Mission of the Extension Division of the University in the present War Crisis (WWI).

Material Information

Mission of the Extension Division of the University in the present War Crisis (WWI).
Series Title:
Writings and Speeches 1891-1920
Rolfs, Peter Henry
Publication Date:
Physical Location:
Articles, Speeches and Other Writings
86. Mission of the Extension Division of the University in the present War Crisis (WWI).


Subjects / Keywords:
Agricultural extension work -- Florida.
Florida Cooperative Extension Service.
Agricultural Experiment Station.
University of Florida.
Rolfs, Peter Henry


Draft of an address given by P. H. Rolfs to Florida county agents on the mission of extension work in connection with the war (WWI).

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Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida Archives
Rights Management:
Copyright Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
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UFDC Membership

Peter Henry Rolfs
University Archives


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of the University
in the
Present War Crisis


P. H. Rolfs

06unty Agents: I am very glad to be with you

this morning and give you a brief talk on the mission of

our Extension Work in connection with the present war crisis.

We have met here again to dedicate ourselves to this work.

I say dedicate correctly; there is no other line of work

in the state of Florida or 6f the nation that means so

much of a dedication. If you are not thoroly enthusiastic

over the Extension Work and give your whole soul and mind

to it you are a failure. The Extension Agent, the County
Agent, has got to be the nroa-amry in the true sense of

the spirit. He has got to be a missionary to the farmers,

and when he sees his mission fail time after time, time

after time, he still has to$ keep up courage and go forward

with hsi work. He has got to be up and doing, early and

late. He has got to make himself everything to everybody.

We know that from past experience,and under present con-

ditions---war conditions---this is still more true than it

has ever been before. I tell you, gentlemen, the real

test of our work-came when war was declared. The real

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test of the value of our work came at that time. Under
normal conditions we were running along and doing well
but we could not tell whether we were getting much out
of it or not, whether we were really a democratic body
or something else; we were simply going along, drifting
along. But when war came we had to meet conditions
and as a democratic Nation we had to get up and meet
that condition as one man, we had to get, change about,
and do things differently from what we had been doing
before. We are in the true sense the servants of the
people. We know that from experience. You know from
the way rou get bossed around in your community that you
are not the boss of the people; and yet, if you have a
good idea and have a good proposition to put before them it
goes forward and is adopted. It is that everybody will
be helpful to everybody else. The spirit of the work
is what counts. This Ddmonstration Work has permeated
the whole south more than any other part of the country.

I was surprised when in Washington I saw maps showing

the area covered by this work, and found that in Florida
Georgia, Alabama, and the southern states there was a
much greater proportion than in the northern and western
states. Some of the northern states wete covered with only

about twenty-five per cent of their area, while in Florida


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we were pretty well covered. In one other state there was

a larger percentage under the demonstration work than Florida.

This shows a tremendous work. We are working for the

Nation. A moment ago I told you you were servants of the

people, The government is made up of the people and the

people make the government, so the people and the government

are one and the same.

We have the greatest Nation in the world; we have

the best conditions of life, liberty, and property, and

the possibility of individual advancement, the largest

amount of personal liberty, and let me say we do not allow

r much personal license as has been shown by the numerous

occurences of very resent time. Liberty unbound, license

more curbed. We have the most democratic nation that

ever-existed in the world. We have read in Ancient History

about some of the old Nations having democratic forms of

government that were splendid and quite similar to our

own government, but they disappeared from earth. The flag

of our country is the emblem for peace, equality of all,

and no oppression, and Wilson has added another note to it,

"and no aggression".


Providence has in its election

of its chief executive. I doubt whether we have anohter

man in the United States better fitted for the position

of President than Mr. Wilson, we certainly have never had

one. I consider Mr. Wilson the greatest man in the whrld

at the present time. I say Providence has guided Mr.

Wilson up to his present position, has prepared him for

it. Wilson the historian; he has sttLdid history;

Wilson the student of political economy; then last we

see him preparing for the final struggle as President

of a University. And, gentlemen, if you want to know

something about what the president of a university has

to be you want to be on his faculty for some time and you

will see. The president of a university has to compete

with some of the greatest men of the country, men with

broad ideas, and his ideas must be

political science, social science and all that

goes to make up

Whether he wishes or not he must keep himself and

must always be on the outlook for men with ideas of their

own. I do not know of any university president who is

not always looking for men with big ideas, and when he finds

such a iaan he must go out after him and if he has money

enough get him. Princeton University had those men to

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compete with Mr. Wilson, then he had that large body of

students that were forever wanting something different,

something new, same change, and if that was not enough

to train a man for the presidency of the United States

I am much mistaken. President Wilson, in going to the

presidency of the United States had had no experience in

politics. I think that was the most fortunate thing that

could ever have happened---to get a man into the White House

who knew nothing about politics. He knew political

economy, he knew history, and he knew what people ought to

do, but he had had no experience with common bickering

and trading that usually goes with politics. He was

elected, and he has succeeded most beautifully. There

never has been another man who has gotten along with Con-

gress so well and who has got Congress to do what it

ought to do.

This is the situation as it stood before us at

the beginning of the war. You know what our conditions

were in the Extension W1ork. In April of the present

year we had some seventy odd men and women who were well

drilled and well trained for the extension work as it

existed at that time. In our extension work wej were

peculiarly free from spectacular and freaky sort of stunts.

We are isolated in Florida to some extent, we have no

state west of us, no state east of us, and no state south

of us, and we were not in very intimate contact with the

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statep north of us. We were close Dnough that we could

draw upon them at times, or we were isolated in our work

in the extension division,an6 we were, as I have said,

peculiarly free of the spectacular and freaky.

When the war occurred there was a very great

change in economic conditions of the country. However, in

our extension work we went along steadily in our work, we

continued to teach, to formulate, and to enlarge our

plans. We made no radical and special change. However,

the change of economic conditions made it necessary for us

to take those things into consideration. However, at the

great outbreak of the war, this world's greatest catastrophe,

everyone was stunned. We had heard talk of the war for

so long and nothing had come of it, and we had begun to

feel that Wilson was going to carry us thru without our

getting into it at all.

I remember travelling to Jacksonville right after

the war was declared and naturally everyone was talking

about the war. We were in the smoker and there was a

general so he was supposed to have more knowledge of such

things than most of us in regard to war conditions and

war possibilities. The question was put to him as to how

long this war was going to last. He said "This war is

so deadly, the machinery for this war is so awful, that

it is absolutely impossible for the people of the world

to stand it for more than ninety days. This war has got


to come to a close,the awful killing of people, the terrible

machinery, the murdering of people on the high seas is so

great that it has got to be brought to a close in ninety

days". No one could dissent because no one could say

he knew more about it. There were also some bankers

travelling to Washington to look after the national reserve.

So we turned to the banker, who said it could not last longer

than Christmas. "There is not money enough in the world

to finance the war longer than till Christmas. It has got

to break down by then," said he, and he proceeded to tell

us in millions and billions why the world could not stand

it. The cost was so tremendous that it would have to break


Now, gentlemen, that reminds me something of the

man who was in jail. He sent for his attorney and after

talking with him and going over the case the attorney said,

"Why, they cannot but you in jail for that". "Btt here I

am," said the man, and that is just the situation we are in.

The army and navy people told us we could not continue this

war for more than ninety days. Financial men said we

could not. Tet here we are in October, 1917, over three

years of war and no one is ready to predict, not one of those

that have intimate knowledge of conditbns, is ready to

predict that this war will come to a close in three years,

in five, and some say it may be ten or twelve.

C- I -"


If you will study the economic conditions of

the German Empire and the territory held by the German

Empire you will probably find the region is large enough

to support those people in food for an almost indefinite

time. Now we hear a great many stories and see, them

printed in papers about the Germans starving to death, and

a great many stories of similar import. I think we should

not give great credence to these stories as those who have

accurate knowledge of conditions within the German empire

are not likely to give us this same ypy report that we

generally find in newspapers. One of the greatest books

by S -.6 of Gerard, in his book gives some

minute information of "Inside the German Bmpire" Those

who have been in the country give somewhat similar informa-

tion of the conditions in Germany.

Now among the people who were traveling to

Jacksonville in the smoker was a young lieutenant. who said

"My opinion is not worth much, but I believe this war is

going to be determined by the exhaustion of ome particular

commodity, it may be nickel, "t may be Yadium, it may be

, something else, but one or the other side will exhaust their

supply of that material". Our present situation seems to

indicate that the young man got nearer to the point than

some of the older men. I have a copy of the Official

Bulletin for Tuesday, September 25, in which Mr. Hoover makes

some recommendations. Among others he has the topic of

1:1~111~ lis~-- -. ~-

0 *-9-

fats. "Serve as few fried dishes as possible so as to save

both butter and lard, and in any event use vegetable oils

for frying---that is, olive oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil,

vegetable oil compounds, etc. They are equally good. Serve
all butter in standard pats for guests and employees. A

butter-pat machine promotes economy. Trim all coarse fats

from meats before cooking and sell the waste fats to the
soak maker, thereby increasing supply of soap and glycerine.
We are short of soap fats, as our supplies of tropical oils

for soap making are much reduced. Do not waste soap."

mp We are short on soap fats, we must keep that in mind.
We know, from what has come to us from behind the

fighting trenches, that soap, soap grease and fats of that
character, have been the most seriously needed materials

that the Germans have been calling for. We hear all sorts

of grawsome stories about how the Germans are supplying

glycerine. After the outbreak of the European war and
before the declaration of the war of the United States
ag ainst Germany I had an opportunity of having frequent

conferences not only with the leading men of the state
but with those of the United States, with the various

officials of the U. S. Department of Agriculture. All

th*t time the drift was toward the break, toward the war.

We were all trying to readjust ourselves in mind at least,

and while the extension work of the State of Florida was


continued on the same old plan and we were doing the

work in the same way we had been doing it, still we had

time to think, time to discuss, and time to think over

what would we do, what must we do, when war was declared.

Consequently, when war was declared it did not come to us

as a shock, not did it come to us unprepared. We were

prepared for it and in less than a day's time, possibly

two days at the longest, our entire system of the Extension

Work changed front. Professor McQuarrie sent out a

circular to each demonstration agent giving instructions

that would have been considered entirely wrong one or two

days before. Miss Harris at the same time sent out

instructions to.the home demonstration agents giving them

instructions as to what and how to take hold of the work.

In some cases the about-face was not as prompt with the

agents as it would have been if they had been seeing the

whole large problem from the national or state standpoint.

Still our work was very materially changed in less than

a week's time. Very little, notice had been given as to

just why this should be changed. Every agent knew we were

under serious and critical conditions. As a result some

changes occurred in the demonstration work. I might say

that particular emphasis was placed on the preserving and

conserving for future use of all food stuffs. Thru the

home demonstration work we got over one and a half million

cans put up for use. These have been placed away for

use during the winter. This is something that had never




been done in Florida before.
In the case of the county agents they laid stress
upon food and forage. Food and forage was the slogan,

food and forage first, food and forage second, and food

and forage last. There was no let-up on those particular

points. As a result we have an unprecedented sweet potato

crop in the state, velvet beans, and corn. Weather, climatic

conditions, have not been as generous to us as we had

hoped they would be, otherwise the corn production of the

state would have shown a tremendous increase for the year.

I want to enumerate some of the large problems of the

Extension work as carried out by us. One of these large

problems was that of live stock. We knew, from statistics,

that the live stock of the United States was short. The

feed supply was short. In May in conference with Dr.

Enapp and Mr. Rommel, plans were laid for getting better

live stock into Florida. The problem was for getting some

of the blooded stock from Texas into Florida, using breed-

ing stock that otherwise would go to the block. We knew

a large amount of that could be bought in Texas and brought

into Florida. But the question was to know how to bring

this about. Necessarily it was a big task, it meant

many thousands of animals to be transferred from Texas to

South-eastern part of the United States. While we were

working on the subject the big drought continued in Texas.

The Texans had hoped this summer would bring them ample


' *


rainfall, but the drought continued and they were not

fortunate so there was a large amount of cattle on the

market which made the situation acute. Many of the

cattle were dying and thousands of them would be sacrificed

when not fit to be. Thru the cooperation of the

food administrator that was one of the first problems

taken up after the law was passed. When the work was

finally in operation Professor Spencer took charge of that

*particular problem in the state of Florida and got a

considerable number of western cattle brought into the

state. About a week ago I got the names of a number of

people who had brought cattle in. These were

These were all blooded stock, either grades or full-blooded.

A short time ago we undertook the work of finding

out how much food material was being used by various

families. Questionaireq, 300 of them, were sent to us and

these were divided into 'different places and sent out by

the'agents whose names follow:

Some of the colored agents also volunteered to help in

this work. The object of that food survey was to find

out the maxwrk character of the food that was being used

by these people and the amount, and the probable need.

The probable need would be deduced from the information

that would be gotten in this statistical survey. These





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