However capable a speaker from the
college may be, he often lacks the knowledge of local conditions necessary to make his
advice of the highest value.
SThe numbers of institutes held from 1881 to 1904 are as follows: 1881-82, 6; 1882-83,
S5; 1883-84, 7; 1884-85. 6; 1885-86, 6; 1886-87, 8; 1887-88, 8; 1888-89, 10; 1889-90, 8;
1890-91, 11; 1891-92, 11; 1892-93, 10; 1893-94, 17; 1894-95, 22; 1895-96, 22; 1896-97,
19; 1897-98, 29; 1898-99, 62; 1899-1900, 134; 1900-1901, 156; 1901-2, 102; 1902-3,
88; 1903-4, 58; 1904-5, 55.
The commissioner of agriculture of Kentucky in 1887, in his report to the governor,
states "that farmers' institutes are on the increase in Kentucky. These institutes, like
those organized by the educators of our youth, are directly in line of rapid and sub-
Previous to 1895 the commissioner of agriculture of Kentucky was appointed by the
governor. He was not allowed any assistance whatever in conducting his bureau
and only $2,000 was appropriated for all of the expenses of the department, except
salaries and the printing of the. biennial reports. The $2,000 as well as the salaries and
the cost of printing were drawn from the general funds of the State. As a result far-
mers' institutes as separate organizations were difficult to maintain. The commis-
sioner accordingly was compelled to hold his institutes in connection with the State
fair meetings or those of other agricultural and horticultural organizations. The work
so far as the department of agriculture was concerned was therefore necessarily con-
ducted under difficulties that limited its extent as well as affected its efficiency.
The first commissioner of agriculture chosen by the people was elected in November,
1895. Under the new constitution the newly-elected commissioner was allowed an
appropriation of $13,000 for the running of the department, and an assistant was fur-
nished at a salary of $1,200 a year. All salaries of the department, however, and the
cost of printing the biennial reports, as well as all other expenses of the bureau, came
out of this fund. Mr. Moore, who was the first commissioner elected by the people,
was enabled from this increased appropriation to widen the scope of the work of the
department by holding farmers' institutes. Institutes accordingly were held in sev-
eral of the counties of the State that year and a considerable number of farmers' clubs
were organized. The work thus begun would no doubt have proved very fruitful, as
the people were just beginning to manifest an interest in it, but during the latter part
of that administration there occurred a political upheaval that practically destroyed
all the work of institute organization that had been accomplished. The farmers' clubs
went to pieces and the farmers of the State generally lost interest in agricultural
This state of affairs continued up to the beginning of the next administration, Sep-
tember, 1900, when Colonel Nall, the new commissioner, using the remnants of the
clubs as a nucleus, began the work of reorganization. Some difficulty was encountered
in securing the interest of the people in the movement, but after a good deal of effort
more than twenty clubs were organized and the holding of institutes was begun. Some
very successful meetings were held in the various counties and they were attended
with good results. During the session of the legislature of 1902 the law governing this
bureau was changed, but, fortunately, the change did not materially affect the institute
work. By this act a labor inspector, with an assistant, were added to the department,
as well as the administration of the child-labor law. The salaries of these inspectors
Were directed to be paid from the annual appropriation of $13,000, but to offset this the
S legislature had the cost of printing the biennial reports removed from this appropria-
tion and charged to the general fund, thus preserving the amount that had annually
been appropriated to the farmers' institute work unimpaired.
The methods employed at present in this State are somewhat different from those of.
many other States. There is no such thing as a "State farmers' institute" in Ken-.
tucky. The method of organization begins with the county club, which is organized
under rules laid down by the department of agriculture. No club is recognized with
a membership of less than 20, and after its organization the secretary is required to file.
a list of all of the officers and members of the club with this bureau. A State lecturer
and organizer is constantly engaged in forming these clubs. After their organization
he explains what is expected of the club and suggests a line of work for it. The club
is then in a position to apply for a date for a farmers' institute. It becomes the duty
of the club to make out its own local program, sample programs having been furnished
by the bureau at Frankfort. This is in order to arouse local interest thruout the com-
munity and to bring out and develop local talent. After the local speakers have been
assigned the program is forwarded to the State commissioner of agriculture, who adds
such other lecturers as he wishes. The experiment station at Lexington aims to send
one or more representatives to each institute, and as their lectures are thoroly practical
as well as scientific they are appreciated by the farmers and their questions and din- ::
cussion of the points presented are always interesting and instructive.
For the first time in the history of the department an effort will be made the coming
year (1905) to hold meetings in series, using as far as practicable the same corps of
special lecturers in each series. The State is much in need of more institutes and is i
prepared to give greater attention to their development than has been done hereto-
fore. Many farmers are loth to give up antiquated ideas of farming and hesitate about
trying new crops even when it is clear that the old crops do not pay, and are slow to
take up new and scientific methods notwithstanding the fact that the old methods have
While farmers' institute work in this State is comparatively new, the citizens are
gradually becoming interested. One noticeable feature is the willingness on the part
of the farmers to take an active part in the meetings. Where a few years ago it was :i
difficult to secure local lecturers there now is not a county in the State where a farmers' :~
club has been organized and where the farmers have learned the value of cooperating
with the department of agriculture, in which there is experienced any difficulty in
securing persons to read papers or make extemporaneous talks at the institutes.
The first successful effort to organize farmers' institutes in Louisiana was made
immediately after the creation of the board of institute managers, December 10, 1896. i
In a report of the bureau of agriculture for December, 1896, the commissioner states:
At a recent meeting of the bureau of agriculture and immigration it was determined "
to inaugurate during the year an active system of farmers' institutes. Thomas D.
Boyd, president of the Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical il
College; W. C. Stubbs, director of the Louisiana experiment stations, and J. G. Lee,
commissioner of agriculture and immigration, are named as the board of institute il
managers, the commissioner being named as institute conductor.
During the following year (1897) 27 institutes were held thruout the parishes of i
southwest and north Louisiana. These institutes, altho the first ever held in the
State, were well received, and much interest was manifested, as is shown by the
attendance which amounted to something over 3,000 that year. The teaching in
the institutes was performed by a corps of experienced instructors drawn from the
University and the Agricultural and Mechancial College, and from the State experi-
ment stations, assisted by some of the most successful farmers. There were also a
number of lecturers from other States.
The meetings were strictly agricultural, the papers and discussions being confined
as far as possible to matters relating directly to the interests of farming people. The:
work thus begun under most encouraging and favorable auspices promised from it% .:..!j
incipiency to become an important factor in bringing about a change from the old one-
S crop method that had prevailed to that of diversified agriculture.
The second year of the farmers' institutes was equally encouraging. Twenty-eight
were held, and every institute was well attended. In many places where the insti-
tutes had planned for but a single day they were continued for two days at the urgent
, solicitation of the people of the community in which they were held. The legisla-
S ture from the first responded with considerable generosity by making an appropria-
tion of $1,500 per annum in support of the work, and as it developed in interest and
value increased the amount to $2,000 per annum. Bulletins containing the pro-
ceedings of the various institutes are annually published and distributed. These
publications have been found to be valuable aids in educating the farmers as well as
in encouraging them to adopt better methods in cultivation and in increasing their
appreciation of the institute work.
That the institute is not a passing fad or mere temporary excitement is evidenced
not only by the steady annual increase in attendance, and the frequent calls that come
from all parts of the State for the appointment of more meetings, but also by the
practical demonstrations which the farmers themselves furnish, exhibited in the
numerous instances of the successful growing of a variety of crops thru systematic
rotation,.in the employment of better methods of culture, and in the planting and
growing of more "food" crops for home use.
The outlook for the continued success of the work is very encouraging. The legis-
lature at its next session will in all probability increase the appropriation for insti-
tute purposes sufficiently to enable the State director to broaden and extend his
institutes so as to carry meetings into all of the parishes of the State.
The first movement looking toward concerted action for the improvement of agri-
culture in Maine was in 1787, but it was not until 1832 that the industry was recog-
nized by act of assembly framed specially to encourage farm life and work. The act
referred to provided for the payment of premiums to the various agricultural societies
"for the introducing or improvement of any breed of cattle useful to the State or any
.tools or implements of husbandry or manufacture, introducing or preserving any
valuable trees, shrubs, or plants, or in any way encouraging or advancing any of the
departments of agriculture, horticulture, or manufacture."
The leaders of that early period realized not only that agriculture was an important
industry, but they also were convinced that the best way of developing it was by
encouraging the individual farmers, and thus premiums for superiority in production
were awarded by the State. The payment of the premiums, however, were condi-
tioned upon the exhibitor first delivering to the society a statement in writing specify-
ing in detail "the kind and quality of dressing used upon the land, the course pursued
in using same, the kind of.soil cultivated, with such other facts as may be deemed
These reports by exhibitors were gathered and preserved, and many of them were
published in the columns of the Maine Farmer, the agricultural and home paper of
S the State, founded in 1833 by Ezekiel Holmes, of Winthrop, the first secretary of the
board of agriculture and a man of rare insight and profound learning, who devoted his
life to arousing love for the farm and a desire for education in agriculture.
Thruout the State these statements were taken up by farmers' clubs, then quite
common, and discust by men trained to think for themselves in the hard school of
daily experience. The enthusiasm for agriculture then kindled has never been
In 1852, chiefly thru the influence of Doctor Holmes, then a member of the legisla-
S ture, the State board of agriculture was established, but it was not until 1880 that the
legislature made provision for the holding of farmers' institutes. The sum appro
priated, however, was so small, $1,400 annually, that the work planned could noi::ii
have been carried forward but for the self-sacrificing labor and devotion of those whot"
literally "went about doing good," with no thought of recompense. These earlier:
lectures by the leaders constitute to-day the best agricultural literature of the Statea..
Prior to this date summer meetings for farmers had been held and much individual
work done, without compensation, so that when the regular institute came the State
was ready for the movement, and from the beginning good audiences greeted the
From the first the secretary of the State board of agriculture has been the captain
in command, directing the lines of work by personal contact with the farmers of
the State. Both day and evening sessions were planned for, and as the State law
requires, at least two institutes have been held yearly in each of the counties of
the State. These meetings have gradually grown to be among the most important of
any held within our borders.
The annual reports of the board of agriculture from 1855 to 1902, and of the depart-
ment of agriculture since that date, 5,000 copies of which are distributed yearly among
the farmers of Maine, have given those who have preserved the volumes an agricul-
tural library of inestimable value, and also a complete history of the growth of the
industry. The papers and addresses which they contain are by the most able and
conscientious men of the State, and for breadth of thought, clearness of expression,
and spirit of loyalty to the agricultural interests are unsurpassed.
In 1901 a complete change occurred in the administration of the agricultural affairs
of the State. The legislature abolished the old board and created a department of
agriculture, with a commissioner in charge. The new department was given perma- :
nent quarters in the statehouse, the salary of the commissioner was increased from
$600 annually to $1,500, and his entire time was expected to be given to the duties of
his office. Along with this, the sum appropriated for farmers' institutes was increased
to $3,000 per year. For awhile instead of but two institutes being held yearly in each :.
county, as the law prescribed, an attempt was made to multiply the number by hold-
ing single sessions in adjoining towns at the same time that the main institute was in I
progress. This was soon abandoned. The dividing of the lecture force, which this .
new method required, weakened the central meeting and did not correspondingly aid
the other localities visited.
About fifty institutes are held each year. The past few years show an annual
increase of over 20 per cent in the attendance, and the year 1904 just closed shows an
increase of 10 per cent over any previous year. The general custom has been to employ '1
on the lecture corps one speaker from out of the State and two practical, experienced 'j
men, of recognized ability and standing, in the State. These, with the commissioner,
constitute the teaching force, the commissioner personally taking charge and directing .;.
every session. Institutes are held consecutively, county after county being visited :
until the entire State has been covered. The dates and subjects to be discuss are
fixt by the commissioner, after consultation with representative farmers in each i
During recent years the Grange in Maine has been growing rapidly, erecting commo-
dious and attractive halls in every part of the State, and devoting itself largely to edn-
cational work with special reference to the improvement of rural life and to the general: ::
upbuilding of agriculture. The result has been that greater interest is being mai-
fested in the institutes than formerly, and the institute lecturers now find themrselv:iies
compelled to make more thoro preparation for their work than was necessary in th:ien::i:
past, in order that their audiences may be satisfied with the teaching and the hil:i
level of the institutes he maintained. Many of the meetings are held in Grange ha J"ii
These buildings are all equipped with dining rooms and kitchens. There are
stables for horses, so that man and team are provided for and made comfortable. T Aj
S lecturer, therefore, at one of these Grange centers is sure to have a comfortable place
in which to speak and to have a wide-awake and intelligent audience, prompt to dis-
cuss his statements and ready to question.
The interest now manifested by country people in all lines of agricultural produc-
S tion, as stock husbandry, orcharding, small-fruit culture, etc., as well as relating to
the subjects of good roads and agricultural education, will require that the institutes
S be further developed to meet the expanding needs of farmers in these and other
More institutes, better teaching, accompanied by practical demonstration in stable
and field, is the demand of the farmer for the years to come.
The history of the farmers' institute work in Maryland begins with an organization
S of farmers effected at Brooke Grove, March 6, 1844, at the residence of George E. Brooke,
and known as the Farmers' Club of Sandy Spring. Two farmers, Benjamin Hallo-
S well and Richard T. Bentley, both of Sandy Spring, Montgomery County, imprest
with the need of periodical meetings where neighboring farmers might exchange views
and report the result of their experience and observation in their farm practise, agreed
S to invite the farmers of their community to meet for the purpose of forming an associ-
ation which should hold stated meetings for the discussion of agricultural subjects and
operations in which they were interested. The result was the meeting referred to and
the organization of the Farmers' Club, with Henry Farquhar as secretary. The mem-
Sbership included the most prominent and successful farmers of that community.
It is remarkable that from 1844, the date of its organization, to 1905 the club has met
' at the regularly appointed times, with only six omissions. Full minutes, showing the
transactions of each meeting, have been faithfully kept during this period of over sixty
years. The following constitution and by-laws of this club are unique in being models
of brevity and comprehensiveness: "We adopt for our government no rules or regu-
lations other than those which should always prevail in good society."
H. J. Patterson, director of the Maryland Experiment Station, in a paper read before
the Vansville Club of Prince George County, quotes the text of a bill by S. D. Coad,
of St. Mary County, introduced in the general assembly in 1847, making provision
-for a State laboratory, and which past that body December 18, 1847. The bill, in
prescribing the duties of a chemist, provides, section 5:
That it shall be his further duty to deliver one public lecture after having given
timely notice thereof in each election district in each county, and then to deliver a
course of public lectures at each county town and at some central place in Baltimore
County, having given also sufficient notice thereof in each election district; and he
shall permit the clerk of the levy court, or the commissioners of the tax, as the case
may be, to take a copy of such course of lectures to be retained and kept for the use
and benefit of the county, and published by said levy court or commissioners of the
tax, if to them it shall seem expedient.
In January, 1866, the Enterprise Farmers' Club and in 1872 the Montgomery Farm-
ers' Club were also orgainzed in this same community. With the cooperation and sup-
port of these clubs the farmers' convention of Sandy Spring holds annually a meeting
at which there are present hundreds of citizens from all parts of the State. These clubs,
aided by the influence of the annual convention referred to, have done much for the
securing of legislation in aid of the agricultural interests of the State.
It is a disputed question as to which particular club or Grange organization is
entitled to the honor of first suggesting the formation of a State department of farmers'
institutes, but the credit for having. a bill enacted and approved by the governor
unquestionably belongs to the Vansville Fanrers' Club of Prince George County.
This act was past March 27, 1896, and creates a department of farmers' institutes in
the Maryland Agricultural College.
When the draft of the law was first discust before the Vansville Club there was a *
difference of opinion as to the form which it should assume. Mr. George E. Lowrey ...
made a strong plea for the establishing of a department of agriculture for the State
and committing the institute work to it. This was opposed by President Silvester,
of the Maryland Agricultural College, who maintained that the agricultural interests
of the State should be vested in its agricultural college and experiment station.
The act of legislature finally agreed upon and afterwards enacted is substantially asi.
That one institute shall be held each year in each county of the State and an addi-
tional one if deemed necessary and desirable.
That the institutes shall be under the direction of a director appointed by the trus-
tees of the Maryland Agricultural College. The salary of the director is to be fixt
and his duties defined by the said board.
That the institute shall be a department of the college and that the salary of the
director and the expense of the institutes shall be paid out of the annual appropriation
of $3,000, which the act provide es.a
Altho this act was not approved until March 27, 1896, there was held at Annapolis,
January 14, 1896, under the auspices of the Vansville Farmers' Club, an institute which
was the first farmers' institute, as that term is now understood, held in the State of Mary-
land. Since that time the work has expanded until it now extends to every county in
At a meeting of the board of trustees of the Marylan'd Agricultural College, held June,
1896, William Lee Amoss, of Harford County, Md., who had for nine years acted as secre-
tary for the Harford County Farmers' Convention, an offspring of the Montgomery
County Convention, was elected director of farmers' institutes under authority of the
act of assembly of March 27, 1896. Mr. Amoss is still director of farmers' institutes for the
Farmers' institute work in Maryland has steadily grown in favor, altho at first it was
regarded by some of the counties as a doubtful acquisition to the existing system of edu-
cation. At present the opposition has been overcome and the institutes are welcomed
by the farmers as affording a means of instruction that has been found to be of great serv-.
ice in aiding them to a better understanding of their art. The high plane on which the
work began has never been lowered, but has been fully maintained, and the movement
has secured the active cooperation of the leaders in agriculture in every county of the
In telling the story of the farmers' institute movement in Massachusetts justice would
not be done to the sterling record of that Commonwealth in this line of work if the account
did not go back of the actual establishment of the farmers' institutes, denominated as
such, and pay some attention to the first stirring of thought and awakening of effort
among the farmers and agricultural organizations of the State.
At the first meeting of the trustees of the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agricul-
ture, the fourth agricultural society to be organized in this country, held August 3,1792,
a vote was past recommending that members of the society in different parts of the
State should meet from time to time. inviting their neighbors to join them, for constita-
tion and discussions relating to agriculture, with a view to the gathering of information
useful in the work of the society. Presumably such meetings were held, altho the early
records, from the nature of the case, are meager in the extreme, and I can find no con-
firmation of that opinion. Certain it is that here was the germ of the farmers' institute
movement and there are but few, if any, earlier recorded expressions of opinion or rec-
ommendations for action that look toward meetings for agricultural discussion.
An interesting secondary phase in the development of the movement for agricultural
instruction by lectures and discussions is that of the lectures or addresses on agricultural
a See U. S. Dept. Agr., Office of Experiment Stations Bul. 135 (Revised), p: 18.
topics which were delivered before the agricultural societies at their annual exhibitions.
The first printed lecture of which record has been found was that delivered before the
Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture, at the Brighton Cattle Show, October
13, 1818, by J. Lowell, which is about twenty pages in length and very agricultural in
its nature. Many such addresses of later date are found on record, and while these
Meetings were not called farmers' institutes it was perhaps because that term had not yet
been hit upon as a means of designation.
The Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture was established in April, 1852, and at its
third meeting, held on September 7 of that year, a committee was appointed on the best
means of promoting agriculture in the State by means of public lectures. At a subse-
quent meeting, held December 1, 1852, this committee submitted a report favoring the
S calling of the attention of the people to the importance of having lectures on agriculture
form a part of the course of all lyceums and similar associations in the rural districts of the
Commonwealth. This report was accepted and a committee appointed, which later,
thru the agricultural papers, issued a notice calling the attention of those interested in
agriculture to the subject.
At the next meeting of the board, January 12, 1853, Doctor Hitchcock, of Amherst Col-
S lege, having been previously requested to present his views on some topic connected
with the improvement of agriculture, read a paper on "Farmers' institutes." In this
paper he said that he had attended teachers' institutes and had been imprest with the
influence which they exert and suggested that we should have farmers' institutes as
ell, outlining some subjects which they might very profitably consider.
The matter seems to have been dropt there foi the time, but in 1859 a committee
was appointed to consider and report upon the propriety of instituting meetings similar to
In the autumn of 1863 the first three-day meeting of the State board of agriculture for
lectures and discussions was held, and these meetings have been a yearly feature of the
work of this board down to the present day. They fill the place to a certain degree
which is occupied in many States by the annual or "round-up institute, so called, but
have no connection with the farmers' institutes themselves, which are held by the agri-
cultural societies and the expenses of which are paid from other appropriations. The
S lectures and discussions at these meetings are printed in the annual report of the board,
and every effort is made to have speakers of the highest rank and authority on their
i The next action of the board was at the annual meeting in 1878, when it was voted that
S societies receiving bounty from the Commonwealth be requested to arrange one or more
farmers' institutes each year within their limits, and that they be informed that the
board will render all the assistance in their power to make such institutes interesting
The Hingham Agricultural and Horticultural Society had already begun to hold such
meetings, the first being held on November 17, 1858, the subject being "The present
condition of agriculture in Hingham and the best means of awakening a greater interest
in the same." It would seem as if such a discussion might be of benefit in many sections
even in this year of the twentieth century.
On February 6, 1879, the previous vote of the board was amended so that the societies
were "required" instead of "requested" to hold these institutes, and the number was
changed from one to three each. These early meetings were addrest by members of
the board, whose traveling and necessary expenses were paid by the State, no appro-
priation being available for the payment of institute workers until 1888. It appears
from the statements of the representatives of the societies the following year that every
society in the State had held at least three institutes, while many had greatly exceeded
the required number, but they appear to have been allowed to lapse, for in 1887 it was
moved that the rule requiring them to be held be enforced. This motion was adopted
after discussion and a committee appointed to consider the whole subject and report at.-l
the county meeting of the board in December.
This committee subsequently submitted a lengthy report, the most important
feature of which was the recommendation that the secretary of the board ask of the
State an appropriation of $1,000, to be expended under the permission bf the statute
giving the secretary of the board of agriculture authority to employ lecturers and
agents to speak to-the farmers and organize farmers' clubs. The general court of the
following year granted an appropriation of $1,000 for this purpose, thus placing the
institute work on a stable basis. From that time to the present day the work has
continued, increasing in importance and broadening in scope from year to year, and in
no year has any society been allowed to evade the requirement of the board that at-
least three farmers' institutes shall be held.
The appropriation for the work has been increased from time to time as circum-
stances seemed to call for it, and the legislature was moved with the spirit of liberality
toward the farming interests until it is now fixt at the sum of $2,700 per annum.
Only a part of this appropriation is used for the institute work, however, it being made
for the "dissemination of useful information in agriculture," and a considerable por-
tion of it being devoted to the issuing of crop reports, special bulletins, nature leaflets,
etc. Generally speaking, about $1,800 is expended in institute work. When the
appropriation was materially increased two years ago, it was hoped that a greater num-
ber of institutes might be held, but a new contract with the State printers increased
the cost of printing by about 20 per cent, which left the appropriation available for
institute work at about the former rate, so that while the work has not decreased in
importance it has not been broadened or increased to the degree that was planned for.
The farmers' institutes of Massachusetts, as above indicated, are based on the agri-
cultural societies and held by them, these societies being required to pay the expenses
of advertising the meetings and to pay for the hall, where payment is necessary, and
for heating and lighting the same. The State thru the board of agriculture pays
for the compensation and expenses of the speaker, $10 having been fixt as compen-
sation for each lecture. Many of the societies hold all-day meetings, with two sessions
and two lectures, the second one sometimes from a local speaker and sometimes by
the speaker furnished by the State, the speaker donating his services or the society
giving him extra compensation, as the kindness of the speaker or the financial con-
dition of the society may allow.
The institutes are not entirely confined to the agricultural societies, the secretary of
the board being empowered to give institutes to other associations of an agricultural
nature where the section is not properly covered by one of the incorporated agricul-
tural societies, of which power he avails himself to a considerable extent, so that no-
section of the State where meetings of this character are desired need go unprovided for.
Upward of 100 institutes are held each year, with an average attendance of about
100 persons at each meeting. Probably there is no State in the Union where so many.
meetings are held in proportion to the area of the State, tho that assertion can not
be made absolute without a more careful investigation. The system seems the one
best adapted to the needs of the people of this State, as it combines home rule with
central supervision. A list of speakers, with their subjects, is printed each year, from
which the societies are expected to make their selections, no speaker not upon that
list being engaged for a meeting until the secretary of the board is fully satisfied as to
-his fitness for the work. On this list are the professors at the agricultural colleges and
the workers at the experiment stations of this and neighboring States, together with
practical farmers of proven excellence as speakers and instructors. No person is
admitted to the list until the committee in charge of the work is satisfied as to his or
her fitness to address such meetings, both as to subject-matter and method of delivery.
Whether the future will bring a closer departmental control of the institutes is a -:
question for future consideration. There are certain obvious advantages in more rigid :
control, but such control would call for largely increased appropriations and might
possibly also result in a falling off of interest by offending the conservatism of the
farmers who have a sturdy independence which calls for a large voice in the manage-
ment of all matters connected with their interests.
The farmers' institute movement started in Michigan in 1875, as a result of con-
ference of members of the faculty of the Michigan Agricultural College. President
T. C. Abbot, Robert C. Kedzie, W. J. Beal, A. J. Cook, and R. C. Carpenter were
among those present. Believing that it would be to the interest both of the college
and of the farmers to establish closer relations and to come together for the discussion
of topics of mutual interest, a request was made of the State board of agriculture for an
appropriation to pay for the expenses of such a series of meetings. The appropriation
was granted and the first meetings were held at Allegan and Romeo in January, 1876.
The speakers were supplied from the faculty of the college, and the attendance and
interest were so satisfactory that similar meetings have been held each year since that
date. For some twelve years the number of regular institutes numbered only six
annually, and each member of the college faculty was expected to attend two institutes.
The calls for institutes increased until it was determined to hold a larger number each
year, and about 1891 the number was increased to twenty-two. Previous to that time
the work of arranging institutes has been attended to by the secretary of the college
and by members of the faculty. The preliminary correspondence was carried on by
the secretary, and after the places for the meetings had been determined each of the
institutes was placed in the hands of a member of the college faculty, whose duty it
became to "work up" the meeting. As a rule, the places were visited, and at a pre-
liminary meeting a local committee was appointed to take charge of the arrangements
for the meeting. Topics were selected for the State speakers, and local talent enlisted
to furnish one or more papers for each session, as well as music and recitations. The
conductor also looked after the itinerary of the State speakers and saw that hotel
accommodations were secured and that proper local arrangements were made.
When the number of institutes was increased the general charge of the work was
placed in the hands of A. C. Glidden, who was at the time a member of the State
board of agriculture. The interest in institute work increased until in 1895 the State
made an appropriation of $5,000 annually for farmers' institutes, and the State board of
agriculture deemed it wise to appoint a special superintendent of institutes and selected
Kenyon L. Butterfield for the purpose. Mr. Butterfield was also given charge of the
college-extension work and advertising. The law under which the appropriation was
made provided that a two-day institute should be held in each of the counties which
S requested one and which organized an institute society. It also gave the board of
agriculture authority to hold a number of one-day institutes. As originally past, the
law provided that in case a county institute society did not care to accept the
speakers furnished by the board of agriculture an allowance of $25 should be made for
the payment of the expenses of an institute to be held in the county. This was
repealed by the next legislature, however, and at the present time only the per diem
and traveling expenses of the State speakers who attend the institutes are paid.
When the number of institutes was increased, the faculty of the college was no
longer able to carry on the institute work without assistance, especially as in 1895, the
college year, which previously provided for a winter vacation, was changed so that the
long vacation came in the summer. It therefore became necessary to secure a con-
siderable number of speakers in addition to the assistance that could be furnished by
the members of the faculty. For the most part, the speakers chosen were successful
farmers and fruit growers. In order that he might be sure that the speakers carried
out in practise what they advocated in their addresses, the superintendent visited
them in their homes and looked into the methods used by them. It was also found
possible to enlist in the work a number of the faculty of the State University and normal
schools. For the first year the per diem of the regular speakers was $3, in addition to
railroad and hotel bills, but one year later the sum was increased to $4 per day for those
who acted as conductors of institutes, and it has since been increased to $5 after a speaker
has spent one season in institute work. Contrary to the custom in many other States,
no one who is in the regular employ of the State of Michigan can draw a per diem for
The increased appropriation made it possible to hold some 50 institutes annually, in
addition to a four-day round-up. Several one-day institutes were also held. These
were attended by but one speaker and were frequently arranged in connection with a
farmers' picnic during the summer months. Finally, in 1899, the annual appropria-
tion was increased to $7,500, and this made it possible to still further increase the num-
ber of one-day institutes. In' 1903-4 some 70 two-day institutes and 221 one-day
meetings were held. For the most part the two-day institutes were held in some town
near the center of the county or at some point that could be readily reached by the
railroads. In some counties it has been thought advisable to hold a'meeting at the
same point year after year, but in others it has been found better to change the meeting
point each year. The one-day institutes are held in the smaller towns, frequently in a
Grange hall or schoolhouse, and as they are usually held two or three weeks in advance
of the two-day institute, they act as feeders for it, and serve to bring out many persons
who would not be able to attend the two-day meeting.
For the two-day institutes the smallest number of persons furnished is three, one of
whom is a woman, who speaks in the general sessions of the meeting upon topics relating
to poultry raising, butter making, education, and other topics that would be of general
interest, and who acts as conductor and speaks at a special woman's section, which is
generally held the second afternoon of the institute. These women's sections have
met with much favor, and in very few cases does it happen that when they have once
been held in a county it is voted to discontinue them. It is found advisable in some
instances, and especially in counties in the southern part of the State, to furnish lec-
turers upon topics relating to good roads, farm law, veterinary science, education, and
other topics that can not be treated by the average institute worker.
Unlike the custom in many of the States, an endeavor is made to make the people feel
that it is" their" institute. The local arrangements are made by the executive officers
of the county institute society, and the county secretary attends to securing local talent
for the program and looks after the advertising. As a rule, the time is about equally
divided between the State and local speakers, and ample opportunity is afforded after
each paper for questions and discussion.
The interest in institute work in Michigan is on the increase; and altho the funds will
only permit the holding of an average of 3 one-day institutes in each county, a large
number of counties ask for from 8 to 10, and others would hold from 12. to 20 could a
State speaker be furnished them. The success of an institute in almost any of the
counties depends to a large extent on the thoroness with which it has been advertised ;
and "worked up." As this is in the hands of the county secretary, it can be said that
the success of the institutes in the given county will depend to a large extent upon the
efficiency of the man selected to act as secretary of the institute society for that county.
At the close of the institute season a report is published giving the organization of the
various institute societies and a report of the work for the year. The proceedings of the
round-up institute are usually published in full, and frequently space is given for
printing some of the papers read at county institutes. These reports are mailed to all
who have become members of the county institute societies, as well as to libraries,
newspapers, and to farmers who may apply for them.
It may be further stated that, altho they were not called farmers' institutes, the
Michigan legislature in 1861 past a law providing for lecturers upon farm topics to others
than the students of the agricultural college. Michigan was also the first to make an
appropriation for farmers' institutes, as well as the first to establish a permanent insti-
tute system. It is also the only State that has held farmers' institutes continuously
for the past twenty-eight years.
Farmers' institutes were not held in the State under the auspices of any governing
board nor were they supported by State funds until the year 1886. Prior to that date
the efforts that had been made to bring the farmers in touch with a higher agricultural
education and with improved methods of farming had not been successful in any
marked degree. They looked at such an education and at such methods with suspicion
and kept themselves and their sons at what they considered a safe distance from it.
The agricultural branch of the university languished. Overshadowed by ihe luxuri-
ance of the other branches, it could scarcely be seen. The university was virtually with-
out agricultural students. The farmers were not only not in sympathy with such an
institution, but a majority of them were hostile to it. In a word, a great gulf existed
between them and the higher education offered to their sons by the university. Before
anything could be done this gulf must be bridged over. The necessity for such a
bridge had much to do with the origination of the farmers' institute in Minnesota.
Hon. H. E. Hoard, of Montevideo, was among the first to agitate in favor of farmers'
institutes in the State. In 1883 the annual meeting of the Northwestern Dairyman's
Association was held in Mankato. It was at that meeting that Mr. Hoard, A. H. Reid,
Sof Glencoe, and P. B. Nettleton, of Montevideo, became imbued with the idea that
farmers' meetings of some kind should be called occasionally in various parts of the
State for the discussion of topics relating to the farm. Meetings were held at Monte-
video and Glencoe, respectively, in 1884, 1885, and 1886. A bill was introduced into
the legislature of 1885 to appropriate $5,000 annually to sustain the institutes, but it
failed to pass. In 1886 a series of farmers' institutes was inaugurated by the agricul-
tural committee of the board of regents. Profs. E. Porter and 0. C. Gregg were the
chief speakers at these meetings. As the students had failed to attend the agricultural
classes at the university, Professor Porter conceived the idea of going out among the
farmers and holding meetings in their midst. It was in support of this idea that an
appropriation of $1,000 was made by the agriculLural committee of the university board
of regents to defray the expenses of the thirty-one institutes held in 1886. Many of
these meetings were in connection with county fairs, a most unsuitable place for hold-
ing institutes, as has since been proved by experience. Meanwhile Mr. Gregg had
been accustomed to hold wha4 may be termed little institutes of his own at certain
fairs which he chanced to attend. They were convened in the open air, somewhere
near the cattle sheds. The theme was dairying, and more especially the dairy cow.
Ex-Governor Pillsbury, endeavoring to solve the problem of interesting the farmers
in higher education in agriculture, heard of this work and after a conference with
Mr. Gregg, requested his assistance in the work of establishing farmers' institutes in
In February, 1887, Hon. H. E. Hoard, at that time a State senator, introduced intk
the legislature a bill providing for the continuance and maintenance of the farmers'
institute. The bill was championed in the house by the Hon. W. R. Estes, of Madelia.
The bill, as finally past, provided that $7,500 per annum should be devoted to farmers'
In 1889 the annual appropriation for institutes was increased to $10,000; in 1895 to
$12,500; later to $13,500; then to $16,500; and in 1904. it was made $18,000 per year.
*.. The members of the first board of control were H. H. Sibley, president board of
regents; D. L. Kiehle, secretary board of regents; W. R. Merriam, president State
Agricultural Society; W. H. Denny, secretary State Agricultural Society; S. M.
Emery, president State Dairy Association; Frank D. Holmes, secretary State Dairy
Association; E. H. Atwood, president State Farmers' Alliance; Eric Olson, secretary
State Farmers' Alliance; Wyman Elliott, president State Horticultural Society. ,
The membership of the board was subsequently modified, so that it now consists of
three members chosen from the State board of regents, and of the presiding officers of .i
the State Agricultural Society, of the State Horticultural Society, and of the State
Dairy Association. The regents on the board are appointed by the president of the
board of regents. This board of administration appoints the superintendent and
assistant superintendent of institutes from year to year and defines their duties. They
map out the course and location of the meetings that shall be held during the season.
The details of this work are left with the superintendent.
In April, 1887, Mr. Gregg was chosen superintendent and was given entire charge of
the work. The only restrictions put upon him were to counsel in a general way with
the board of control then established, as to when the institutes would be held, to report
progress at stated times, and to account in the customary way for the money used.
In determining where institutes shall be held due regard is had, first, to the needs of
the locality; second, to convenience and economy in money and time when traveling
from one institute to another; third, to the response on the part of the farmers at pre-
vious institutes that have been held there; and, fourth, to the urgency of the requests
for institutes that have been made by letter or otherwise to the proper parties. These
requests should be addrest to the superintendent or to the chairman of the board of
The winter circuit of the institutes usually begins with December and ends with
March. The summer circuit commonly begins in the closing days of May and termi-
nates with July. As there are more than eighty counties in the State, it is not possible,
as at present conducted, to hold an institute in each county every year.
The superintendent maps out, for submission to the board of administration, the
institute circuit for the season and arranges the details of the institute meetings. He
edits the Institute Annual, signs all checks for institute expenses, and reports to the
board of administration from time to time the condition and progress of the institute
The institutes are advertised by means of posters, handbills, and fly sheets. Prior ..
to the issuing of these an advance agent is sent out to visit the various localities desiring
institutes. If the way is clear for the locating of the institute at a given point, the
advance agent selects a suitable hall and secures the cooperation of the business men
of the locality in advertising the meetings.
The institute teaching force is selected with great care. Only those who have
shown capacity to instruct are permitted to lecture. Charts, models, a cooking outfit,
dairy apparatus, portable blackboard, etc., for illustrative purposes are provided by
The sessions of the winter institutes were formerly continued for two days. This has -
been modified until now by far the largest number are one-day institutes. The sum- a
mer meetings usually begin about May 20 and extend thru June. These are all one-
day meetings and are made up of two sessions.
A feature of the institute in Minnesota is the use of the living animal on the platform
for illustrative purposes in lecturing upon animal-husbandry topics. In summer these
demonstrations are frequently held in the street.
The attendance at the Minnesota meetings has always been very large. As many as
1,200 persons have been present in a single day. The total number for the year 1904, 1
present at the 154 institutes held was over 46,000.
A great deal of attention has been paid by the institute board to giving instruction in
the breeding, feeding,. and handling of dairy herds, as well as in the manufacture of j
In 1890 a cooking school was made an adjunct of the institute work. Good cooking .
is now taught in the Minnesota institutes as regularly as good farming. Charts, show-
ing the composition of foods, are used by the demonstrators to show how balanced food
rations may be constructed.
At every institute held in Minnesota there is at least one address given on the work
of the college of agriculture of the State. The college is thus brought to the attention
of farming people in a way that interests and informs them and enables them to become
personally acquainted with many of the professors who are engaged in giving instruc-
tion in agriculture in the institution. The work of the agricultural experiment station
S is likewise referred to and the main features of its operations explained.
The Institute Annual is an important educational feature of the Minnesota institutes.
It is a book of about 300 pages, composed of addresses by the institute lecturers and
articles contributed by experts upon various agricultural subjects. The book is
edited by the superintendent of institutes and copies are distributed at the institute
meetings of the succeeding season. The edition numbers 30,000.
The first appropriation for farmers' institute work in Mississippi was made in 1900,
when the legislature appropriated $1,000 for the years 1900 and 1901. When this
appropriation was made the institute work was well established. In 1899, 28 institutes
were held, in 1895, 18 institutes were held, and in 1897, 15. Prior to this time only
4 to 5 institutes were held each year, beginning in 1884.
Where an institute was held without any other attraction-such, for example, as a
barbecue or picnic-50 to 100 farmers were usually in attendance, but in some cases,
especially for the first institute, as many as 400 or 500 people would attend. As an
average result each institute reached about 75 or 80 farmers, and where some social
feature was associated with the meeting the total attendance was from 200 to 500 and,
in a few cases, perhaps 1,000. The few institutes that were held from 1884 to 1888
were usually accompanied by some social feature, such as a barbecue or picnic. They
were largely attended, and the expenses of such speakers as went from the college were
paid out of college funds.
After the establishment of the experiment station in 1888 station funds were used
to defray the expenses incurred for holding institutes until the legislature made the
:: first appropriation, referred to above.
Up to 1904 the legislature has made three appropriations for holding farmers' insti-
tutes, covering a period of six years. The second appropriation was $3,000 and the
third $6,000. The latter appropriation is still available for the work of the next two
With increased appropriations more institutes have been held each season, and the
average attendance has increased to some extent. In 1903, 107 institutes were held,
and the estimated attendance was 11,326. Forty institutes were held in 1901 and 58
At first the institutes were very often continued for three days. Two-day institutes,
however, were most common until 1898, since which time one-day meetings have been
regarded as better, tho a number of communities continue to express a desire for
two-day sessions. Most of the institutes have been held during July and August.
The work is under the immediate direction of the president of the Agricultural and
Institute work in Mississippi has accomplished great good. It is causing the farmer
to think, observe, and, to some extent, to read. It has brought the college, the station,
and the farmers closer together, so that they know each other better. As the attend-
ance at the institutes has increased so the number of students at the college has multi-
plied, and the bulletin mailing list has grown larger.
The farmers' institute as an organized educational institution, as well as all other
organized agencies for the advancement of agricultural development and education
in Missouri, are so closely identified with and have been so largely promoted and "i
developed by the State board of agriculture that in recording the history of farmers'
institutes in this State it is necessary to consider the board of agriculture and the insti-
tute organization together.
The first State agricultural society receiving patronage from the State was incorpo-
rated by the legislature by an act approved February 24, 1853.a In the same year an
agricultural fair was held by this society at Boonville, and the most prominent feature
of this fair was a public address by Hon. Uriah Wright, of St. Louis, in which he made
a master argument in favor of agricultural education. Mr. Wright's address shows that
the importance of special education for the farmer was at least thought of in Missouri
more than forty years ago and at a time when much of the State was yet a vast
During the winter of 1864-65 the legislature incorporated the Missouri State Board of
Agriculture. The board was organized under this act at its first meeting held March
13. 1865. The work of the board for the first few years of its existence consisted mainly
in exploiting the resources of the State and in gathering useful information on crops,
improved breeds of live stock, new inventions of farm machinery, etc. This infor-
mation was published in the annual report and distributed among the farmers of the
State and no doubt had a considerable influence in opening up the way for the future
work of the board.
The annual meetings of the board held for the purpose of transacting routine busi-
ness soon developed into what was practically a State institute meeting. At these
meetings the most intelligent and successful farmers and prominent scientists would
meet with the board, and papers were read and addresses delivered on current farm
topics in as able a manner, considering the state of progress of science at that time, as
are the subjects now handled at one of our present-day State institute meetings.
The first effort of the board of agriculture toward the establishment of farmers' insti-
tute meetings was made at the annual meeting held in St. Louis, September 9, 1869.b
A resolution drawn by Norman J. Colman was unanimously adopted at that meeting
pledging the support of the members of the board to the organization of institute work
and promising their assistance and attendance as far as practicable whenever-possible.
No meetings were held, however, under this resolution, for lack of available funds.
The second and successful move toward the establishment of organized institute
work was made at the annual meeting of the board of agriculture, held November 1,
1882, c by Prof. J. W. Sanborn, who at the time was filling the position of secretary of
the board of agriculture as well as that of dean of the agricultural college. Upon the
suggestion of Professor Sanborn a committee was appointed to report on the organiza-
tion of farmers' institutes. The committee after deliberation reported resolutions,
which were adopted by the board, setting forth the desirability of holding farmers'
institute meetings during the coming winter and requesting the secretary of the board
to notify the farming communities thru the press of the desire of the board to coop- i.
crate with them in holding institutes and that the board would defray the expenses,
except that the counties must furnish hall for the meeting and heat and light it free of
expense to the board. The secretary was also requested to arrange with not less than
three nor more than five members of the board for the delivering of addresses upon ii
some farm topic.
a First Ann. Rpt. Bd. Agr., 1865. c Ann. Rpt. Bd. Agr., 1882.
b Ann. Rpt. Bd. Agr., 1869.
This was undoubtedly the beginning of a new era for the board, for from this time on
we find that its work was extended and it canm into favor with tih farmers of the' State.
Under the authority of the above regulations the first regularly organized farmers'
institute meeting was held at Independence. Mo., on Decenmber I and 19, 1882. The
subjects discust at this meeting were small fruits, stock f(eediilg. corn culture, thli
double tree, butter production, farm experiments at the college farm, animal growth
and nutrition, sorghum as a source of sugar, and pork pointers.
For the season of 1883-84 two meetings were held, and from that time on the num-
her was yearly increased until during the season of 1888-89 fourteen meetings were held.
These meetings were conducted by the secretary of the board of agriculture, assisted
by members of the board and successful farmers who could be induced to take part in
the work, and also members of the faculty of the agricultural college. No salaries were
paid the lecturers, but only traveling and hotel expenses, which expense was paid
out of the very small contingent fund of the board of agriculture. Up to this date the
largest amount of funds used in one year in institute work was about $500 expended
on the meetings for the season of 1888-89. The first appropriation made by the
legislature explicitly for use in institute work was during the session of 1891, and dur-
ing the same session the duties of the board of agriculture were greatly enlarged and
more liberal appropriations given than had hitherto been made for the support of the
board. The total appropriations, however, were yet very modest considering the
extent of territory and the scope of the work. The biennial appropriations made for
institute work from the first appropriation in 1891 until the present time are as follows:
1891-92, $10,000; 1893-94, $8,000; 1895-96, $6,000; 1897-98, $6,000; 1899-1900, 84,000;
1901-2, $8,000; 1903-4, $10,000. Total for fourteen years, $52,000.
Out of the above appropriations all expenses for advertising, printing, postage, per
diem, and expenses of lecturers have been paid.
That the work is making a reasonably good progress is shown by the following state-
ments for the season of 1903-4. There were 147 meetings held with a total attendance
of 30,220. Twenty-eight lecturers were on the institute staff, 13 of whom were fur-
nished by the State agricultural college and whose expenses only were paid, while 15
others were employed at a stipulated per diem and expenses.
Thru all these years the progress has been slow but permanent. A great many
obstacles have been in the way. The greatest hindrance perhaps has been (1) a lack
of information among some of the farmers as to the real object of the institute work, and
(2) their prejudices against "book farming" caused, no doubt, by impracticable
methods advocated by some so-called agricultural writers and teachers. These hin-
drances, however, are no longer in our way, for thru the practical work that is being
done by the institute lecturer hundreds of farmers have been benefited and are now
earnest in their efforts to promote the work. The only difficulties we find in our way
now are first to secure sufficient funds and second to find plenty of competent help.
Farmers' institute meetings in Montana started practically with the organization of
the agricultural college and experiment station, the first institute meetings being held
during the year 1893, the year the college was organized. Meetings were held this
year in some 49 places, scattered in most of the counties of the State. The experiment
station staff, of which at that time Prof. S. M. Emery was director, were the principal
speakers at the meetings.
These meetings were conducted with the understanding that the various districts
visited raise funds sufficient to pay the expenses of the institute workers. The lec-
turers, being mainly members of the college and experiment station staffs, served with-
out extra compensation. The large interest taken in these meetings under the cir-
cumstances is worthy of note and shows that the Montana farmers and business men
were alive to the importance of the work.
From the first year the railroads of the State gave free transportation to the institute
workers. After that this favor was withdrawn, and this large addition to the expense
cut down the number of meetings at the smaller settlements for succeeding years. A
few meetings were held, however, in various parts of the State nearly every year up
to the enactment of the present farmers' institute law, which was past during the
winter of 1901. The law is as follows: '
SECTION 1. The board of administration of farmers' institutes as provided for in this
act shall consist as follows: The governor of the State and the director of the Montana
Experiment Station, both of whom shall be ex officio members, and the president
of the following named organizations, the Montana Wool Growers' Association, the
Montana Live Stock Association, the Montana Horticultural Society, the Montana
Agricultural Association, and the Montana Dairymen's Association, when these last
two shall have been duly organized. Members of such board of administration shall
be designated the "directors of the Montana farmers' institutes," and shall be author-
ized to hold such institutes for the instruction of the citizens of this State in the
various branches of agriculture, and shall prescribe such rules and regulations as they
may deem best for organizing and conducting the same. Such institutes shall be held
at least once in each county in each year and at such times and places as the directors
may designate. The directors may employ an agent or agents to perform such work
in organizing and conducting said institutes as they may deem best. The course of
instruction at such institutes shall be so arranged as to present to those in attendance
the results of the recent investigations in theoretical and practical agriculture.
SEC. 2. For the purpose mentioned in this act the directors may use such sum of
money as they may deem proper, not exceeding the sum of $2,000 in any one year,
and such amount is hereby annually appropriated for that purpose out of the moneys
in the State treasury not otherwise appropriated. Each institute held under the
authority of this act shall be entitled to the sum of not exceeding $50 from the amount
appropriated under this act.
The institutes are placed under the direction of the agricultural organizations of the
State, and thru the directors of the experiment station are kept in touch with the
scientific investigations of the station. In the organization of the board the director
of the station was made secretary of the board and later superintendent of the farmers'
institutes, with immediate charge of the work over the State. During the first and
second year under the law it was found that sufficient funds had not been provided to
meet the needs of the work, and so but a part of the State was covered during this
time. An annual report of nearly 300 pages was gotten out, however, and the interest
in the work increased, so that the law was amended during the winter of 1903 and the
amount of funds appropriated increased to $4,000 per year.
While the station and college staff has been the main dependence of the work, yet a.
large number of practical farmers have generously contributed freely of their time in
visiting various parts of the State to help at these meetings. Some fifteen or twenty
persons have signified their willingness to help. This will make it possible to extend
and broaden the scope of the work.
The State has been divided into districts, and the people in the various localities
have been encouraged to organize local farmers' institutes. Some ten to twelve dich
organizations are now in existence, and a live interest is being taken in the meetings.
During the past year every county in the State has been visited, and a marked increase ,.
in attendance and interest was shown over the previous year. It is believed that the
work has now a firm place in the educational forces of the State and in the confidence
of the people. .
The farmers' institute movement in Nebraska began, so far as records are obtainable,
with meetings held at Kearney and Gibbon, Buffalo County, as early as 1877. These
meetings were attended by Profs. S. R. Thompson and H. C. Culbertson, from the *
university, on invitation of the local institute manager. Other institutes were held at .,.:
later dates without regularity, and no record of the officers in charge or evidence of a
permanent organization can be found.
A farmers' institute was held in Nemaha County February 7, 1882. Mr. W. F.
Wright was elected president and Mr. Benton Aldrich secretary. Mr. Wright had
met Prof. S. R. Thompson at Lincoln to talk over the benefits to be derived from such a
meeting, and the above-mentioned date was selected. The meeting was attended by
SS. R. Thompson, professor of agriculture, and II. C. Culbertson, professor of horticul-
ture. The Hon. R. W. Furnas, secretary of the State board of agriculture, was present
i at this meeting, together with a large number of men and women who have since been
prominent in Nemaha and Johnson county institutes. This meeting was held 20
miles from the nearest railroad station, and the organization formed in 1882 is still
In October, 1882, a second organization of the same nature was formed at Tecumseh,
Johnson County, adjacent to Nemaha, with J. W. Hosic president and W. R. Harris
secretary. This organization performed exactly the same work as that done by the
farmers' institute. It continued until February, 1896, when it was merged into the
Johnson County Horticultural and Agricultural Society for one year, being reorganized
January 27, 1897, under the name of the Johnson County Farmers' Institute, which
organization still continues. This organization has held annual or more frequent
meetings since 1882, holding in 1905 a four-day institute with an extensive corn show, a
S good-roads day, and with several sessions of the institute in charge of the women's
branch of the association.
On December 27, 1884, there was a meeting of the Lancaster Agricultural Society,
and the record of this meeting shows that Prof. C. E. Bessey was present and addrest
S the society in relation to holding a county farmers' institute. Professor Bessey said
that heretofore these institutes had been held under the auspices of the professors of
S the agricultural college, but he thought that it would be better for the county agricul-
tural society to hold them or assume the control of them. The professors would attend
and give lectures and do whatever they could to make such institutes a success. At
the close of Professor Bessey's talk a committee was appointed to consider this matter,
which named the first Saturday after New Year's as the date for holding the first
institute. A series of these meetings followed. They were reported in the papers
under the title of" Farmers' Club Meetings," and this organization finally divided into
the North and South Lancaster Farmers' Clubs, which have continued their organiza-
tions to date.
SIn 1887 Professor of Agriculture H. H. Wing read a paper before the Nebraska
Dairymen's Association on "The Benefit of Farmers' Institutes." This paper indi-
S cates a general interest thruout different sections of the State in the farmers' institute
movement, which resulted in the formation of a number of institute organizations.
This paper recites the fact that at least four such institutes were held in 1887, entirely
:by the efforts of farmers in their several localities.
i Somewhat later, perhaps in 1888, Dr. Bessey says:
When I was acting chancellor of the university, I took the matter up with Governor
S Furnas and we planned a series of farmers' institutes to be held in different portions of
the State. He volunteered to attend as many as he could; Mr. Bassett did the same.
Mr. Stephens of Crete, Mr. Youngers of Geneva, Mr. Dinsmore and others volunteered,
and weheld a good many institutes beginning with the winter of 1888-89. The plan
was that the locality should pay the expense of those who attended. As far as possible
we all secured transportation and simply asked the people of the locality to see that we
... did not have to pay hotel bills. Where the people failed to cover our expenses we
bore them ourselves. This work went on with increasing success for a number of years,
up to the time when Prof. F. W. Taylor was appointed to look after the matter. Prof.
C. L. Ingersoll was active in this work from 1891 to 1894.
In 1889 a three-day farmers' institute was held at Brokenbow, Custer County, January
S 22, 23, and 24, reported in the annual report of the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture,
As a result of this agitation, the University of Nebraska, in April, 1896, appointed
Prof. F. W. Taylor, then professor of horticulture, superintendent of farmers' insti-
tutes, and in conjunction with the several agricultural societies of the State an organi- .i
zation was perfected by which assistance was given local organizations in the holding
of farmers' institutes. Among the societies which thus assisted thru the efforts of
their officers were the State Board of Agriculture, the State Horticultural Society, the
State Dairymen's Association, the State Poultry Association, the Improved Live Stock
Breeders' Association, and the State Bee Keepers' Association. "Small contributions
from each of these organizations constituted a fund for incidental expenses. Each
association furnished speakers, who attended institutes upon request without any com-
pensation and sometimes paying their incidental expenses en route. The railroads in
the State provided free transportation for speakers who were required to travel to fi6
The first legislative appropriation was made in 1897, $3,000 for the biennium being
appropriated by the State legislature to pay the expenses of farmers' institute work,
which fund was placed in charge of the University of Nebraska. In 1901 this fund was
increased to $8,000 for the biennium, and in 1903 it was further increased to $12,000
for the biennium. which rate still continues.
For the season of 1899-1900 51 institutes were held in 33 counties, reaching from
25,000 to 30,000 farmers, at an expenditure of $1,593, practically all transportation for
institute speakers being furnished by the several railroads along which institutes were
held. Thirty-eight different speakers were sent out by the central office, all speakers
from the university staff being without expense to the institute fund.
The season of 1900-1901 opened at Somerset, August 20, 1900, and closed at Thayer,
August 8, 1901. Sixty institutes were held in 46 counties, 21 of these institutes being
one-day meetings of two or three sessions, and 39 institutes being two-day meetings hold-
ing five regular sessions. The regular institute force consisted of 20 speakers, of which 7
were regular members of the experiment station staff, the balance being farmers and '
institute speakers not connected with the university. The cost of theseinstituteswas
kept within $1,500 appropriated for institute purposes exclusive of the salary of the
superintendent and of the members of the station staff, who received no compensation
from the farmers' institute fund. The attendance for the year was probably greater than
for the previous year, since a larger number of institutes were held, but no exact record
was kept to determine the number of persons attending these meetings.
The season of 1901-2 began October 1, 1901, and closed March 29, 1902. Eighty-six
institutes were held in 62 counties. The appropriation for this biennium had been
increased to $4,000 per year, and $3,882.69 was expended during the first year of the
biennium. Twenty-seven institute speakers were employed, 11 of which were con-,
nected with the experiment station.
- The institute season of 1902-3 commenced at Dorsey, December 2, 1902, and closed at
Amelia June 19, 1903. Sixty-seven institutes were held in 43 different counties at a
cost of $4.000, only $500 of which was paid for superintendence, the speakers from the
experiment station, who this year made up about one-third of the working force, serving
without compensation other than actual expenses.
The farmers' institute season of 1903-4 began November 23, 1903, and closed March 24,
1904. Forty-three one-day institutes and 49 two-day institutes were held, with a total of
330 sessions. The total attendance was 26,000, figured according to methods advised by
the Farnmrs' Institute Specialist of the United States Department of Agriculture. Insti-
tutes were held in 57 counties.
The State appropriation had been increased to $6,000 per year at the beginning of the
season 1903. Ten men connected with the experiment station did institute work.
Fourteen other lecturers were employed by the State, these giving their entire time dur-
ing the institute season.
The season of 1904-5 began November 18, 1904, and closed March 30, 1905. One
hundred and fifty institutes were held, of which 88 were one-day meetings, 56 were two-
day meetings, and 6 were more than two days. Thirty-eight speakers were on the regular
force, of which 18 were connected with the experiment station or the university, and 20
were employed from outside the university. Institutes were held in 68 counties. Aver-
age number of speakers at each institute, 3. Eighty-two days' time was given by univer-
sity men to this work and 463 days by other institute speakers. Four hundred and eighty
sessions were held, with an average of 140 people at each session. Sixty-seven thousand,
two hundred and forty-one people attended regular farmers' institutes. In addition to
this, 41,486 people attended the various pure-seed specials in the State and listened to
lectures by members of the experiment station force upon seed corn, seed potatoes, and
crops adapted to the western portion of the State. Two thousand people were in attend-
ance at Organized Agriculture, January 16-21, inclusive, which was virtually a round-up
institute session altho held under the auspices of the State board of agriculture and asso-
ciated agricultural societies in connection with the annual meeting of that board.
Altho but $12,000 had been appropriated for the biennium, the expenses of this large
number of institutes somewhat exceeded the balance of the appropriation, the deficiency
being provided for by the payment of a part of the salary of the superintendent and
assistant superintendent for the last quarter by the university from other than institute
During the seasons of 1901-2 and 1902-3 such notable farmers' institute speakers
as Henry Wallace, of Wallaces' Farmer, M. F. Greeley, of South Dakota, and Mrs.
Bertha D. Laws, of Minnesota, took part in the work. Joseph E.Wing assisted in institute
work during the seasons of 1902-3, 1903-4, and 1904-5. H. P. Miller, of Ohio, assisted in
institute work during the season of 1902-3; D. Ward King during the seasons of 1902-3,
1903-4, and 1904-5. Prof. P. G. Holden, of Ames, Iowa, gave two or three lectures on
the selection of seed corn before the farmers' institutes in February, 1902, starting the
seed-corn movement in this State.
The Nebraska system combines local and central organizations, no institute being held
except on request, the community bearing a part of the expenses, generally amounting
to hall rent, local advertising, and local entertainment of speakers at hotels. For the
season of 1904-5,65 out of 150 institute points reported their local expense to be $1,129.23,
or an average of $17.37 each. This is probably too high for the average local expense of
institute points, especially where court-houses or free hall rent is secured.
Institute dates are made at least six weeks in advance, and the institutes are arranged
in series covering at least one week, the dates overlapping each other, so that a speaker
fills his appointment and goes on to the next point, not necessarily remaining until the
close of the institute.
The subjects of soil tillage, rotation of crops, and varieties adapted to a given locality
are made prominent. Alfalfa growing and feeding is a leading subject in most locali-
ties in the State. The breeding and selection of seed corn has been made prominent
for the last two years. Many exhibits of corn are judged by the corn specialist on the
institute force. A number of corn contests have been carried on under institute man-
agement. At some institute points the judging of live stock is a part of the program.
The subject of feeding is one of paramount importance and is nearly always discust
in the corn-belt area. Regular speakers have been employed to discuss the care and
management of poultry, the rearing of horses, the care and management of swine, the
subject of soil fertility and crop rotations, and the subject of home making. Lady
speakers are used, but practically no independent women's sessions are held, except
at institutes of more than two days' duration.
Local organizations have a president, a secretary, and treasurer, and a local com-
mittee to look after expenses and program.
The central office prints about 50 posters, sends out special notices to from 50 to 100
farmers-by postal card, lists being furnished by the local secretaries, sends notices of
the institutes to local papers, and endeavors to stimulate local interest by making mrug :
gestions regarding methods of holding a successful institute. 1
No round-up institute is held, on account of the large and popular meetings held by l
Organized Agriculture at the school of agriculture and the experiment station the
third week in January each year. All of the societies for the promotion of different.
lines of agriculture meet at this time. January 16-21, 1905, these societies held 31
different sessions, with a total attendance exceeding 2,000, and with a program contain-
ing many notable men connected with the development of agriculture in other States.
A report of this meeting is to be found in the annual report of the Nebraska State Board
The farmers' institute movement in the State has always been materially aswsisJ
by the various railroads, which furnish transportation for farmers' institute speaker
upon request of the central office. The transportation thus received amounts to abort
$2,000 per annum if purchased at current rates.
In addition to assisting the farmers' institute movement, the railroads during t'
season of 1905 ran special pure-seed trains over several thousand miles of railroad,
reaching 41,886 people along their several lines.
The director of the experiment station is superintendent of farmers' institutes, hav-
ing in charge only the general features of the work. The superintendent of the experi-
ment substation at North Platte, Nebr., Mr. W. P. Snyder, is assistant superintendent
of institutes in charge of all the details of institute work. The great increase in the
number and interest in farmers' institutes for the season of 1904-5 is due to his personal
efforts and energy in promoting this work. It is apparent that the farmers' institute
work has become so large in Nebraska that it can not be properly carried on without
the continuous time and energy of a superintendent being given to this work.
The legislature appropriated $12,000 for farmers' institutes for the biennium, which
became available April, 1905. For the first time this appropriation is drawn on the
general fund of the State and is not charged against the university appropriation, altho
it remains under control of the regents.
The legislature also past a bill which became operative July 1, 1905, authorizing.
the board of county commissioners of any county to defray the local expenses con-
nected with farmers' institutes in said county under conditions which they might
The first farmers' institute in Nevada was held December 13 and 14, 1901, at Elko,
under the direction of the staff of the Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station.
Besides the members of the staff of the experiment station there were present also, as
lecturers, Miss Kate Bardenwerper, of the department of domestic science, and J. M.
Wilson, of the University of California. Dr. W. R. Dennis, Government stock inspector,
was also on the program of speakers. The opening address was given by. George S.
Brown. C. B. Henderson delivered an address on agricultural colleges. Both of these
lectures were of exceptional value.
The importance of having the first institute meeting a success was appreciated by the
members of the experiment station. The weather was quite cold, and there was fear
that it would prove unfavorable to attendance. Thanks largely to the efforts of Regent
W. W. Booher, of the university, the institute was fully as good as could have been
expected. Among the subjects discust were: The composition of feeds; The San
Jose scale and the codling moth; how to prevent the spread of infectious cattle dis-
eases; the value of domestic science in education; what man has accomplished with
plants and animals; the alfalfa cutworm; irrigation; beneficial bacteria; home dairy-
ing; methods of stock inspection; and nature study in home and school.
There were about forty farmers in attendance at the various sessions of the institute.
The lectures upon domestic science, given by Miss Bardenwerper, were attended by
.. ... :...... .
:!:, ii'. ^
about sixty ladies from Elko and vicinity. The evening meetings were composed of
mixt audiences, numbering about one hundred and twenty-five persons. At the
close of the institute the members of the station staff felt gratified at the interest mani-
fested and were confident that they had begun a work that would increase in interest
and beneficial effects thruout the years to come.
A committee, consisting of Z. T. Hardesty, Thomas Hunter, George Russell, George
S. Brown, and William Smiley, made up a report of the meeting expressive of their
appreciation of what had been undertaken, congratulating the experiment station
staff and the teaching force of the university upon the excellent work that they had
During the winter of 1902-3 institutes were held at Elko, Lovelock, and Gardner-
ville. The lecture force was composed of members of the agricultural experiment
station staff under the leadership of the vice-director.
Four institute sessions were held at Elko, and about forty people were in regular
attendance during the day, while the evening session numbered about one hundred.
The interest manifested was all that could be desired, and the lectures were highly
appreciated. At Lovelock three sessions were held, with an attendance of about
eighty persons. At Gardnerville three sessions were also held, but the interest mani-
fested was not as satisfactory as at the other two points. The attendance averaged
about sixty persons.
Encouraged by their experience in holding farmers' institutes during the previous
two years, the experiment station staff planned to hold institute meetings during the
winter of 1903-4 in nine different sections of the State. Somewhat to their disap-
pointment, only four places made application for meetings-Elko, Glendale, Huffakers,
and Franktown. Institutes were held at all of these points with quite encouraging
results. The topics discust were dairying, irrigation, injurious insects, diseases of
animals, stock judging, how to grow hothouse plants, and how to cook and sew. Three
of the institutes were one-day and the one held at Elko was a two-day institute. The
lectures were given by the members of the station staff, except that Miss Bardenwerper,
of the agricultural and mechanical college, gave a number of lectures on domestic
science. The advertising was by means of newspapers and handbills, notice being
given of the institutes from two to four weeks in advance.
The rich mines that are being discovered in the southern part of the State are adding
thousands to its population each year. This means increased demand for agricultural
products of all kinds. The institute is endeavoring to introduce general farming among
the ranchmen and thus provide for supplying the demand in the home markets for
Agriculture in Nevada is, for the most part, in its elementary stage. The soil is still
productive and the farmers and ranchers, as a rule, have not yet come to realize the need
of giving special attention to the scientific side of their occupation. The institute, it
is believed, will gradually develop increased interest in advanced agriculture and
bring about a better appreciation of the work of the university and of the experiment
station in their efforts to advance the agricultural interests of the State.
The public statutes of New Hampshire require the secretary of the board of agricul-
ture "to make arrangements for giving public notice of, and, if possible, personally
attend, the farmers' meetings authorized by the board." Under this general authority
farmers' institutes have been organized and conducted.
The first organized agricultural society in the State of which we have an account
originated in the county of Rockingham as early as 1814. We find a record on the jour-
nals of the legislature of that year, when a charter was granted. It probably had its cen-
tral point at the then important town of Chester, or possibly at Exeter. A little later
Cheshire and Rockingham counties formed societies. In 1817 a small appropriation of j
$100 each was made by the legislature to encourage the two societies. Hillsboro and. I
Strafford counties each organized and received charters in 1817. Grafton and Coos
quickly followed. In 1819 and 1820 each county in the State had helped to form agri-
cultural societies, held fairs, and received aid from the State. Up to 1820 the appro-
priation varied from $100 to $300 each, and in all $3,000 had been expended by the
In accordance with the recommendation of Governor Bell in 1820 a board of agricul-
ture was created by the State, consisting of a president and a delegate from each society.
In 1821 a board of twelve members was organized and William Badger was chosen presi-
dent and Matthew Harvey secretary. Only one report was ever written and that
largely by Rev. Humphrey Moore, of Milford, in 1822.
About 1850 the New Hampshire State Agricultural Society was formed, its purpose
being to improve the agriculture of the State, and for ten years it published reports at
the expense of the State and held agricultural fairs that were well attended. Such
men as Daniel Webster, Hon. Edward Everett, and Marshall P. Wilder were orators on
It was not until August 23, 1870, that both branches of the legislature by unanimous
vote created the State board of agriculture, composed, as it is to-day, of one member from
each of the ten counties. The governor and council appointed the following members:
Merrimac County, Moses Humphrey, of Concord; Belknap County, Thomas J. Whip-
pie, of Laconia; Hillsboro County, James O. Adams, of Manchester; Cheshire County,
Sampson W. Buffum, of Winchester; Carroll County, W. H. H. Mason, of Moultonboro;
Grafton County, Luther B. Hoskins, of Lyman; Strafford County, Charles Jones, of
Milton; Rockingham County, Joseph F. Lawrence, of Epping; Coos County, Nathan
R. Perkins, of Jefferson; Sullivan County, Edward H. Brown, of Croydon. The first
meeting was held Tuesday, August 23, 1870, and Hon. Moses Humphrey was chosen
chairman and James O. Adams secretary.
The first public meeting or farmers' institute held by the State board was at Concord,
November 29 and 30, 1870. A number of other meetings followed at various points in
the State during the winter, and for several years such gatherings held by the State
board of agriculture were called "public meetings," but they did not differ materially
from the meetings which are now generally know as farmers' institutes. In announc-
ing these meetings, the term "institutes" was not used in New Hampshire until 1887.
Since that date institutes have been held each year in the different counties and
reports of their proceedings published annually.
During 1904 18 institutes were held, composed of 38 sessions; 3,400 people were in
attendance, and 16 lecturers were upon the State corps of instructors, four of whom
were from the faculty of the agricultural college and from the staff of the agricultural
experiment station. The total expense was $1,588, all of which was appropriated by
the State board of agriculture from the general funds received from the State for insti-
tute purposes. Local arrangements for holding institutes are made by the secretary of
the board with Grange organizations, farmers' clubs, and agricultural and horticultural
societies. The reports of the proceedings are.annually published. During 1904, 2,000
copies of these reports were distributed.
The New Jersey State Board of Agriculture was organized and established by a law
enacted in 1872. This law, with its later amendments, made provision for auxiliary
organizations, such as county boards of agriculture, granges, and local farmers' clubs.
The last-named organizations have been in the habit of holding a number of meetings
each year for the discussion of matters relating to the improvement of farm stock, culti-
vation of the soil, application of manure, commercial fertilizers (their composition
and use), fruit production, etc.
Thus these meetings assumed, to a limited degree, something of the institute charac-
ter. The original law provided for lectures before the State hoard at its annual or other
meetings, but it did not empower the executive committee to provide for lectures in
the counties under the auspices of the State board of agriculture.
In 1890 Secretary Dye secured an amendment to the old law, which was approved
March 31 of that year, empowering the executive committee to employ lecturers in the
counties of the State. Under that enactment and from that date to the present a series
of farmers' institutes for each year has been arranged and conducted thruout the State,
beginning, usually, in the month of November and closing in February. These
5 annual series include the yearly meeting of the State board, which occurs about the
middle of January and covers a period of three days with two evening sessions.
While lectures on agricultural topics had been given in a number of the counties at
the county boards of agriculture and farmers' club meetings as early as 1875, the organ-
ized lecture work under the name of farmers' institutes and under State supervision
was not inaugurated until 1890, as stated above.
The development of this work has been gradual, but prejudices in some localities
against this sort of agricultural instruction had to be met and overcome. The true
purpose and meaning of the institute must be clearly set forth and understood and
its possible value to the farmer, his family, and his business demonstrated beyond a
reasonable doubt. These results have been largely attained, but further develop-
ment is needful, not only in New Jersey but elsewhere, if the institute is to meet the
new, ever-recfrring questions as they appear.
In New Jersey the scientific and practical are placed side by side on the institute
platform. The theories and teachings of the scientist that have been applied in
practise are given to the farmer with his methods and results.
The farmers' institutes in New Jersey consist of three, four, and five sessions, cover-
ing one and two days in a given locality, as occasion seems to demand. It is the aim
to hold at least one institute in each agricultural county, but in some counties three
and occasionally four have been held.
The amount of money available from the State for this work approximates $2,000
annually. This is expended for printing and lectures. Halls for meetings must be
furnished free by the locality requesting an institute.
While the aim is to secure from time to time the best workers from adjacent
States, the State agricultural college and experiment station force is also freely drawn
on. In addition to these are a number of progressive, thinking farmers thruout the
State who study their business and can state with clearness their experience on what-
ever line of farming they may be following.
By such a selection of speakers it is found practicable to treat most subjects of im-
portance with a comprehensiveness not otherwise possible.
There is not much machinery. The advertising is by postal card and press notice
first, later by a program of subjects, directed to such persons as are specially desired
to attend the meeting. Two weeks before the institute large posters are put up in
the neighborhood by the local committee.
The plan is to reach as many farmers as possible with the money at the disposal of
the board, and to adapt the addresses and discussions to such matters as are of chief
interest to the farmers in localities visited.
Altho New Jersey is not large territorially, her agricultural industries vary greatly.
She requires a larger list of subjects and addresses on more varied lines than any
other area of similar size.
There is no printed report of the institute proceedings. Occasionally arrange-
ments are made to have an institute speaker recast his institute addresses into a single
, lecture and deliver it at the annual State meeting. This address is printed in the
annual report of the State board of agriculture and has wide circulation,
While the old branches of agriculture are discust, attention is also given to special
industries in the different localities. Some general questions of great importance to
farmers have been made leading topics in the institutes-the question of soils, their
origin, constituents, requirements, adaptation to different crops, etc.; then, too, the
subject of forage crops for the dairy, how to produce, their feeding value, when and
how to harvest, etc.; the cost of dairying as now conducted with a view to exposing
defects in breeding, feeding, and general management, where they may be found to
exist, in hope of showing a way to increase the profits.
The seed has taken root and already fruit appears. The desire is that the work may
be progressive, practical, and helpful.
The first institute was held January 2-4, 1896, at the agricultural college, Mesilla
Park, under the auspices of the agricultural experiment station staff, with Director
S. P. McCrea as chairman. Morning and afternoon sessions were fully occupied with
papers and discussions by the station staff and other local speakers. Four of the
papers presented were by ladies. There was an average attendance of twenty-five at
A second and similar institute was held at the college January 4-6, 1897. Director
C. T. Jordan presided. The average attendance at each session was about thirty.
No more institutes were held until the spring of 1903, after the election of Luther
Foster as director of the station.
During January, February, and March, 1903, three one-day institutes of two sessions
each were held at Las Cruces, under the auspices of a local committee. The first was
devoted to alfalfa and irrigation by pumping; the second to fruit growing, small
farming, and truck gardening; and the third to live stock. Director Foster pre-
sided at each of these and the papers were presented and discuss by members of the
station staff and other local speakers.
On March 3, 1903, an institute, with afternoon and evening sessions, was held at
Carlsbad. Three members of the experiment station staff were in attendance and
presented papers, the other speakers being local. This institute was held under the
auspices of a local committee.
On March 4 and 5 the same members of the station staff attended an institute of five
sessions at Roswell. These meetings had been arranged for by the local horticultural
An institute was held at Cloudcroft, on the summit of the Sacramento Mountains,
on October 30 and 31, 1903. The station was represented by Director Foster and two
other members of the staff, and the El Paso (Tex.) Chamber of Commerce was also
represented by its president and two members. There were three sessions at which
papers were presented and discust by the members of the station staff, representa-
tives of the chamber of commerce, and local speakers. Among the topics discust,
roads and markets received especial attention. A local institute was organized.
Three one-day institutes, of two sessions each, were held at Las Cruces during January
and February, 1904, under the direction of the Mesilla Valley Chamber of Commerce.
All members of the station staff participated and a number of other local speakers.
At one of these institutes the Spanish language only was used.
There have been no special appropriations for institute work and the expenses of
the station men engaged in this work'have been paid out of the funds of the institu-
tion. It is hoped that the next legislature will make a special appropriation for
institute work, so that it can be extended and placed on a permanent basis.
The farmers' institutes in New York State as now organized"grew out of the demand
among the old farmers' clubs, more than a dozen of which were organized over one
hundred years ago, for speakers who were posted on the science of agriculture. For
. .. ,......
something over fifty years such speakers had been furnished by the State agricultural
society, and since the establishment of the college of agriculture at Cornell University
in 1868 and the establishment of the State agricultural experiment station at Geneva
a few years later the workers at these two institutions have been heavily called upon.
The first move toward the establishment of the present system of institutes was
begun in 1885, when Prof. I. P. Roberts, of Cornell University, and Mr. J. S. Woodward,
of Lockport, decided that it was possible to hold a meeting of farmers from all parts of
the State to consider and discuss subjects of vital interest to them. After consultation
with President Adams, of Cornell University, such a meeting was called to be held in
Morrill Hall February 16, 17, and 18, 1886. Both Professor Roberts and Mr. Woodward
were tireless in their efforts to advertise this meeting thorolyand make it a success,
and the result far exceeded their most sanguine expectations. Over 100 names
appeared on the register of persons attending the institute, not only from New York,
but from adjoining States, and at most of the sessions between 200 and 300 people were
present, so that after the first session the meeting had to adjourn to Library Hall, in
Ithaca. The meeting consisted of 6 sessions and 18 addresses, "some of which were
longer than the management expected," which seriously interfered with the time
desired for discussion, altho the audience entered into the spirit of the meeting and, so far
as time allowed, the subjects were discust very freely. At the close of the meeting
all declared that the first institute in New York State was a success, and it was
decided that such a meeting "should be held every year."
A more important resolution adopted, however, was one asking the New York State
Agricultural Society, which was then the center around which all agricultural work
in the State rotated, "to undertake the work of holding a limited number of farmers'
institutes the next winter, and, in case they refused, to petition the legislature for a
State department of agriculture to carry on this work."
Another important resolution past at this meeting was in regard to the establish-
ment by law of a State board of agriculture, similar to such boards in other States,
and a committee of ten was appointed to consider this subject. This idea, however,
was never accepted by the State legislature, as New York's policy is to concentrate
responsibility in one central head instead of in boards, the wisdom of which has
clearly been demonstrated since the establishment of the department of agriculture in
When the question of their undertaking to hold farmers' institutes was first presented
to the State agricultural society, a large number of the most influential members
were strongly opposed to attempting the experiment. After a long and strenuous
session, however, thru the zealous efforts of a few who saw the possibilities of the
institute movement, the majority decided to make the trial, and at a meeting of the
executive board held in Utica in September, 1886, it was decided to hold at least
three institutes that winter, and $1,050 was appropriated from the funds of the society
for this purpose. A committee consisting of James McCann, president of the society;
7. S. Harison, secretary; Maj. Henry E. Alvord, and J. S. Woodward was appointed
to look after this work.
At the annual meeting of the society in 1887, largely because of the strong advocacy
S of the institute work and his untiring efforts to make these meetings a success, J. S.
S Woodward was elected secretary, and from that time until 1890 was practically director
of farmers' institutes in Nqw York State, acting under the direction of an institute
committee. To him more than to any other one man is due the great success of these
early institute meetings.
After careful planning the institute committee found that they could hold five
institutes during the winter of 1887 with the money at their disposal. All these
meetings were very largely attended and great interest was shown in the addresses
and discussions. At the first one, at Lockport, farmers from the entire western por-
tion of the State were present,-while the other meetings drew from as large a territory.
At this time the aid of Josiah K. Brown, the first dairy commissioner in New Ywoi:k
State, was of untold value. Thru the organization of the dairy department lc 'd
interest was awakened and a close connection between this department and the
institutes gave them a standing with the State administrators, which was especially
valuable when the question of direct appropriations came up. Among others who
should be mentioned as lending their encouragement at this time are James McCana,
of Elmira; Hezekiah Bowen, of Medina; F. D. Curtis, of Charlton, who perhaps did as
much as any other man to popularize the meetings with the masses; Prof. I. P. Roberts,
of Cornell University; Dr. E. Lewis Sturtevant, who was then head of the State.experi-
ment station at Geneva; Maj. Henry E. Alvord, who was at that time located at Hough-
ton farm, in Orange County; John J. Thomas, of Union Springs; W. Judson Smith and ii
E. A. Powell, of Syracuse, beside many others who were connected with the State
experiment station and the college of agriculture, as well as agricultural workers
from adjoining States. The influence and ability of these' men had much to do in i
laying the foundation of the present success.
The great demand for meetings in all parts of the State and the great success of this
first series led the agricultural society to petition the legislature for an appropriation
to carry on this work. The legislature saw the reasonableness of the request, and in
March, 1887, past the Wemple bill, appropriating $6,000 to be used by the New York
State Agricultural Society in holding farmers' institutes in various parts of the State."
This was the first State appropriation for farmers' institutes in New York, and it
enabled the society to hold 20 institutes during the winter of 1887-88 and about 40
the following year.
As the institutes became better known and more widely distributed over the State
more farmers realized the benefit to be derived from them, and it was soon found that
the $6,000 appropriated was wholly inadequate to tarry on the work, and the legis-
lature of 1890 increased the appropriation to $10,000. In 1892 it was again increased i
to $15,000 and in 1898 to $20,000. Altho the demands upon the director have increased
continually and a larger number of applications are received each year, no request for
an increased appropriation has been asked for, altho the number of meetings could be
doubled and held successfully.
In January, 1891, Mr. Woodward's health broke under the strain and he was obliged 'j
to give up the institute work. The agricultural society selected George T. Powell to
have charge of the meetings in his place. Mr. Powell carried on the work most sat-
isfactorily until the organization of the State department of agriculture in 1893. ;
During his term as director about 100 institutes were held each year. He introduced
many attractive features, among them being special horse-breeders' meetings, which ..
were largely attended. The subject of introducing the study of natural sciences as
applied to agriculture in our public schools had a prominent place on the programs .
and was widely discust. In many places it was not received graciously, and the
change in the attitude of people toward this line of work is very marked.
In April, 1893, Governor Flower signed what is known as "the agricultural law,"
which created a State department of agriculture, with a commissioner of agriculture
appointed by the governor at its head, this taking the place of the State dairy depart-
ment and to a very great extent bringing all of the agricultural work of the State under
the management of one man. Under the provisions of this law the institutes, which
had heretofore been in charge of the State agricultural society, were taken from it and
placed in the department of agriculture, the law providing that the commissioner of
agriculture may appoint a director of farmers' institutes." There was also an item in
the appropriation bill providing "that the funds should be paid out on the audit of the:
commissioner of agriculture." While the wisdom of making this change was ques-
tioned at the time, results have shown that the State's action was wise.
Under the provisions of this law, in February, 1893, Fred. C. Schraiib, then.commls-
sioner of agriculture, appointed George A. Smith, who was one of the State cheese
inspectors and who had been a very acceptable lecturer at the institutes upon dairy
subjects, as director of institutes, and he filled the office for three years. During Mr.
Smith's term of office the number of meetings was largely increased thru holding what
are known as "lap-over" meetings, the force being divided between two institutes
held in towns easy of access. While this system allows the holding of many more
meetings, it is not as successful as it appears on its face, from the fact that the speakers
do not get in close enough touch with the audiences and are overworked to such an
extent that they are unable to do their best.
In 1896 C. A. Wieting appointed F. E. Dawley, the present director. Mr. Dawley
had been connected with the institute work since 1889, and was thoroly familiar
with the agriculture of the various sections of the State. He had made a close study
of the-soils and crops in the different counties, and with his large acquaintance was
able to place speakers and subjects very acceptably. He inaugurated a system of
advertising, furnishing not only printed programs, but attractive colored posters, and
sent out bulletins calling attention to the institute work and to the subjects under dis-
cussion. He took particular pains to interest the women who were in attendance and
organized a corps of women speakers. The various farmers' organizations of the State
were interested as they never had been before, and the officers of the various organiza-
tions were brought together and made acquainted. Many petty strifes were adjusted,
as these men came to'realize that they were all interested in the betterment of the
S State's agriculture, and a very close union of the State's agricultural interests has
resulted. The institutes have greatly benefited from all this and the attendance and
Thru lectures on our common school system a renewed interest has been awakened
in our rural schools, and the assistance of the State department of public instruction
has been asked and granted to such an extent that at nearly every institute held during
the winter of 1903-4 a representative of this department has been present and addrest
the meeting on school subjects. In many instances the school children have been
invited in and the speakers have attempted to make their remarks interesting to them,
touching upon bird, animal, and vegetable life in such terms as are readily under-
Some ten years ago an effort was made to interest the farmers in good roads, but the
speakers selected were not acceptable and the movement probably received a setback
from their radical recommendations. 'Under Mr. Dawley's directorship this subject
has again been taken up and at nearly every meeting is advocated and discust. The
speakers are made thoroly familiar with road laws and the results in sections where
they have been in operation and the antagonism to the good-road movement is reduced
S to a minimum. -The State engineer's office has furnished a speaker at many of the
meetings, who has proved very acceptable.
i The use of the stereopticon has been developed to a very great extent for the evening
lectures and has been a most successful educational feature.
Nowhere has the poultry interest been so thoroly advocated as in New York, a
speaker on this subject having been in attendance at practically every meeting held
since 1894, and the great advance in this industry in the State shows the result.
The present director has taken advantage of the strength of all the agricultural organi-
zations in the State to increase the attendance at the institutes, greatly to the benefit
I of both the organizations and the meetings. For some reason or other many of these
* organizations were at low ebb in 1896. The annual meeting of the State Dairymen's
Association of the winter before was so poorly attended that it was held in the parlor
of a hotel. The next winter the director furnished speakers, which gave one of the best
dairy programs rendered at any institute held in the East, and the attendance was
about 300. Every effort has been made to make this program attractive up to the
present time, until last winter over 1,400 people were present at the meeting. The
various horticultural, poultry, and bee-keepers' societies have been assisted in the
same way with marked success. Special poultry institutes are held in sections where '
the interest warrants it, four having been held the past winter, while seven special
bee-keepers' institutes were held in counties where this industry is carried on. In
certain sections of the State the institutes deal almost entirely with dairy subjects, in
another section with horticultural subjects, while in another they will treat of market
gardening and the growing of vegetables.
The demand by the farmers for experts and specialists along these different lines is
increasing each year, and it is probable that many more special meetings will be held
the coming winter than were held last year. The present director, F. E. Dawley,
aims to secure the best men available for institute lecturers, and does not hesitate to
drop a man immediately if he proves incompetent, irrespective of the influence
behind him. The director is thoroly posted as to the needs of each community, and
sends as conductors of the institutes men who are also familiar with the local conditions
and have sound scientific knowledge and can impart that knowledge in a pleasing
manner. The different local requirements have been almost universally met the past
winter and remarkably few complaints have been heard. As a rule the same speakers
are asked for year after year.
One of the newer features of institute work inaugurated by Mr. Dawley are the
so-called "normal institutes," which are held at the beginning of the season. Their
purpose is to bring all the workers together before they begin their work for the year to
compare notes and to become better acquainted, to give them accurate information on
agricultural subjects, and to bring them in direct contact with teachers and professos
of recognized authority along their special lines. The discussions form an important
part of the program at each session. The first meetings of this character were held in
1899 at Cornell University on November 13 and at the State experiment station at
Geneva on November 14 and 15. Similar meetings have been held each year since for
one day at Cornell and one day at the State experiment station. In the fall of 1903, how-
ever, Mr. Dawley made arrangements with L. H. Bailey, of the agricultural college, and
W. H. Jordan, of the State experiment station, whereby a regular course of instruction in
the form of lectures could be given and the "normal institutes" be a week of regular
college work for the institute force. The professors of the agricultural college and of
the State experiment station entered heartily into the plan and spent a great amount
of time in carefully arranging their lectures and preparing outlines for each member
of the class. The latest scientific information relating to the various branches of agri-
culture was presented and full discussions followed each lecture. The only regret was
that the time was so limited that the work had to be gone over very hurriedly. Forty
State workers were in regular attendance, while visitors were present from the District
of Columbia, Minnesota, Ohio, Wyoming, and Canada.
The accompanying table gives, as nearly as can be ascertained, the number of
farmers' institutes which have been held each year from 1887 to 1903. It will be seen
that in 1897 a change was made in the method of reporting the number of institutes,
those for a full year, from January to January, being given instead of the number for a
season. The growth of the institutes in interest and popularity has been constant, and
since about 1890 over 1,000 applications have been received each year, while not more
than 300 meetings could be held. During the season of 1902-3 312 meetings were held,
and in the season of 1903-4 267 meetings, at an average cost of $54. The average total '..
attendance for the winter has been 64,347 and the total number of persons present has
Farmers' institutes in New York State.
Year. Number. Director. Under supervision of- Appro-
1886................ I .......... ............ Cornell University ......................
1887................ 5 J. S. Woodward...... New York Agricultural Society..... $1,050
1887-88 ............ 20 .....do............... .....do......... ............... 6,000.
1888-89............ 37 .....do.....................do................ ....... 6,000
S 1880.... 60 do ............. .60.... ..dodo...... ......................... 10,000
1890-91............. 100 George T. Powell..... .....do................................ 10,000
1-2.... ........ 105 ......do.................... do................................ 10,000
1892 3.............. 150 .....do................. .....do ................................ 1 ,000
189-94 ............. 145 George A. Smith..... State department of agriculture .... 15,000
1894-5 ............. 277 .....do............... ....do..................... ........ 15,000
18 95- ............. 275 .....do ................ .... do ................ ........... .. 15,000
1896-7............. 242 F. E. Dawley......... do.................... ......... 15,000
1897................ 22 .....do....do ............................... 15,000
1898.......... ... 257 .....do................ .....do......................... ....... 20,000
1899........... .. 254 ... do ..................do....................do............ 20,000
1900................ 296 ... do......... ...... ......................... 20.000
1901 ................ 299 .....do................. ....do....... ....................... 20.000
S1 02................ 250 .....do.......................do................................... 20,000
03................ 312 .....do ...............312 do .do......... ........................ 20,000
The legislature of Nortn Carolina first recognized farmers' institutes in 1887 in the
law concerning the board of agriculture. Section 5 of this law is as follows:
The said board shall cooperate and aid in the formation of farmers' institutes in all
the counties in the State and shall send the commissioner of agriculture, the director
of the experiment station, the teachers in the agricultural college, and some other rep-
resentatives from their body to assist in holding these institutes at least once in every
two years in every county in the State, in order to instruct the people in improved
methods of farming and to ascertain the wants and necessities of the various farming
There is no very clear record at hand showing what was done under this law that
year and the following years, 1888 and 1889, but that a few institutes were held is
i The College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts was organized in the fall of 1889.
Since it was impracticable for the professors to attend institutes during term time, it
came to be the rule that the institutes should be held during the summer vacation and
i: at the comparatively leisure time on the farms between the completion of the cultiva-
tion of the crops and their harvesting.
In July and August, 1890, the first vacation after the organization of the college, the
then commissioner of agriculture, John Robinson, planned a series of two-day insti-
l, tutes embracing ten counties in the western and southwestern parts of the State. The
idea was then new to the farmers, and the advertising of the meetings was defective, so
S that with a single exception the audiences were small; but in each county interest was
excited in the work, and thereafter applications for institutes came in, not only from
9 the counties visited but from many others as well.
I iThere being nearly one hundred counties in the State, it has been impracticable for
the commissioner to fully comply with the law, which requires an institute to be held
,E: in each county at least once in two years. In fact, there are a few counties in which no
institute has yet been held.
iI The legislature has never made specific appropriation for institutes. What has been
done has been with such funds as the board of agriculture was willing to appropriate
I: from its incoine, derived from the tax on commercial fertilizers. The lecturers have
received no compensation for their services. This work has been entirely a labor of
love, the lecturers from the college and experiment station contributing their vacation
time to the institute work, thus giving up their own time needed for rest and recapera-
tion in order to make the institutes as efficient as possible. Altho institutes have been
...iiiiu..;..... .. .. ."...... ...... ...
held each year since the work first began, it was not until 1903 that any seriouseforte was
made toward forming permanent local organizations. In that year an advance agent
was sent out to secure at each point the names of the leading farmers of the section, and
then to these personal invitations were sent urging them to come to the meeting. In
this way a much larger attendance was secured last summer than in any previous year,
and at each institute thus held a local organization was effected consisting of a secretary
and a chairman and an institute committee composed of a member from each township
of the county. It is the purpose to hereafter hold an institute each year in every.
county where a local organization has been formed to work it up beforehand.
While institutes have been held in North Carolina every year'for the past fifteen
years, little has been done as compared with States having a large annual appropriation
enabling them to employ outside aid. It is believed, however, that as much has been
accomplished in North Carolina with the amount of money spent as any other State
has been able to effect with a similar sum.
Institutes specially designed to aid the negro farmers of the State have been organ-
ized. Four of these were held last summer, were well attended, and at all of them the
closest attention was given. Some negro farmers are present at all of the institutes, and
they are always welcome. .
It is the purpose in future to divide the institute lecture force into two sections in
order to cover a larger number of counties than has been possible with a single corps of
men. In this way many more institutes can be held, and it is believed that increased
interest in the work can be thus secured.
What the institute needs in North Carolina is thoro organization, a liberal appropria-
tion from the legislature for meeting its expenses, and a director who can devote his
entire time to the work. In no other way can the institutes be made as effective as they ;
should be. The commissioner of agriculture and the director of the station have
duties that fully occupy their time and require their attendance at their offices. The ,
supervision of institutes interferes with their regular work. Thoro organization, some .3
money, and a director who has this work and no other in hand will make the institutes
a powerful educational force in agriculture. They have already accomplished much .
good, and have led the farmers to depend more and more on the help that the experi-
ment station and the department of agriculture can give them, and have greatly
increased the correspondence of the station with the farmers of the State who are now
seeking the aid of the station more than is done in most other States.
The amount expended for institute work in this State in 1904 was $850.. The travel-
ing and hotel expenses of the lecturers is all that the board provides. Other States,
with large appropriations from their legislatures, have been able to call in and pay for
the best help from outside of State lines. North Carolina, on the other hand, has.
depended solely on her own citizens for her institute teaching force, men willing to
contribute their time and strength, often at great personal inconvenience and not
infrequently involving actual loss.
There were 33 institutes held in 1904, with an attendance of over 6,000 persons. The
farmers of the State are taking greater interest in the work each year, and the day is not
far distant when the legislature will be willing to recognize the institutes, not only bya .,
law organizing them but by appropriating money sufficient to make them what they
should be. ..
So far as any authentic record can be found the first farmers' institute in North
Dakota was held at Casselton on March 25 and 26, 1894. This was followed by one at
the agricultural college, Fargo, on June 21, both of these institutes being under the ..
auspices of the Society of United Farmers of Cass County. It is quite probable that:
during the time in which the Grange was active in North Dakota that meetings approacbh- :
ing the nature of farmers' institutes were held by the lodges of this society at diffewiea
points in the State. At such meetings, however, the program was presented by
farmers who had made more or less of a success in their respective localities. The
Caeselton meeting would, it seems to the writer, be properly the first farmers' institute
S held in North Dakota. Two meh prominently identified with this institute were
S J. B. Power, acting as president of the agricultural college, and J. C. Gill, a prominent
Stfarmer living near Casselton. This institute was addrest by members of the faculty
of the agricultural college, in addition to leading farmers of the county, and undoubt-
edly was a great success, altho the society under whose auspices it was held failed to
hold any further meetings. In fact, the society itself soon ceased to exist.
In addition to the two institutes named in the opening paragraph, two other meetings
were held the same year, one at Mayville, Traill County, on June 27, and the other in
connection with the assembly of the Chautauqua Association, at Devils Lake, on July
6 and 6. The expenses of holding these institutes were met in each instance by con-
tributions from the business men, solicited by local committees, who arranged the pro-
gram, advertised, and conducted the meetings. Members of the agricultural college
faculty took an active part in all these institutes, as well as those held thruout the State
S for a number of years.
Recognizing the great advantage of some systematic farmers' institute work, the
president of the agricultural college, thru the board of trustees, urged that a small
annual appropriation be provided sufficient to pay the traveling expenses of institute
S speakers. No appropriation, however, was made for this work, altho in the annual
reports of the experiment station and the biennial reports of the college farmers'
S institutes were discust in each succeeding report by the director of the station and the
President of the college.
While no appropriation was provided for a number of years for this work, different
members of the faculty took active part in such institutes as were held. In nearly all
instances a local committee, believing in the practical results obtained from the
institute, would arrange to defray the necessary expenses of the speakers outside of the
papers and addresses that could be furnished by the near-by farmers', and thus the
interest in the institute was not allowed to lapse entirely.
At the sixth biennial session of the legislative assembly there was introduced and
past an act to regulate the manufacture and sale of dairy products, section 17 of
which act made the assistant dairy commissioner director of farmers' institutes and
gave him charge of all matters relating thereto. It was further provided that the
expenses of such institutes should be limited to the actual expenses of travel and enter-
tainment of the speakers and lecturers. The writer, having been appointed and
accepted the position of assistant dairy commissioner, planned to devote a certain
amount of the funds appropriated for the expenses of the office to the holding of farm-
ew' institutes. As it was impossible to use any of the funds appropriated for securing
I speakers the agricultural college had to be depended upon largely for such speakers.
From July 1, 1899, to June 30, 1900, 25 farmers' institutes were held at an expense of
$524.39. All the members of the station staff who assisted in the work were willing to
give their services, but the number of institutes held had to be limited to the time they
could spare from their duties at the college and station.
The year following institutes were conducted along the same plan, the total number
of meetings held being 18. In all instances the place where the institute was held fur-
nished a hall properly heated and lighted, supplied most of the advertising matter, and,
in some instances, entertained the speakers.
At the seventh biennial session of the legislative assembly a law was past creating
a farmers' institute board and appropriating $1,500 per year for institute work. For
the first time in North Dakota it was now possible to secure an institute corps who could
devote their whole time to the work The large number of applications which had to
I be refused showed how popular the institute was becoming thruout the State. The first
year a total of 25 meetings were held, followed the next year by 19.
A large number of numerously signed petitions were presented at the next legia.
lative assembly, and the members thereof responding to the demands of the farmers
increased the appropriation to $4,000 per annum. The first year under the new appro-
priation will close June 30, 1904, by which time there will have been held 46 institutes,
in which one of the best institute corps in the entire country took part. At the same
time it was necessary to refuse 25 applications for meetings where all the requirements
of the institute board were complied with, and in some cases the local committee even
offered to pay all the expenses of the institute.
It is believed that an excellent idea was hit upon for creating a governing board for
the farmers' institutes. This board is composed of the president of the board of
trustees of the agricultural college, the commissioner of agriculture and labor, director
of the experiment station, the professor of agriculture, and the professor of dairying of
the agricultural college. Here is a board that is vitally interested in the agriculture
of the State, that is thoroly in touch with the methods of education along agricul-
tural lines, and one that in nearly all cases will contain a majority of members who
have had experience in institute work, so that a permanent and experienced manage-
ment is practically guaranteed to the farmers' institutes. Just as soon as the appro-
priation is made sufficient to warrant, a superintendent of institutes will be engaged,
who will have entire charge of the institute corps, of the correspondence relating to
institutes, and the publication of the Institute Annual. At the present time the work
of correspondence, advertising, and the publication of the Institute Annual is in the
hands of the writer, who is secretary of the institute board. An institute conductor is
secured for the season, who has entire charge of the corps while in the field.
Fully believing that the institute work was not completed or well rounded out
without a complete report of each year, there has been prepared an Institute Annual, :
the first number of which was issued in 1900. The publication of this annual has been
continued, an edition of 10,000 copies being sent out each year. That this work is
well received is evidenced by the large demand for back numbers. The report for
1904, being the fifth of the series, is now under preparation and will be ready for dis-
tribution by the opening of the next institute season.
Since the first institutes were held there has been considerable change in the subjects
presented and demanded by the farmers of the State. North Dakota being a wheat-
growing State, the most interesting subjects at first were those pertaining to wheat
growing, and fully 75 per cent of the questions asked at the institutes were along the
line of this crop. The subjects have gradually changed, until now dairy husbandry,
the live-stock industry, corn growing, poultry raising, horticulture, etc., receive fully
as much attention from the institute corps, as well as the farmers, as that of wheat
As an experiment last year (1904) a lady speaker was attached to the institute corps
for a part of the season, and it was found to be an important addition to the institute
But ten years have elapsed since the holding of the first institute in the State, and
for o: ly five years of that time has the State provided any funds for systematic work.
That the work is appreciated and demanded by the farmers is shown in the increased
appropriations and the increased number of applications for institutes.
In the development of farmers' institutes in Ohio there were three distinct stages,
namely, the period of suggestion, the period of experiment, and the period of successful
The first suggestion relative to lectures for the benefit of farmers seems to have come
from Dr. N. S. Townshend, who later became dean of the college of agriculture, Ohio i
State University. Under date of February 15, 1845, he wrote as follows:
Had we a State agricultural society, with a good board of managers, or should the
legislature constitute a State board of agriculture, then either of these might select a
sufficient number of competent individuals to lecture, after the manner of medical
institutions, on all the sciences having relations with agriculture. To one lecturer
might be assigned geology and mineralogy, with their relations to draining, well
digging, etc.; to another, chemistry, with its innumerable applications; to another,
botany and vegetable physiology as applied to gardening, orcharding, and field culture;
to another lecturer zoology, comparative anatomy, and physiology, showing their
bearing upon the management of domestic animals; to another, the principles of
pathology and therapeutics and their relation to the treatment of the diseases of animals,
and all the operations of a surgical nature which the farmer is required to perform;
then to another, natural philosophy and the application of its principles in the
perfecting of farming implements, etc.
Doctor Townshend, under date of September 14, 1845, made the following suggestions
to the young farmers of Ohio in relation to the formation of farmers' clubs:
Of the utility of such associations there can be but one opinion. With a good one in
every township the agriculture of our State might be speedily regenerated; without
them little, comparatively, will be accomplished. And now the most convenient
season for holding evening meetings is approaching and must not be allowed to pass
Meetings ought to be held at least monthly and as much more frequently as they can
be made sufficiently interesting. They may be occupied with-
First, lectures. These should embrace all the sciences having any application to
Second, reports. The visiting committee should visit the farm of every member at
least once during the year and present a full report on each farm.
S Third, discussion. Let some subject be announced for conversation and members
one after another give their opinion or experience in relation to the matter. (Ohio
Cultivator, 1845, pp. 149-150.)
The organization of farmers' clubs in every township was the best suggestion that
could have been made under existing conditions. There were only 84 miles of railroad
in operation in the State in 1845, and the difficulty in transportation alone would have
made the institute of to-day impracticable.
In the Ohio Cultivator of October 15, 1846, M. B. Bateham (later a member of the
Ohio State Board of Agriculture) said:
In regard to lectures, we hope that the State board of agriculture will take some action
upon the subject, and that several competent persons may be engaged to lecture in
different parts of the State where desired during the coming winter. We know of no
way by which more good could be accomplished at the present time.
The Ohio State Board of Agriculture, created by an act of the general assembly,
past February 28, 1846, at its second meeting, held October 28 of the same year,
adopted a resolution recommending the formation of township and neighborhood farm-
ers' clubs or societies for the purpose of mutual improvement by means of libraries of
agricultural books and periodicals and discussions and lectures upon agriculture, and
asking gentlemen possessing the requisite knowledge of science and agriculture in dif-
ferent parts of the State to assist in the great work of promoting agricultural improve-
ment by delivering lectures to farmers as they may be desired or have opportunity,
especially during the season of fall and winter, and in places where clubs or societies
may be formed for such purposes. (Ohio Agricultural Report, 1846, pp. 17-18.)
At a meeting of the Lprain County Agricultural Society, January 28,1847, the follow-
ing resolutions were adopted:
Resolved, That we procure lecturers to lecture in each town in the county on agricul-
ture, and solicit persons to become members of the Lorain County Agricultural Society.
Resolved, That if any person will procure a house and notify the inhabitants of his
town the time of meeting, and inform the lecturer, he will be present at the time and
give a lecture on agriculture, etc. (Ohio Cultivator, 1847, p. 36.)
7 At a meeting of the Ohio State Board of Agriculture, held December 4, 1850, Ex-Gov-
ernor Allen Trimble, president of the Ohio State Board of Agriculture, introduced a
resolution to appoint Professor Mather State agricultural chemist and corresponding
secretary of the board, and suggested that were it deemed necessary and could be accom-
plished by the professor "lectures on the subject of agriculture should be delivered."
(Ohio Agricultural Report, 1850, p. 53.)
The second period was that of experiment in institute work. A course of agricul-
tural lectures was inaugurated at Oberlin, December 4, 1854, to continue for three
months. There were four departments in charge of the following gentlemen:
Dr. James Dascomb, Chemistry in its application to soils, manures, animal and vege-
table life, domestic arts, etc.
Dr. N. S. Townsbend, Comparative Anatomy and Physiology, with special reference
to the feeding and breeding of stock; History and Description of Domestic Animals;
Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, Entomology, etc.
Dr. John S. Newberry, Geology and Mineralogy, Botany, etc.
Prof. James H. Fairchild, Natural Philosophy; Agricultural Mechanics; Farm
Implements; Meteorology; Elements of Engineering and Land Surveying; Rural
Architecture; Lanscape Gardening and Farm Bookkeeping. (Ohio Cultivator, 1854,
Only a few young men took advantage of these lectures at Oberlin, so during the
winters of 1855 and 1856 they were held in Cleveland, but evidently with no better
success, as they were then discontinued. Doctor Dascomb, at the close of the last
term, remarked to a friend, "Ohio is not ready for this work and will not be for twenty
There seems to have been no further special effort in this direction for a number of
years, but good seed had been sown. Farmers' clubs and other farmers' organizations-
increased rapidly in number and much valuable information was disseminated thru
these organizations and thru the medium of the agricultural press.
During all these years Doctor Townshend was teaching the doctrine of higher educa-
tion for the farmer with unflagging zeal in addresses to county agricultural societies,
farmers' clubs, etc.
A few years after the opening of the Agricultural and Mechanical College the board
of trustees decided (under the inspiration of Doctor Townshend), in order to make
"the college more immediately serviceable to the agricultural interests of the State,
to provide a course of free lectures on topics of practical interest to farmers." In 1878
an effort was made to establish in the college a course of lectures on the sciences relat-
ing to agriculture. It was proposed to have four lectures a day for ten weeks. Only
seven farmers responded, so the effort was abandoned for that year.
The following year the matter was taken up by the granges of the State, and when ,
the lecture course opened, January 9, 1879, there was a large number of intelligent and
earnest farmers in attendance, over one hundred names being entered on the class reg-
ister. The course continued four weeks and all the members of the faculty took part,
Doctor Townshend delivering two lectures a day and the others one each.
The second term began January 13, 1880, but the time was reduced to three weeks.
The attendance was about the same as the previous year.
A third course was held in January, 1881, continuing ten days.
September 14, 1880, Dr. W. I. Chamberlain, secretary of the Ohio State Board of ,
Agriculture, asked for definite authority "to cooperate with county or other local agri-
cultural societies and granges in calling and organizing farmers' institutes or agricul-
tural conventions during the present fall and winter." (Ohio Agricultural Report,
1880, p. 19.) ..:;
A resolution was at once adopted appropriating $1,000 from the earnings of the State
fair for the purpose of inaugurating farmers' institutes in Ohio, and during the winter
of 1880-81 the good work began by holding 27 institutes.
The following season, 1881-82, the same number was held, 27; in 1882-83, 33;
1883-84, 39; 1884-85, 41; 1885-86, 43; 1886-87, 47; 1887-88, 81; in 1888-89 the board
was able to appropriate only about one-half the amount that had been expended the
previous year for this work, and there was consequently a decrease in the number,
only 53 being held; in 1889-90, 62 were held.
....... ... .. ..,
The farmers' institute had proved to be a valuable educational factor to the agricul-
turists of the State, and the general assembly, recognizing this fact, on April 26, 1890,
past "An act to provide for the organization and support of farmers' institute socie-
ties." This law provided from the general fund of each county a per capital allowance
of 5 mills, but not to exceed $200 in any county; two-fifths of this amount to go to the
- t State board of agriculture for the payment of per diem and expenses of speakers
appointed by the board, and three-fifths to go to the local societies for th,:ir expenses.
S This substantial recognition of the importance of the work gave fresh impetus to it.
S In 1890-91 there were 124 institutes held under the auspices of the board; in 1891-92,
141; in 1892-93, 151; in 1893-94, 150; in 1894-95, 151; in 1895-96, 157; and 87 counties
took part in the work. But the board had now reached that point where it was impos-
Ssible, with the means at its command, to increase the number of institutes, altho
the demand was constantly growing. Again the general assembly came to its aid,
and on April 27, 1896, amended the "act providing for the organization and support
of farmers' institute societies," making the per capital allowance 6 mills instead of 5
mills and dividing it equally between the State board or agriculture and the local
societies, limiting the amount available in any county to $250.
During the winter of 1896-97 the board held 212 farmers' institutes, and for the first
time in the history of the State all the counties--88-took part in the work. In 1897-
98, 234; in 1898-99, 250; in 1899-1900, 256; in 1900-1901, 260; in 1901-2, 252; in 1902-3,
242; and in 1903-4, 247.
S In addition to the regular farmers' institutes held under the auspices of the Ohio
State Board of Agriculture a large number of independent institutes have been held
S each year, some of which have reported, but many have failed to do so; hence it is
impossible to give an accurate report of the number. In 1890-91 there were no reports
made; in 1891-92, 8 reported; in 1892-93, 14; in 1893-94, 14; in 1894-95, 27; in 1895-96,
81; in 1896-97, 25; in 1897-98, 29; in 1898-99, 20; in 1899-1900, 20; in 1900-1901, 20;
in 1901-2, 26; in 1902-3, 24; and in 1903-4, 30. All farmers' institutes are held two
days, with two speakers in attendance, employed by the board.
The State farmers' institute held its first session in Columbus, Tuesday, January 11,
1887, and it has held annual two-day sessions in Columbus since that time during the
weeks of the annual meetings of the State board of agriculture. These institutes have
always been well attended by the farmers, horticulturists, and stock breeders of the
State. During the continuance of these no county institutes are held, thus giving
all interested an opportunity of attending, and they prove most successful, both in
point of numbers and interest. Nearly all the institute lecturers in the employ of
the board attend these State meetings and add materially to their interest and value.
Since the inauguration of regular farmers' institutes in 1880-81 the State board of
Agriculture has received the hearty cooperation and valuable assistance of the pro-
fessors of the agricultural college of the Ohio State University and the officers of the
Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station, and the help thus given has been a great aid
in making the work a success. The board has also received the assistance of prominent
educators thruout the State and from sister States; of men who are authorities in
their special lines of work-agriculture, horticulture, stock breeding, etc.-of intelligent,
S earnest, practical farmers; and all these gentlemen deserve a share of the credit of
The settlement of Oklahoma, in 1889, occurred just about the time the farmers'
institute movement began to gather headway in the States. The establishment of
the agricultural college and experiment station followed within two years after the
settlement, but it was not until 1893 that interest in the institute form of extension
work was aroused.
The first farmers' institute organization in Oklahoma of which there is any recod
was effected at El Reno, the county seat of Canadian County, in October, 1893. A eiMi-
lar organization was effected at Pond Creek, the county seat of Grant County, early the
following year and less than six months after the settlement of that part of the country.
Some interest was also manifested in other localities and it was fostered and stimulated
with varying degrees of success by the faculty of the agricultural and mechanical col- :ii
lege and the staff of the experiment station. At best, however, the interest was
desultory and efforts at organization were sporadic and there was nothing like conti-
nuity or permanency in the results achieved. The experiment station authorities
labored faithfully to arouse an interest among the farmers of Oklahoma, yet, in the very
nature of things, they could not act as organizers in distant localities, and without
proper organization there could be nothing done in the way of systematic institute
Early in 1901 there was prepared and introduced into the Territorial legislative
assembly a bill providing for the organization of a Territorial board of agriculture.
With some modifications, the measure was finally past, but the law remained inopera-
tive for nearly two years because of lack of appropriation. The board thus created
consisted of six members, two elected each year for a three-year term, by a meeting
composed of one delegate from each county farmers' institute. These county farmers'
institutes are permanently organized and chartered under the provisions of the board
of agriculture law.
Thru these organizations as a medium the board of agriculture has been laboring
with satisfactory results in an endeavor to develop a farmers' institute system. In this
it has had the cordial cooperation and active support of the experiment station authori-
ties. During the year ending June 30,1904, which was the first year of the operations
of the board of agriculture, 52 institute meetings were reported to the board, with an
aggregate attendance of 5,400. With the county institute organizations as a basis, it is
proposed to extend and expand the system until it reaches into every agricultural
community in Oklahoma. In 1904 the board of agriculture contributed $300 for insti-
tute support. The local organization met the other expenses from private contribu-
The first farmers' institute in this State was held at the State capitol, Salem, Decem-
ber, 1888. This institute was very well attended, and the discussions were good. It
was held under the auspices of the agricultural college, and the institute practically
marked the beginning of a new era of farming in western Oregon. Up to this time the
growing of cereals and the production of wool occupied the attention of our farmers.
There was no thought of soil impoverishment and scarcely any attention given to dairy-
ing or other forms of animal husbandry. In fact, at this time domestic live stock,
except the work horses and fattening swine, had to maintain an existence in the open.
field thruout the year.
These institutes 'at their earliest incipiency attracted the attention of our most pro-
gressive citizens. Among the college faculty who contributed to their success were
President B. L. Arnold, Director E. Grimm, E. R. Lake, the college botanist, horti-
culturist and entomologist, and P. H. Irish, chemist. This staff of workers was ably
assisted by Mr. Fitz Roy Osborne, of the Michigan Agricultural College. Some of the
most prominent laymen who were early workers in this educational branch of the col-
lege were R. P. Boise; Thomas H. Tongue, afterwards elected to Congress; J. T. Apper-
son, subsequently president of the board of regents of the Oregon Agricultural College;
"J. Voorhees, later master of the State Grange; Richard Scott, and the present director'
of the Oregon Experiment Station.
Several institutes were held during the winter of 1888, among the most successful of
which were those at Salem, Hillsboro, and Tangent.
From the beginning farmers' institutes in this State have been popular. It is incom-
prehensible, however, why an effort has not been made to invoke State aid for the
extension of the work, a. work which has been recognized on every hand to be of excep-
S tional value to the agricultural interests of the State.
The institutes conducted in this State have largely been of the intensely practical
type, altho they have been favored with the presentation of many scientific facts from
i l very able men. A helpful feature of the institute has been stereoptically-illustrated
lectures on breeds and typesof live stock, fungus, and insect pests of fruit, garden and
field crops. These illustrated lectures have been practically the equivalent of natural
Farmers' institutes have been twofold in their beneficial effect upon the agricultural
conditions of the State. In addition to their immediate benefit to the active farmer,
S they have been a potent factor in bringing the farmers in close touch with experiment
S station workers, hence have been exceedingly helpful to the experiment station in
bringing to its attention the principal evils besetting the agriculturists.
About twenty farmers' institutes have been held in this State each year for the past
fourteen years. All of these institutes have been conducted under the auspices of the
agricultural college. Their influence upon the agricultural practises of the State has
been very marked. Improved and up-to-date methods of agriculture in all of its
various ramifications are evident on every hand and are directly traceable to the far-
reaching effect of the institute. The press of the State has also been a valuable sup-
plement in promulgating agricultural information. It has generously donated its
space in publishing the discussions at these institutes, thus bringing the work directly
within the reach of nearly every farmer in the State.
While the comparatively few institutes which have been held thruout the State
within the past sixteen years have been of great value to agriculture, there is at present
S urgent need for a wider extension of this work. Agriculture is constantly changing in
its various aspects. Large farms are being subdivided into smaller farms, which means
a more intensified system of farming. Thus a great many new problems are constantly
S arising to confront the farmer. Then, again, a large influx of farmers is steadily pour-
ing into the State who, in the main, have been accustomed to different conditions of
farming. Hence they are desirous of securing practical information on many subjects,
just the information that is usually obtained at institutes.
ri If the.early history of the farmers' societies organized in Pennsylvania for the
advancement of agriculture could be written, it would be a proper introduction to the
discussion of the origin of farmers' institutes in that State. As early as 1785 there was
organized in Philadelphia an agricultural society known as the "Philadelphia Society
for the Promotion of Agriculture." This was, perhaps, the oldest organization of the
kind in this country.
The first farmers' institute held in Pennsylvania by State authority was o& May 22,
1877, when the board of agriculture, which had been created by act of assembly of
i May 8, 1876, called a meeting of its members at Harrisburg for the consideration of the
agricultural interests of the State. This board was composed of representatives elected
by the several county agricultural societies, one representative from each of the 67
counties, together with 3 persons appointed by the governor and 6 members ex-officio,
who were connected with the several departments of the State administration. These
76 representatives had sole charge of the organization and management of farmers'
institutes for about eighteen years, until the creation of the department of agriculture,
when the institutes were transferred to this department. Until 1885 the board of agri-
culture had no specific appropriation from the State from which to bear the expenses
of the institutes. The service of its members was altogether gratuitous. The expenses
were met by the several localities in which the institutes were held, altho a small
L LiA ...::...".
amount was used from the appropriation made to the board for its ordinary expeniam
order to meet the traveling expenses of the lecturers.
Among the influences at work during this period in the direction of institute devel .
opment was the interest taken in the movement by the Pennsylvania State Co iLg.em ::
In 1882 this institution held a farmers' institute at the college, continuing from January i
17 to 27. The course consisted of 40 lectures given by the college professors, aided by
specialists who were secured from outside to present certain important agricultuarl, i lc
specialties. No charge was made for the instruction given or for the use of the-ihK dM"
rooms of the college. These annual institutes were held for three years. At the mad ..
of this period they were discontinued, owing to the fact that the attendance was found ':
to be largely local, and the maintenance of the course disarranged the work of the insti- :
tution to an extent that was not, in the judgment of its officers, justified by the results.
From that time until the present, however, the State college and the experiment
station have continued to contribute lecturers each year from the college faculty.aad
the station force for institute work. For several years from three to five members of
the institution were continuously in the field during the institute season. For a por-
tion of this time the college and station bore all of the expenses of their members
employed in the institute work, but after appropriations began to be received by the
State board of agriculture for institute purposes that board paid the hotel and traveling
expenses of the lecturers, their salaries as instructors in the college and station being
continued by the institution while engaged in institute work.
By act of assembly of 1885 the legislature granted an appropriation of $1,000 to the
State board of agriculture for the actual and necessary expenses of holding fanners
institutes. This appropriation, tho small, was of great assistance to institute work.
It enabled the board to pay the expenses of all of the lecturers and in some instances
to add a slight compensation for service. In 1887 the legislature increased the annual
appropriation to $3,000. As a consequence, the number of institutes was correspond-
ingly increased, until in 1890 sixty-five were reported as having been held during that
In 1891 the appropriation for institute purposes was still further increased to$7,000
per year, and during that year the number of institutes held* was 84. Sixty-two of
the sixty-seven counties of the State now had representatives on the board of agi-
The institute work continued under the direction of the State board of agriculture,
as has been stated, until the creation of the department of agriculture, under an act
approved March 13, 1895. The institutes of the winter of 1894-95 were therefore the
last that were conducted under the old system. One hundred and forty-eight were
held during that year.
Under the old system the control and direction were entirely in the hands of the
local members of the board of agriculture, and the appropriation by the State was dis-
tributed by the secretary among the counties in accordance with a pro rata distribu- -
tion arranged by a committee of the board. The apportionment for the year 1894-95
gave to each county $65 and then 2 cents per farm additional. The local manager
selected the dates for his institutes and secured such aid as in his judgment the cir-
cumstances required, and paid this help out of the funds in his hands which had been
contributed by the State. It resulted in some counties having as many as six insti-
tutes while others with proportionately the same funds held but one. There was also
an interference in the dates for holding meetings, this matter being largely left to the
local managers. There could consequently be little uniformity of action, and con*
siderable difficulty was often experienced in securing desirable speakers for meetings
owing to this conflict in time. There was also the criticisms made by other agricul-
tural organizations in the counties that in many cases they had no voice in the arrange-
ment and direction of these institutes. Their members accordingly held aloof because
they felt that they were to a degree ignored.
The new law undertook to correct these defects, and made it the duty of the director
to fix the dates for all institutes that were to be arranged for in such a way as to save
expense in traveling and economize time. The following extract from the law of
1895 organizing the new department of agriculture, shows the method adopted for the
S control of the institute work:
PE SCTION 4. There shall be one deputy secretary who shall be appointed by -the
r. governor for the term of four years, at a salary of $3,000 a year, who shall also be director
of farmers' institutes.
SEC. 5. That it shall be the duty of the superintendent of institutes to arrange them
in such manner as to time and place of holding the same as to secure the greatest
economy and efficiency of service, and to this end he shall, in each county where such
institutes are to be held, confer and advise with the local member of the State board
of agriculture, together with representatives duly appointed by each county agri-
S tural, horticultural, and other like organization, with reference to the appointment
of speakers and other local arrangements.
On October 1, 1895, Prof. John Hamilton, of State College, Center County, Pa.,
was appointed by Gov. Daniel II. Hastings as first director of farmers' institutes
under the new law, and served in that capacity until 1899. During his tenure of
office the institute system was reorganized, and institutes were held annually in every
county in the State. Interest in the work increased each year, and the appropriation
S for institute purposes was raised in 1897 from $7,500 to $12,500 per annum, and in
1901 to $15,000 per annum. This appropriation was made to the department of agri-
culture, and its expenditure was entirely under the control of the secretary. An
Entirely new method of distribution was agreed upon, by which a certain sum was
granted to the local directors in the several counties, and a portion withheld for the
purpose of paying institute lecturers employed by the State department. It was
made on the basis of granting two days of institute to every county having not over
1,000 farms; three days to each county having more than 1,000 farms and not over
1,500; afterwards one day for each 1,500 farms or fraction thereof. The sum of $12.50
per day was granted to the local director to be used in meeting the local expenses.
The State furnished two additional lecturers, who were paid by the department.
In- 1899 Professor Hamilton was appointed by Gov. William A. Stone, secretary of
agriculture, and was succeeded by Mr. A. L. Martin, of Enon Valley, as deputy sec-
retary and director of institutes, who has continued in that position until the present
time. The appropriation for carrying on the work for the past two years has been
$17,500 'per year, and from the month of December until March the director has had
five corps of lecturers traveling continually thruout the State giving instruction in
institutes along all phases of agricultural work. At these meetings instruction is
given respecting the most approved methods of dairy management, including the
feeding and stabling of cows, the care of milk, and the manufacture of butter and
cheese, and how and where to market these products most profitably. In soil im-
provement instruction is given as to the best methods for securing a supply of nitrogen,
phosphoric acid, and potash. Information is also imparted in the management of
swine, sheep husbandry, market gardening, horticulture, beekeeping, etc.
An important feature of the institute work in this State is that which prescribes
that in every institute meeting an entire session shall be given to the discussion of
some particular topic that is of general interest, and that has been prescribed by the
S State department for all the institutes of the Commonwealth. One session of the
institute is devoted to the subject of education--of a kind best adapted to the devel-
opment of rural life.
The effect has been to secure the enactment of a law providing for the centraliza-
tion of the common schools and for the transportation of the children to and from
these schools. The purpose has been to secure for country children such instruction
as will be more in keeping with their surroundings, and be better calculated to fit
them for their life work than has heretofore been given.
A woman's session is also held in every institute thruout the State. The topi : j
discust are the country home, its sanitation, its domestic arrangement, and the cimIj l: '
environments of country life.
The farmers' institutes of Pennsylvania have long since past the problematic sit:."
and are to-day filling an important place in the agricultural and commercial inte retiS.
of the Commonwealth. Their system of management, altho not in every respect aci l,-
plcte, has been fairly satisfactory and has been patterned after by several other States.
The continued and increasing demand for agricultural instruction is daily comfng
in from every portion of the State, showing that the farmers are alive to the impcr-
tance of adopting accurate and improved methods in the conduct of their farm ope a...
tions, and that they realize that their hope of future advancement lies in the applii~
cation of the new facts that science is daily discovering and adapting them to their
use. To the work of developing and distributing these fundamental truths the
farmers' institutes of Pennsylvania are consecrated.
Farmers' institutes have not been organized in Porto Rico.
The farmers' institutes in Rhode Island are conducted under authority granted by
the general assembly in an act past May 19, 1892, section 4 of which is as follows:
The board [of agriculture] shall hold one agricultural institute in each county
annually, either independently or in connection with any society or association or
other organization devoted to the same general objects, and may hold as many more
as it shall deem expedient, and shall, as far as practicable, encourage State and local
societies in the interests of agriculture.
In the annual report of the State board of agriculture for the year 1890 Governor
Ladd is quoted as saying that "Four meetings were held in different parts of the
State before the 1st of January, 1890. These were small and tentative, for the pur-
pose of ascertaining whether such meetings could be made popular and profitable."
Encouraged by the success attending them, the first formal institute for 1890 was
called at Kingston court-house January 23, 1890, and was addrest by several emi-
nent speakers, among others Mr. A. W. Harris, assistant director of the Office of
Experiment Stations of the United States Department of Agriculture; Dr. H. F.
Wheeler, of the State experiment station at Kingston; Dr. Austin Bowen and Presi-
dent Andrews, of Brown University.
The second institute was neld in Providence February 26 and 27, 1890, and was.
formally opened b, Governor Ladd, and an address of welcome by the mayor of
Providence. The meeting was held at Manning Hall, Brown University. The
attendance was large and enthusiastic. Speakers of national reputation were present.
Prof. W. O. Atwater gave an admirable resume on the condition of agriculture in
the United States, and Edward Burnett, of Massachusetts, delivered an excellent
lecture on dairy cattle, dealing particularly with the feeding of ensilage, which
had at this time assumed considerable importance in the United States. Insti-
tutes have continued to the present time, showing that they have met a need in
the agriculture of this State that is general and much appreciated.
The arranging for the holding of institutes is committed by the State board of
agriculture to its secretary, and the expenses are paid by the board out of an annual
appropriation of $15,000, appropriated for the purpose of carrying out the several
provisions of the act by which the board of agriculture is constituted. Twelve insti-
tutes were held during the year 1904, composed of 21 sessions, with a total attendance
of 1,260. The amount appropriated for institute purposes was $600, and the entire
d. ..EE: .t .
cost was $620. Twelve speakers were upon the State lecture force, all of whom were
members of the faculty of the State agricultural college or of the experiment station
The dates, places, and programs are arranged by the director. Two thousand five
hundred copies of reports of the proceedings were printed and distributed.
In 1887 the legislature of South Carolina made it obligatory upon the board of
agriculture to hold farmers' institutes. A few were held under the provisions of
that act. Several years later Clemson Agricultural College was established, and the
duties of the board qf agriculture, so far as it related to the holding of farmers' insti-
tutes, were devolved upon the board of trustees of Clemson Agricultural College.
A law of South Carolina, enacted in 1893,a provides that-
The board of trustees of Clemson Agricultural College shall have power to hold
agricultural conventions composed of delegates from each county of the State;
and to conduct farmers' institutes at such times and places as may appear
expedient, and they are authorized to use such parts of funds under their control
as may be necessary to meet the expenses of conducting such institutes.
From this time until the present farmers' institutes have been held in most of the
counties every year, with increasing popularity, closing each season with a several
days' institute held at Clemson Agricultural College. Last year 33 institutes were
held, having a total attendance of 8,690. Fifteen lecturers were upon the State
institute force; 9 were contributed by the agricultural college and 6 by the experi-
ment station. The expenses amounted to $600. A round-up institute at the close
of the season, extending over 12 sessions, was held at the college, having a total
attendance of about 1,500 persons.
A committee of the board of trustees of Clemson Agricultural College makes out
the programs for the ensuing year and appoints an officer to take charge of the work
of conducting the meetings. The rule adopted by the board is to require that an
invitation shall be received from not less than 15 farmers in a locality before an insti-
tute will be granted, and it is also required that those desiring institutes must have
their petition in the hands of the president of the board of trustees on or before June 10.
This petition must designate a suitable place for holding the institutes, and the
locality will be expected to provide either a suitable building or seats in some grove
for the comfortable accommodation of those who attend the institute.
The director appoints the dates on which the institutes will be held, giving due
notice to the petitioners in each locality. Thereupon they are expected to advertise
the meeting thruout the territory which the institute is r oach. The appropriation
is made by the trustees of the agricultural college from the college and staff fund.
The first farmers' institutes in South Dakota were held in the winter of 1889-90,
and were conducted under the direction of James H. Shepard, chemist in the South
Dakota Agricultural College. The college at that time had no winter term, and an
institute was planned to be held at the institution, to continue.for several weeks.
The next winter, 1890-91, the same method was tried, but in both cases with indif-
ferent success. It was found that the number of farmers that could be induced to
attend the institute meetings was not sufficient to justify the expense. This plan
was therefore abandoned, and meetings were arranged to be held in various parts of
the State, to continue for about three days. This proved much more acceptable.
The work was conducted by the professors of the college. No funds were avail-
able for meeting the expense, and the localities in which the meetings were held
a Revised Statutes, 1893, sec. 1132, par. 10.
were required to furnish a hall free of charge and also to provide for the advertising
of the institute es and the entertainment of the speakers.
In 1895 Professor Shepard was formally placed in charge of the institute work a :i-,d:
director. No appropriation was made by the State to meet the expenses of the w !i
Meetings, however, were held during the seasons of 1895 and 1896, and some
work was accomplished..
In 1897 the legislature took up the institute question, and the State engineer ws~ 4
made director of farmers' institutes, and the sum of $1,000 per year was granted: f.ir-
meeting the expenses of the work. With this the director, S. A. Cochran, employed :iI[
a lecturer on dairy science and one on domestic economy for about two monibt each.
winter. N. E. Hansen, professor of horticulture of the agricultural college, was
added to the force, but with no compensation other than his salary received from
the college. With this corps of instructors a considerable number of two-day insti-
tutes were held in various parts of the State, aided by such local talent as the several
communities were able to furnish. Two institutes were held each week, and a sys-
tem was rapidly being inaugurated which promised excellent results.
The legislature of 1900-1901 failed, however, to make any appropriation for the
institutes, and since that time up until the beginning of 1905 no institutes were
held, except a few local meetings conducted by the farmers themselves.
The legislature of 1904-5, at the request of the officers of the State agricultural
college, appropriated $5,000 per year for farmers' institute purposes, and has placed
the oversight of the work in the hands of the president of the college and thi regents
of that institution. The way, therefore, is open for resuming the work, and it is
the intention of the college authorities to inaugurate a vigorous campaign along insti-
tute lines during the coming winter.
The oldest agricultural organization in the State is known as the East Tennesee
Farmers' Convention, which held its first meeting in 1875, and has held annual meet-
ings ever since at Knoxville. Its membership embraces all of the East Tennessee',:
counties. The present officers are: W. Getys, Athens; A. M. Soule, secretary, Knox-
The institute movement under the auspices of the State department of agriculture
was first inaugurated during the administration of Commissioner Allison in 1893. No
appropriation, however, was made for its maintenance at that time. Four'instituites
were held in that year at the following places: Knoxville, Pulaski, McMinnville, and
Jackson. Commissioner Allison continued this work during his administration of fout
years, as did also Commissioner Essary during 1897-98.
Thomas H. Paine was appointed commissioner of agriculture in 1898, and recognizing
the importance of this work, secured an appropriation of $2,500 per year for institute
work for a period of four years.
The commissioner of agriculture selects the lecturers, arranges the programs, and
decides the times and places for holding institute meetings. The State is naturally
divided into three distinct geographical sections-eastern, middle, and western Ten-
nessee. Originally the institute organizations were formed into several divisions. It
was during Mr. Paine's administration that county organizations instead of division
organizations were attempted with success. Interest continued to grow in the work,
until under the present administration an appropriation of $5,000 per year has been
secured for the use of the farmers' institutes. During the past year 69 county institutes
were held, and 3 division institutes in the different grand divisions of the.State. The
average attendance of the county institutes was 140 and the division institutes 1,200.
Fourteen years ago, in 1892, under the management of a prominent agricultural
journal printed at Dallas, a series of farmers' institutes was held in Texas with the coop-
eration of the railroads, the agricultural and mechanical college, and a number of volun-
teer lecturers, includingsuch men as R. F. Butler, Doctor Folsetter, W. S. Marshall, and
others. Those institutes were followed by a request addrest to the Texas legislature
for State aid in the support of the movement. The legislature did not then appreciate
the importance of this work, and when asked for an appropriation for its support refused
to provide any funds for that purpose.
In July, 1897, the Farmers' Congress, a State organization, adopted a new constitu-
tion, in which the following resolution was incorporated:
Resolved, That the objects of this organization shall be to develop accurate and
scientific knowledge of the arts of agriculture, to establish and encourage farmers'
S institutes, etc.
This statement of purpose respecting the institutes produced no definite results until
1902, when the journal before referred to supplied a State organizer at its own expense,
and, with the assistance of public-spirited men, aided by the railroads, a series of insti-
tutes was held, beginning with one at Terrell, August 27, and continuing thruout the
autumn and winter. The effect of this series of meetings upon the general public was
such that the legislature of Texas in 1903 appropriated $5,400 to the Agricultural and
Mechanical College of Texas for farmers' institute purposes for two years.
Immediately upon the passage of this act a member of the faculty of the college was
appointed by the board of directors to take charge of organizing and conducting insti-
tutes. R. L. Bennett was chosen institute director and was later succeeded by J. W.
Carson, of College Station.
I During the past year the director has organized 150 institutes in the several counties
and has also formed a large number of truck-growers' associations. The director and
S the president of the college arrange the dates, places, and programs for institute meet-
: ings. All of the local expenses are met by the citizens of the community in which the
institute is held, including very frequently the entertainment of the State lecturers.
One hundred and forty-four institutes were held during the year, 140 of these being
oIie-ay institutes and 4 two-day. The total number of sessions was 178 and the attend-
ance 15,130, There were 34 lecturers on the State force, 23 of whom were supplied by
the agricultural college and experiment station, who contributed two hundred and
eighty-four days of time. The cost of the institutes for the year was $3,950. Two
thousand and seven hundred dollars of this was from the State appropriation and the
i balance from an appropriation made by the United States Department of Agriculture
out of the boll weevil fund, to be expended under the supervision of the president of
Pr the college as collaborator.
County organizations are formed under a constitution and by-laws suggested by the
S State director. By the terms of this constitution the local societies agree to meet once
each month for the discussion of agricultural questions. Two round-up institutes were
S held, at which 1,250 persons were in attendance. The railroads have cooperated gen-
erously by supplying transportation to the lecturers, and in many instances furnishing
complete entertainment while the lecturers were on their road.
Up to July 1, 1896, the only farmers' institute work done in the State was represented
S by occasional popular talks given by members of the faculty of the Agricultural College
:I. of Utah, and of the staff of the experiment station. On July 1, 1896, a bill approved
by the governor March 28, 1896, went into effect, granting the agricultural college the
sum of $1,500 annually for the purpose of conducting farmers' institutes in the State
and for publishing an annual report of institute work.a
a See U. S. Dept. Agr., Office of Experiment Stations Bul. 135 (Revised), p. 31.
S': ,~'..... .. -
Under this act institutes have been held each year and seven farmers' institute
annual reports have been prepared and published. During the first two years after
the passage of this act it was attempted to interest the farmers by sending out parties
of four to six members of the college and station staff, who traveled by rail and by team
over the larger portion of the State, holding farmers' institutes in the towns and villages
on the way.
After 1898 the work was conducted mainly by sending out speakers to localities that
made requests for assistance. This was found to be a very expensive method of doing
the work, and after the year 1900 farmers' institute tours were arranged. Two or more
speakers from the college would spend one or two weeks doing institute work, holding
a meeting every day in different places. This method was also found rather unsatisfac-
tory, partly because of the great expense and partly also because the college in most cases
had to plan the trips, advertise the meetings, and frequently the people felt that the
officers of the State institute were forcing their meetings upon the farmers.
About two years ago the plan was adopted of holding, as far as possible, only county
institutes and of sending speakers from the college to such institutes only when formal
requests for such help was made by the proper county organizations. This plan is
working very well, is satisfactory in every respect, and, besides, is economical. Two
to four speakers are sent out to take part in the institutes in two or more counties. .The
times of holding the farmers' institutes are so arranged that one county institte*U.owa
another, in order to allow the speakers to make the very best use of their time. The
county institutes extend over at least two days, each day consisting of three sessions for
the men and three for the women. The counties do all the work of advertising and
The following circular announcement has been issued by the college, showing the
method to be pursued in securing an institute:
In compliance with the law, the faculty of the college has been authorized to hold
farmers' institutes in the various counties of this State, and, as far as possible, to make
the subjects discust at each institute meet the special needs of the locality where it
All expenses of the meeting will be met by the college, and authority will be given
for the printing of notices and programs to those making application for institutes. For
the present it is recommended that institutes be held during one day and evening,
devoting the day session to papers and discussions upon special farm topics, and the
evening to lectures and addresses on subjects of more general interest to the commun-
ity at large. Local speakers and writers are expected to assist in the exercises of the
institute by discussing subjects in which they are most interested or in which they have
had successful experience. If an institute is desired in any community, those inter-
ested are requested to select the topics that are believed to be of the most interest to
the locality, determine upon a date for the meeting, and arrange for such.local speakers
as may be desired. Usually not more than two professors from the college can attend
an institute at one time.
The interest in the farmers' institute work is rapidly growing in this State. Numer-
ous local institutes and societies have been organized. Many county institutes are
also in existence, and it is now, as it always has been, quite impossible for the college to
meet all the requests made upon it by the.above-mentioned appropriations. At least
one-third of the appropriation is spent annually in publishing the Annual. The
remaining $1,000 does not allow much traveling in a State as large as is Utah.
By an act of the general assembly of the State of Vermont approved November 22,
1870, the governor of the State, the president of the State agricultural college, and six
persons to be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate were constituted
the "Vermont Board of Agriculture, Manufactures and Mining," to hold office until
the 1st day of November, 1872, their successors to be appointed biennially.
The first meeting of the board was subject to the call of the governor, at which meet-
ing the organization of the board was perfected, and consisted of His Excellency Johii
.... .... .
W. Stewart; James B. Angell, president State Agricultural College; Peter Collier,
secretary of the board, and the following persons as appointed by the governor and
confirmed by the senate: A. B. Halbert, of Essex; Charles H. Heath, of Plainfield;
Frederick Holbrook, of Brattleboro; Pitt W. Hyde, of Castleton; Z. E. Jameson, of
Irasburg, and N. B. Sanford, of Whiteriver Junction.
i The act of the general assembly which provided for this board also conditioned that
the board shall hold at least one business meeting each year and as many more as they
deemed expedient, to which the people of the State shall be invited to participate for
the investigation and discussion of matters relating to agriculture, horticulture, manu-
factures, and mining, and a sum not exceeding $2,500 was appropriated.
During the two years this board was in office nine public meetings were held in
different towns of the State, at which the subjects of fruit culture, grass culture, practi-
cal agriculture, fertilization, education, manufacturing, and mining were presented by
experts on the different subjects and thoroly discust by people present at the meetings.
From the first the board had the hearty cooperation of the best farmers of the State,
also those interested in the different branches covered by the act creating the board.
In 1873-74 nineteen public meetings were held by the board, at all of which the
attendance was large and great enthusiasm shown by the general public. Papers on
subjects pertaining to agriculture were read and discust, including dairying, fruit
culture, sheep, cattle, and horse breeding, farm buildings, stock feeding, sugar mak-
In 1875-1882 meetings were held thruout the State, usually with good attendance,
and much interest taken in them by the public.
In 1883-84 forty-seven meetings were held and the number of addresses given at
these meetings and under the direction of the board was 731.
In 1885-86 sixty-four meetings were held and the number of addresses given was 922.
In 1894 the amount to be expended by the board was raised and limited to $5,000,
and the board was given jurisdiction over the importation or introduction of horses and
other domestic animals into the State such as had been exposed to, or believed to be
infected with, any contagious disease. They were given power to examine the ani-
mals in the State supposed to be infected and under certain conditions to kill or
quarantine the same.
The report of 1894-95 shows twenty-seven public meetings, the subjects presented
and discust covering all branches of farming and stock raising.
In 1897 twenty-seven meetings were held thruout the State, from one to three days
each, having an attendance of from 150 to 600 people. In 1898 twenty-seven meetings
were held, in 1899-1900 sixty-three, and in 1901 forty-three.
In 1902 the general assembly past an act constituting the governor, the president of
the University of Vermont and State Agricultural College, and three persons appointed
by e governor and confirmed by the senate, and "who shall hold office for two years,"
to cdasitute a board of agriculture, conditioned that the board shall hold at least one
meeting in each county annually, and may employ such talent as lecturers as they
In 1903 forty-nine meetings were held, and the interest shown by the general public
was very gratifying to the board and the several persons who appeared as instructors.
At the biennial session of the legislature of 1904 the governor appointed as the three
additional persons.to serve for the ensuing two years George Aitken, of Woodstock;
Earnest hitchcock, of Pittsford; and Dana H. Morse, of Randolph, as the members of the
board, These appointments were confirmed by the senate. At a meeting of the board
Geoit~Atken was elected as the secretary, so that the board as now constituted consists
of Bi Excellen~C. J. Bell, president; M. H. Buckham, of the University of Ver-
S mont; George Aien as secretary, and Earnest Hitchcock and Dana H. Morse.
F:. During the thirty-four years of its existence the board of agriculture of Vermont has
S each year held its Mieetings and kept up its interest in the development of the agri-
culture of the State. It has extended the scope of its work from year to year until now
its lecturers cover a large field in their instruction, and their work is proving of great '
benefit to the farming interests of the State. The board has been judicious in the
employment of men as lecturers, selecting only those who are experts in the several.
lines of farming, as stock raising, fruit culture, dairying, sugar making, sanitary
farm buildings, etc.
The work of the board has stimulated the farmers of the State to aim at a much
higher grade of farming. Its lecturers have taught them the value of commercial
fertilizers and their more economical use, the importance of the exercise of care, and the
use of scientific methods in the feeding of animals, the value of keeping accurate records
of milk production, the conservation of moisture in the soil, and the use of various
forage crops both as food for animals and as furnishing fertility for the betterment of
their farms. In these and numerous other respects the influence and teachings of the
board and of the specialists employed as instructors in the institutes have been of
untold value to the farming interests of the State.
In 1904, 48 institutes were held, with an estimated attendance of 10,000 persons.
The secretary of the board of agriculture is the superintendent of institutes and his,
under the direction of the board, control of the work of fixing the dates and places for
the institutes and of arranging the programs.
Farmers' institutes seem to have taken definite form in Virginia about the year 1890.
In the reports of Thomas Whitehead, commissioner of agriculture for 1888-89, reference
is made to the advisabilityof holding institutes, and quotations are made from the reports
of the directors of institute work in some other States. The first meeting was held at
Chatsworth Farms, owned by R. B. Chaffin, near the city of Richmond, September
25 and 26, 1890. The meeting was well attended and addresses were delivered by a
number of prominent farmers and scientists. A summary of the proceedings, together
with the papers read, is contained in the report of the State board of agriculture for the
year 1890. The expenses of the meeting seem to have aggregated $169.03. It is .-
interesting to note that even at this early date the services of scientific experts were
considered of importance, for Professors Massey and Alvord addrest the meeting.
Doctor McBryde, president of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute, delivered a number
of notable addresses on agricultural education and experimental work at meetings held
in lateryears. Since the inception of the farmers' institute movement, the officersof the
Virginia Experiment Station have been frequently called on to deliver addresses before
meetings held in all parts of the State, a service cheerfully rendered on their part.
The initial meeting was so successful that the State board was encouraged the next
year to appropriate the sum of $250 for farmers' institutes to be held in each Con-
gressional district of the State upon a written petition signed by 300 farmers in the dis-
trict. Under this plan four institutes were held in the year 1891, namely, at Chats-
worth, Charlottesville, Bedford, and Pulaski, and the expense incurred for speakers
was $890.11. Many of the papers read at these meetings are published as an appendix
to the commissioner's report for 1891. On the whole, farmers' institutes seem to have
gained ground and to have found favor in the different sections of the State during
the year. .. .
The institute work was continued in the year 1892, meetings being held at Alex-
andria, Cape Charles, Grange Camp, Burkeville, and Lynchburg, and $1,425.50 was
expended in the work. The meetings seemed to have been highly successful, judging
from the commissioner's report, and he calls attention to the value of the meetings and
suggests the advisability of the State making a special appropriation for the maintenance
of institutes. As heretofore, a number of the best papers read before the institutes
were published as a part of the commissioner's report for the year 1892.
i :.. ..I
~ The movement seems to have waned somewhat during the year 1893. Only three
meetings were held, namely, at Lynchburg, Harrisonburg, and Manassas. The total
cost was $532.35. Many of the papers read are reproduced in the commissioner's
Only two applications seem to have been received for institutes in 1894, while only
one was held at Tappahannock, and the expense was $75.
*i! The institute movement seems to have revived a little according to the report of the
S commissioner for 1895. Four meetings were reported for that year from the first, sixth,
seventh, and eighth districts, the total expense being something like $400. The meet-
S ings were fairly well attended, but as the matter had been left entirely in the hands of
the farmers and no systematic effort made for the organization of the meetings, it is not
surprising that a large part of the special appropriation made by the board for holding
institutes should have been returned to them.
To Thomas Whitehead, commissioner of agriculture during the period under dis-
cussion, belongs the honor of first endeavoring to organize and place farmers' institutes
on a permanent basis in the State of Virginia. His efforts for the time and under the
conditions which confronted him were certainly successful. While these gatherings
S were not as far-reaching in their influence as those of the present day, the information
given out was of immense value to those attending and has paved the way for the more
S systematic efforts which the board of agriculture in cooperation with the Virgini:
Experiment Station has now inaugurated.
The commissioner's reports for the years 1896, 1897, and 1898 are not available, and
therefore it is not possible to say just what progress the institute movement made dur-
S ing that peroid. A few meetings were held by the officers of the experiment station at
various points in the State at the request of a number of leading farmers, and more
would have been held but for the fact that no specific appropriation was available for
the work; and so, while the station and college authorities fully recognized the value of
S institutes, they were unable to take a very active part in them because of a lack of
funds, but the institutes have always had their cordial support, and every effort has
been made to further them. Thomas Whitehead was succeeded by G. W. Koiner as
commissioner of agriculture.
E. In Commissioner Koiner's report for the year 1899 reference is made to the value of
S farmers' institute meetings and attention is called to the excellent work being done in
Wisconsin, Iowa, and various other States where large appropriations were made for
that specific purpose. It would appear from this statement that the farmers' institute
Movement had practically died out in Virginia. No report is available as to where or
when meetings were held or what the attendance was. The item of expense reads as
follows: Appropriations for bulletins, institutes, and reports, $878.08. It is not likely,
therefore, that many meetings were held within the year.
: In the report for 1900 the commissioner states that seventeen counties were visited
S and that the meetings were fairly successful. No reference is made to the places where
the meetings were held. The disbursements of the board show that $3,000 was spent _
: for these meetings.
S Further reference is made to the institutes in the report for 1902, but no account is
Given of places where the meetings were held or of the number of counties visited.
S One thousand two hundred and forty dollars was spent for institute work according to
the financial statement of the board.
SIn the year 1903 the commissioner's report states that "institute meetings have been
well received." The number is not given. One thousand one hundred and forty-
nine dollars was expended that year for institute purposes. In 1904 reference is made
to the increased demand for farmers' institutes. The statement of expenditures shows
S that $1,610.10 was used for conducting them.
Until 1903 the holding of farmers' institutes was practically under the direction of
S the commissioner of agriculture, but with the adoption of the new constitution in that
year an appropriation of $500 from the general revenues of the State board of agriculture
was made to each member of the board for holding institutes in his Congressional die-
At a joint meeting of the State board of agriculture and the board of control of the
Virginia Polytechnic Institute, held about a year ago, a plan of cooperation between
the two boards was decided on, whereby the members of the experiment station staff
were made available as lecturers at farmers' institutes in the State. Since that time a
number of members of the board have seen fit to avail themselves of the services of the
various members of the experiment station staff, and about thirty institutes have been
held iil the last six months in five Congressional districts of the State at the following
places: Roanoke, Wytheville, Danville, Stuart, Rocky Mount, Martinsville, Tazewell,
Pearisburg, Abingdon, Gate City, Pulaski, Harrisonburg, New Market, Strasburg,
Winchester, Berryville, Luray, Eastville, Onley, Hallwood,' Mathews, Gloucester,
Orange, Culpeper, Crewe, The Plains, Fairfax, and Leesburg. The experiment sta-
tion officers have assisted in organizing and conducting these meetings and are making
every effort in their power to promote the development of the farmers' institute move-
ment in the State, tho unpaid for this service. The meetings have been well attended,
the average not falling far short of two hundred. Considering that this is one of the first
efforts made in the State to hold institutes in a systematic manner, the results are par-
ticularly gratifying. The farmers attending have evidenced the greatest interest in
the meetings, both by their presence and the variety and number of questions asked
the speakers. In every county visited there has been a request for a meeting next
year, and if the good work so well commenced is followed up by the individual mem-
bers of the board a new era in farmers' institutes in Virginia is in sight.
The value of farmers' institutes is so clearly recognized and their merits have been
so fully set forth before the public that it is not necessary to further emphasize this
point. The discussion of important subjects in these meetings will certainly be pro-
ductive of much good. All that seems to be needed in Virginia in order to make the
farmers' institute movement a permanent and successful means of improving and
ameliorating agricultural conditions, disseminating useful and practical information,
and adding materially to the development of the State, is a definite and aggressive
policy with regard to the organization of the meetings in the several Congressional dis-
tricts. The fact that the farmers are ready and anxious to avail themselves of the
information to be obtained thru these meetings has been very clearly demonstrated in
every county where the meetings have been properly advertised.
In an act approved March 28, 1890, creating a commission of technical instruction to
establish a college of agriculture and mechanic arts in accordance with the provisions
of the land-grant act of 1862 of the General Government, the general scheme of instruc-
tion and methods for carrying out the processes of the new institution were specifically
set forth. In section 3 of this act a required part of the work of the college is definitely
stated to be "to hold farmers' institutes at such times and places and under such regu-
lations as it may determine." This was reaffirmed in 1897 in an act defining the duties
of the State Agricultural College and School of Science.
Immediately upon the opening of the agricultural and mechanical college the first
of a series of farmers' institutes was held under the auspices of the college at Colton on
January 30, 1892, C. W. Richardson presiding, with E. E. Alton as secretary. There
were 62 persons in attendance. The college was represented by President Lilly and
Professors Scobey, Lake, and Munn. The subjects discust were the purposes and
aims of the Washington Agricultural College, dairy farming, the tree crop for eastern
a There are ten Congressional districts in the State.
The second institute of the series convened at Garfield, Whitman County, Saturday,
February 20, 1892. President Lilly called the meeting t) order, whereupon Senator
A .C. McCroskey was elected chairman and A. S. Beach, secretary.
The chairman, in announcing the object of the meeting, stated that the agricultural
college faculty were present to discuss with others various subjects of interest to farm-
ers and also to extend the objects and workings of the college. The farmers were pr(s-
ent to aid in the consideration of the subjects to be discust. The number in attend-
ance is given at 137.
The third institute was held at Po:neroy, Garfield County, Saturday, May 15, 1902.
President Lilly, calling the meeting to order, stated the object t' be that of discussing
the various subjects of interest to the farmer and fruit grower, and also to explain the
objects and workings of the college, and bring the college faculty in close touch and
sympathy with the industrial interests and people of the entire State. At this meeting
there were 109 persons in attendance.
The legislature at its session of 1902 past an act making appropriation for farmers'
institutes in which the number to be held each year is definitely stated. The clause is
S as follows:
For maintenance and conducting farmers' institutes under direction of the regents of
the Washington Agricultural College and School of Science, $2,500 per year: Provided,
That at least one institute shall be held in each county of the State in each year.
Under the existing organization the president of the college is the superintendent of
S farmers' institutes and the dean of agriculture is the field agent and has direct control
of the execution of the work. The State is districted into four circuits-northwest,
southwest, northeast, and central-with an organizer in charge of each circuit. County
organizations have been established thruout the State, which are intrusted with the
duty of making local arrangements for institute meetings. In 1894, 57 institutes were
held; 12 were one-day, 44 were two-day, and 1 was a three-day institute. The total
number of sessions was 259, and the attendance is given at 15,922. Twelve speakers
are upon the State institute force; 8 of these are from the faculty of the agricultural
S college and the staff of the experiment station.
The first movement for the organization of a system of State and county farmers'
institutes in West Virginia was made by A. D. Hopkins, of Kanawha Station, Wood
County, who issued a call on February 10, 1889, for a meeting of farmers to be held at
the residence of Omar Page, Lockharts Run (now Roosevelt), Wood County, on
February 16, 1889.
This meeting was held at the time and place designated, with a number of farmers
present and with Omar Page in the chair, and A. D. Hopkins, secretary. The object
of the meeting was explained by the secretary as follows:
The object of this meeting is to take steps toward organizing a State farmers' institute
society for the purpose of organizing and conducting a system of farmers' institutes,
farmers' clubs, and farmers' meetings in Wood County, and to assist in extending the
S system thruout the State.
The plan proposed to organize a society to be known as the "Farmers' Institute
Society of West Virginia," the membership to be composed of farmers and others in
Wood and other counties of the State who were interested in agricultural pursuits.
The society was to have for its main object the organization of a system of farmers'
institutes in the counties represented by the members, and to assist in extending the
system to other counties of the State with a view to establishing the work upon a uni-
versal and cooperative plan as follows:
Members of the State society were to organize county institute societies; members
of the county societies were to organize farmers' clubs and special meetings. The
membership fees and annual dues for farmers' clubs, 5 cents; for county institutes, 20
cents, and for State institute societies, 50 to 75 cents;- the money thus collected-t i be :i
used by each club or society for the necessary expenses of conducting their respective
meetings and institutes. The farmers' clubs were to be open to members and invited
guests; the county institutes to be open and free to all who desired to attend.
The secretaries of the clubs, societies, and meetings were to keep a record of pnr-
grams and important and interesting facts presented at such meetings and report the
same in writing to the secretary of the State society, who would also act as general
superintendent of the system and furnish an annual report for publication.
The State society was to hold one or two institutes each year, to which county
societies and farmers' clubs \vould be expected to send delegates and speakers, assist
in obtaining special lecturers, and in securing an audience. ,!
For the financial support of the proposed system membership fees, annual dues,
and individual contributions were to be depended upon until State aid was secured.
After a discussion of the plan it was decided to call a meeting of the farmers of
Wood and adjoining counties for the purpose of discussing the matter further and to
take some active steps toward the proposed organization. March 13 was selected as
the day of meeting, and the place the court-house in Parkersburg. A circular letter
dated March 2, 1889, was prepared and sent out, and notices were also given by the
county papers calling attention to the tneeting, and referring to the necessity of farmers'
institutes being conducted in West Virigina as they were now being held in Ohio arid
The meeting was held at the time and place mentioned and was attended by some
of the most progressive and intelligent farmers of that section of the State., S. S. Stone,
of Selden, Wood County, was chosen temporary chairman, and A. D. Hopkins secretary.
The director of the experiment station, John A. Myers, was present, and in his
address explained the objects of the experiment stations and how the experiments
and investigations would benefit the farmers. In closing he referred to the farmers'
institute as one of the best educational institutions for farmers that was ever started,
and that he would like to see them organized in every county in the State.
The plan of organization for farmers' institutes that had been presented by Mr.
Hopkins at the February meeting was taken up and discust, after which the sec-
retary moved that steps be taken toward effecting a permanent organization. This
was carried, and 15 names were presented for charter membership. On motion of
A. A. Keller, the organization was made permanent, and the temporary officers were
The secretary then presented a draft of a constitution for an institute society, which
was referred to A. A. Keller and James McMechen, the president and secretary, a
committee to report a constitution to a succeeding meeting.
This committee met at the Commercial Hotel in Parkersburg on March 16 and 23
and decided upon a constitution, which was reported to a general meeting of the
society at Parkersburg on June 1, 1889, and adopted. The Farmers' Institute Society
of West Virginia was then permanently organized, with S. S. Stone president, J. T.
McMechen vice-president, A. D. Hopkins secretary, and Omar Page treasurer.
The constitution, as adopted, provided for the election of a president, vice-president,
secretary, and treasurer. The secretary was made superintendent of institutes, and
was empowered and directed to form neighborhood farmers' clubs. A membership
fee of 25 cents was fixt as the annual dues of each person.
Under this organization a "Strawberry" meeting was held at the store of J. W.
Dudley on June 8, 1889. The fruit committee held another meeting at the fairgrounds
in Parkersburg on July 27, and a picnic and farmers' institute was held on August 15,
at which T. B. Terry, of Ohio, was engaged to lecture. This was the first regular insti-
tute held by the society and was very successful. About 300 persons werq in
At a meeting of the society held in December arrangements were made for the hold
ing of an institute at the court-house in Parkersburg on January 21 and 22, 1890.
This meeting proved a success beyond all expectation. John A. Myers of the experi-
ment station; D. D. Johnson, of Tyler County; Oliver Garals, of Pleasants County; ). (i.
White, of Pennsylvania; A. A. Kellar, Judge Loomis, Mayor J. B. Gibbens, J. A.
Hutchinton, H. C. Henderson, and A. D. Hopkins, of Wood County, were the prin-
An evening session was held for the purpose of discussing plans for interesting farm-
ere thruout the State in institute work and to take steps toward securing State and
other aid in carrying out the objects of the Farmers' Institute Society of West Virginia.
At the close of the institute S. S. Stone, D. D. Johnson, and John A. Ijutchinson
were appointed a committee to go before the legislature, then in session, and urge upon
that body the importance of appropriating an amount of money sufficient to enable
this society, the board of regents of the State University, or both, to organize and con-
duct farmers' institutes in the State. Three bills were prepared by A. D. Iopkins
and submitted to this committee on February 3, 1890, one of which was selected and
presented on February 16 by the committee before the joint committee of finance cf
the senate and house, asking for an appropriation of $5,000 for farmers' institute work.
The bill past the house, giving the Farmers' Institute Society of West Virginia $2,000
for the purpose of holding farmers' institutes, the vote standing 36 to 15. The bill
then went to the senate, where an amendment was made to strike out the Farmers'
Institute Society and insert the board of regents of the West Virginia University, which
waacarried. An amendment was then proposed to place the funds under the control
I of the executive committee of the board of regents for the experiment station, which
also carried. At this point unexpected opposition was encountered. Senator Knott,
of Jefferson County, the master of the State Grange, moved to strike out the entire
clause making the appropriation, and as this was offered by the farmers' representative
S in the senate, it carried and the bill was defeated.
At a meeting of the.society April 29, 1890, in Parkersburg, the secretary, in an address
upon the subject of farmers' institutes, discussing the failure of the State appropri-
It appears now that the only available resource from which we can look for aid is
thru the board cf regents of the State University. I would therefore move that
someone be appointed to attend the annual meeting of the board at Morgantown next
June to solicit such aid in this work as is in their power to give, until we can determine
whether or not State aid will be extended at the next session of the legislature.
After a discussion the secretary was appointed to go before the board of regents of the
S State University at its annual meeting in June and solicit aid from that body in estab-
lishing institute work in the State. On June 11 the secretary, in pursuance of this
action, presented the resolutions of the society before the board of regents and requested
them, in the name of the institute society, to assist it in holding a State institute at
Parkersburg in August, and to otherwise assist the society in extending a system cf
farmers' institutes to other counties of the State. The board of regents, in compliance
S with this request, appointed D. D. Johnson, of the agricultural experiment station, to
assist in organizing county farmers' institutes in the different counties of the State,
his expenses being paid out of the station fund. Colonel Johnson proceeded to organize
county institutes during the following month (July, 1890) in Lewis, Harrison, and
In the meantime the institute society took active steps toward holding a State
;*. institute at Parkersburg on August 28 and 29, 1890. The institute was held at the
time and place mentioned, but was only a partial success.
During December, 1890, Colonel Johnson conducted farmers' institutes in Marshall,
S Wetzel, Tyler, and Pleasants counties.
On January 21, 1891, the director of the experiment station and the secretary of the
S Farmers' Institute Society arranged for a series of farmers' institutes which were con-
ducted by members of the experiment station staff, assisted by county institute
S societies and individual farmers in Wood, Barbour, Mineral, Berkeley, Monroe,
Kanawha, Cabell, Mason, and Jackson counties. Two days were devoted to each
institute, including one or two night sessions. Other institutes yere held during the
The legislature of 1891 had provided for the formation of a State board of agriculture,
which took up the work and conducted a series of institutes thruout the Statein Green-
brier, Wood, Harrison, Berkeley, and Jefferson counties, and assistance was rendered
in conducting these institutes by members of the experiment station staff.
The second semiannual meeting of the State Board of Agriculture of Wea Virginia
was held at Morgantown October 5,1891. There were present T. C. Atkeson, president,
B. F. Fisher, C. R. Sperrow, J. M. Rowan, and H. M. Turner, secretary. To this
session the director and members of the State experiment station and the members cf
the board of regents of the State University were invited to meet the board for the pur-
pose of exchanging views upon matters pertaining to the work for which the State
board of agriculture had been established. D. D. Johnson, agriculturist of the exper-
iment station,,addrest the board relative to its future work in cooperation with the
experiment station. He spoke of the difficulty in getting the farmers of the State to
study the science of progress in farming, and the tendency to find fault with any effort
made to interest them in institutes and other work that would be likely to assist them,
and he also spoke of the advisability of the board and the director of the experiment
station cooperating in the institute work. A committee, consisting cf members of the
board of regents of the State University, met with the board at a special session. Tiis
committee was composed of the following gentlemen: J. A. Robinson, C. L. Smith,
A. E. Bennett, and J. F. Brown. There were also present at the meeting J. A. Myers,
director of the experiment station, and A. D. Hopkins, entomologist. Doctor Myers
addrest the meeting at some length upon the work the station was doing, and was
followed by Major Bennett, Mr. Brown, and others of the committee of regents. T. C.
Atkeson, president of the board of agriculture, addrest the meeting and stated that the
board desired to act in harmony with the university and station.
Mr. Brown, of the committee of the board of regents, offered the following resolution:
Resolved, That it is the sense of this committee that the agriculturist do, upon such
reasonable occasions as may be approved by the director of the station, attend and
lecture upon appropriate subjects at the institutes held thru the State under the
auspices of the State board of agriculture, and that permission be granted the professor
of agriculture in like manner to attend and lecture at such institutes, with the approval
of the executive committee, and this resolution shall apply as well to the director of the
station and to the other members of the station staff, the latter at the direction of the
said director; and it is further
Resolved, That the actual traveling expenses of such agriculturist and professor in
and about said business shall be paid out of such funds of the station and department
as may be available therefor.
The resolution was adopted and the meeting adjourned.
The board of agriculture met the next day, October 7, 1891, in the library-of the
experiment station, and upon invitation J. A. Myers, director, and the station staff,
appeared and a joint meeting was held. The resolution past by the committee of
university regents was read and thoroly discust. A plan was finally agreed upon for
holding farmers' institutes in each Congressional district in the State and accordingly
there were held, under the auspices of the board, institutes at the following places:
Ronceverte, November 5 and 6; Parkersburg, November 9 and 10; Clarksburg, Novem-
ber 17 and 18, and Charlestown, November 19 and 20. The experiment station staff
held institutes at Kingwood and other places in the State about the same time.
The farmers were slow to realize the value of the institutes, and the work did not
progress very rapidly for some time, except in Ohio County, where a society had been
organized by the local farmers and an active interest taken in the institutes. The'
first institute held in Ohio County met at Wheeling, March 26 and 27, 1891, and a per- i
manent society was organized with the followingofficers: J. M. Brown, president; J. W. "
Garvin, vice-president; J. G. Leasure, secretary, and L. P. Sisson, treasurer. This
organization was maintained by its members until 1896, when it received assistance
from the State board of agriculture. From March, 1891, to January 30, 1904, from one
to two successful institutes were held each year.
In 92 a farmers' agricultural society was organized at Pleasant Valley, Marshall
Country, which held regular meetings for the discussion of farm topics. This organiza-
t tion formed the nucleus of what may be considered one of the best institute organiza-
tions in the State. The meetings are well attended by the farmers and their families,
and ronesession of each institute is devoted to domestic science. A similar organization
has been maintained in Barbour County for several years, where the farmers of their
own accord hold regular meetings for the purpose of "educating the mind and training
S the hand." It is easy to understand why such a county is called one of the banner
institute counties of the State. The society meets regularly each month, in addition
S to holding one or two annual institutes.
These counties are referred to in this connection because of the progressive spirit they
manifested in the early history of the institute movement in the State. Great progress
is being made in many of the other counties, where from one to four institutes are held
From March, 1891, until October, 1897, the institutes were mostly conducted by the
members of the board, each member being assigned to look after the institutes in his
district. No compensation was allowed for the time and services rendered. Actual
traveling expenses incurred were paid out of the appropriation made to meet the
current expenses of the board. Gradually the farmers began to appreciate the work
that was being done to improve their condition, which created a greater demand for
It was soon found that some special effort must be made to meet the demands of the
farmers for additional meetings and also to extend the institutes into the more remote
sections of the State.
With this in view, a resolution was past at a meeting of the board held October 4,
1897, creating the office of institute director, and C. C. Brown, of Charleston, was
S elected to the office for the term of two years. In prescribing the duties of the director
the resolution says, in part:
The duties of said director shall be to superintend and have direction of and arrange
for the holding of all farmers' institutes in the State, under such rules and regulations
as may be prescribed by the board, and as set forth in chapter 22, section 5, of the act
Under the supervision of the institute director, a special effort was made to hold at
least one institute in each county, and the work was prosecuted with more or less suc-
cem. In some parts of the State they were missionary in character, since they opened
the way for the performance of a more substantial work in the future. The success
-attending the efforts of the institute director fulfilled the hopes that inspired his
appointment to the extent that the office was continued.
At the meeting of the board, October 18, 1899, D. M. Sullivan was elected institute
S director for the term of two years. The name of the office was changed at the meeting
of the board held April 7, 1902, to that of superintendent of institutes, and J. B. Garvin
was elected for the remainder of that term. At a meeting held October 5, 1903, he was
reelected for the term of two years.
Various plans have been devised to create interest among the farmers and to insure
good attendance at the meetings, so that the board might be justified in sending out
first-class instructors. A recent plan adopted by the board is to require that petitions
be sent in requesting institutes. Each society is furnished with two blank petitions
for the purpose of securing the names of farmers who agree to help work up the institute.
One copy of the petition, signed by at least ten or more farmers, is returned to the
S office of the superintendent of institutes, where it is placed on file. One copy is kept
by the secretary of the local society. Ample time is given for circulating and
returning these petitions before the institute committee meets.
The institute committee is appointed by the board, and consists of two members
of the board and the superintendent of institutes. The committee examines and coan ..-
siders each petition and arranges the places and dates into divisions. The committee
also selects the institute instructors who are to have charge of the different divisi ~:,,i.i
When this work is completed, a list of topics is furnished the local committee of .:reit-''i
society, from which topics for the program are selected and returned to the office oa.
the superintendent of institutes, who has them printed and returned, together wilt
printed posters to be used for advertising the meetings. It is urged that due notice ef
the meetings be published in the local papers. Circular letters are also mailed to inidi-
vidual farmers in the community where the institute is to be held, signed by the
instructor who is to have charge, and printed postal cards are furnished the secretaries,
to be used in a similar manner. ....
This plan systematically carried out has been more successful than any other which .
has yet been tried. From 80 to 90 institutes are held each year in the 55 counties of the
In Wisconsin the State Agricultural Society, the Northern Wisconsin Agricultural
Society, the Dairymen's Association, and the Horticultural Society all were holding
meetings of an institute nature, and Doctor Henry, of the agricultural college, had held
farmers' meetings at different points in the State long before the State system of farmers'
institutes was thought of, and it is more than probable that the effects of these agri-
cultural meetings, or institutes, and the good they were doing, had much to do in !
bringing about the establishment of an organized State system.
The law establishing a system of farmers' institutes for Wisconsin was introduced into
the Wisconsin legislature of 1884-85 by C. E. Estabrook, of Milwaukee.
The bill introduced by Mr. Estabrook past the Wisconsin legislature in 1885. The ;
act carried with it an annual appropriation of $5,000. Two years later it was amended
and the appropriation was increased to $12,000 per annum.a
The amended act gave authority to the board of regents of the State University to
hold farmers' institutes and empowered the board to make such rules for their regular -
tion as it might deem proper.
The farm committee of the university board of regents selected the late W. H. Morri-
son as the first superintendent, with an office room in the capitol building, and gave
him almost absolute power in organizing and perfecting the institute system. Since
1894 the present superintendent has conducted the work.
Mr. Morrison had experience as a farmer, county superintendent of schools, and sec-
retary of the well-known Walworth County Agricultural Society, whose annual fairm
have become celebrated thruout the State and country. His good judgment and
remarkable organizing ability rapidly brought the Wisconsin system of institutes into
such good working order that other States and Provinces, formulating systems for them-
selves, drew upon Mr. Morrison very largely for their plans. An average of 44 meetings
were held during the first two years with the $5,000 appropriation. During the next
seven years an average of 70 meetings were held, and in the past ten years an average
of 112 have been held annually, with 11 cooking schools additional, each season during
the past eight years. For the past ten years the aggregate attendance has been about
50.000 per year.
The Wisconsin institutes are what the name indicates-genuine farmers' institutes
being actually held by the farmers themselves. The superintendents of the work
both have been practical farmers, and the workers are chosen from the best farmers in
the State, those whose live stock and farm products have won prizes at the greatest
shows in the country and have topt the best markets for farm products; men who
had a reputation, not only in their own localities but thruout the State, as its best
a See U. S. Dept. Agr., Office of Experiment Stations Bul. 135 (Revised), p. 34.
cl p ". .
stock breeders and farmers before they were called to the institute platform. The
farmers ask for these meetings and feel that they are their own.
During 1886-87 Superintendent Morrison became convinced that the best thoughts
and suggestions brought out in the different discussions should be preserved, and
accordingly began the publication of the Wisconsin Farmers' Institute Bulletin. This
S has been continued annually. The material for this bulletin is secured by holding a
round-up institute, at which the institute workers of the State are brought together
along with some of the professors from the agricultural college and a number of i nst itute
Slecturers from other States. The papers, addresses, and discussions presented at this
meeting are stenographically reported and edited into a bulletin.
SIn 1887, 31,000 copies of Bulletin No. 1 were issued. In 1890 the issue was increased
to 40,000, in 1895 to 50,000, and in 1896 to 60.000. One hundred thousand could now
be profitably used, but the funds will not permit the publication of so large an issue.
S Eight thousand cloth-bound bulletins are turned over to the superintendent of public
* instruction to be placed in the school district libraries of the State. The balance of
them are distributed at the institutes and thru the local press, creameries, cheese fac-
tories, farmers' clubs, agricultural societies, farmers, and business men.
SThe cost of the preparation, editing, printing, and distributing of this bulletin of 320
pages is about $6,000. Part of this, however, is returned from funds received for the
limited amount of advertising placed in its pages.
Midwinter fairs under the local management are held in connection with many of
the two-day winter institutes where prizes for products of the farm and home, varying
in amount of premiums from $10 up to $2,500, have been offered. Where properly
managed this fair feature adds very much to the interest.
The methods followed in conducting Wisconsin institutes partake both of the fea-
tures of a school and of a conference. A petition, signed by farmers and business men,
is sent in to the management, in which they proffer a free hall and agree to look after
the local details without any expense to the State fund. The institutes are located
by the superintendent by selecting from the places making application in such a
manner as to best cover the entire State. These meetings are thoroly advertised by
sending out posters and programs and by notices thru the local press.
The winter meetings are two days each. Upon the first day three sessions are held
iand but two upon the second day. The evening session, which is held the evening of
the first day, is devoted to educational topics, in which the school officers usually take
part with the institute workers.
In attending each meeting the conductor of the corps of workers impresses upon the
S farmers the fact that it is their meeting and that they are expected to take an active
part in all the discussions.
I The speakers give an opening lecture of from fifteen to twenty minutes in length
S which is followed by a twenty to thirty minute discussion, the greater part of which is
devoted to asking questions by the farmers, and to brief, pointed answers to the same
S by the institute workers, with an occasional short statement of experience and experi-
nments by those present.
The conductor at each meeting promptly shuts off all partizan political discussions
Sor statements based on ignorance, prejudice, or superstition. Charts are used exten-
sively in all discussions. Models and animals are also sometimes used.
A stock-judging institute was held a few years ago under the direction of the super-
intefident of farmers' institutes at the Waukesha County Fair, since which time sev-
iral counties have adopted the plan and require the judges to briefly state the reasons
for their awards.
All meetings are reported to the superintendent by the conductors in charge. The
reports of each meeting aim to give a general view of the agricultural conditions of the
section in which the meeting is held and are made upon uniform blanks furnished to
each conductor for the purpose. One object of these reports is to aid the superintend-
F: ent in planning future work in the same district.
N?,..:::. .. ....
Since 1895 from 10 to 16 one-day institutes have been held in thq timber: disukS..."
of central and northern Wisconsin, where farmers are making homes by cleanrig ~::
the timber land that has been logged over. These meetings have been very suceesirii.:IJ
ful and in great demand, and we believe have done much toward developing bet"iei'iil
methods of farming, better bred live stock, and the dairy industry in particular. May
cheese and butter factories have been established as the results of these meetiip.
The farmers of Wisconsin at first were suspicious of the farmers' institutes, loc." ....king .
upon them as a political move or an advertising medium for stock breeders or:for the::
agricultural college and the State university, and quite often spoke of the institutea.i!':!
workers and speakers as theorists. This spirit has been entirely overcome by i
employment of practical farmers as'institute instructors, until now the farmers ofWf '
consin have full confidence in the institute and its teachings.
The Wisconsin system, while it may not be the best under all conditions and cirC um-
stances, seems to be very satisfactory to Wisconsin farmers. It lays claim to being the
oldest organized State system in the country and has been, to some extent, studied by
representatives from other States and from foreign countries, and some of its plans have
been worked into many systems now in operation thruout the country.
The work in Wisconsin has grown and developed so much that the greatest need now
is more funds to meet the many calls for institutes which can not at present be satisfied.
So far as Wisconsin is concerned, farmers' institutes have come to stay, and the ontly
question now is how to keep them advancing so as to satisfy the demands upon thie.
The first active steps toward establishing farmers' institutes in Wyoming were taeik
at a meeting of the State industrial committee held at Sheridan, October 7-9, 1908.
At this meeting, in pursuance of some suggestions made before the committee in an
address by the Farmers' Institute Specialist of the National Department of.Agricul-
ture, steps were taken by representatives of the State agricultural and mechanical :
college, and of the State agricultural experiment station to organize the institute work .. :
and endeavor to secure an appropriation from the State in its behalf. -"
The State agricultural college and the experiment station had been planning for t.he
organization of this work for some years and had held at the college the previous yea ir
a meeting to which the farmers of the State had been invited. The difficulties due to
the sparsely settled condition of the country districts and the lack of railroad commun- ...
nication made it impracticable for the members of the college faculty and the experi-
ment station staff to visit the rural communities without additional aid from sonmeaur. -
outside of the college and station funds to meet the expense.
To provide for this, Director B. C. Buffum, of the State experiment station prepared
a bill which was presented before the eighth general assembly of the State at it.seaioni -:
of 1903-4, which was incorporated in the general appropriation bill and past. .
The portion relating to farmers' institutes is section 47 of the general appropriation
bill, and provides $2,000 for the purpose of holding farmers' institutes and short costie n
in stock judging, agronomy, and general farming, the meetings to be arranged at .ea.ch
places and at such times as will accommodate the people of the community in wih iii
the meetings may be desired. The institutes or short courses are placed in cha :e O. ,:
the agricultural department of the university which arranges the necessary detaisof the::
meetings. The board of trustees of the universityis given authority to employriniucta
ors and lecturers, to provide equipment, and to meet any necessary expenses incident .
to the meetings.
The first community to avail itself of the provisions of this act was Cody, BigM:haw.:-
County, where Director Buffum conducted a three-day institute on March 29, 30, iat
31, 1905. This was the first State institute held in Wyoming and will be followed b
others at the close of the farming season.
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
3 1262 08927 9078
xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8
REPORT xmlns http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitss xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitssdaitssReport.xsd
INGEST IEID EJXJ9F9XA_D4XC9V INGEST_TIME 2013-11-15T23:06:11Z PACKAGE AA00014578_00001
AGREEMENT_INFO ACCOUNT UF PROJECT UFDC