Progressive Minas: Her Modern Agricultural College

Material Information

Progressive Minas: Her Modern Agricultural College
Series Title:
Correspondence and Subject Files 1921-1943
Rolfs, Peter Henry
Rolfs, Clarissa
Rolfs, Peter Henry
Physical Location:
Subject Files
11. Progressive Minas: Her Modern Agriculture.


Subjects / Keywords:
Rolfs, Peter Henry
Rolfs, Clarissa
Agriculture -- Study and teaching -- Brazil -- Minas Gerais.


An article about the founding of Escola Superior de Agricultura e Veterinaria do Estado de Minas Gerais.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida Archives
Rights Management:
Copyright Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier:


This item has the following downloads:

Full Text


Her Moderm Agricultural College


P. H. Rolfs and C. Rolfs

The Government of the State of l7inas GUeraes resolved in 1920

to establish a College that would minister to the needs of the

farming people of the State. In casting their eyes over the world

to see where they would be able to obtain the most competent assis-

tance, they came to the conclusion that the Lorth &American Agricul-

tural Colleges mor-e nearly represented their ideal thqn those of

any other land.

?hru diplomatic channels, contact was made with a North Amer-

ican who supposed to have the ability to "locate, organize and

conduct" such an Agricultural College, on the Eorth American plan.

This gigantic enterprise was actively inaugur-ated i.* 1921; when

a commission consisting of Dr. Azin Alvaro de '-ilveiro, at that

time State Director of Agriculture, Dr. arduino bolivar, and I. H.

Rolfs were indicated to select the site. Absolute free hand was

given to the commission, excepting that the institution should be

located in what is known as the "Zona da kiatta".

The commission considered that the following five conditions

of the location were absolutely essential to the success of Lthe

undertaking: 1). Healthfulness beyond ;K-? question; 2). Water

supply sufficient, not less than two hundred thousand liters per

day; 3). Not leas than one thousand acres of land, 50 % arable;

4). Away from a large city but neat a small city or large town;

5). On the main line of a railway, preferably along side of one.

After visiting nine principal locations in t.;e "Zona da Ilac ta"l

and viewing them from a technical and practical standpoint, Viqosa,

with an altitude of 650 meters, was considered as meeting the re-

quirements in a much better way than any of the other localities

studied. A thousand acres pf land were purchased and plant for

the buildings were drafted by the Government architects. The Govern--

ment selected one of the three plans submitted by their experts.'
.L *l
-f-f :.

I. F -,


it was at once recognized that the work of establishing a

modern Agricultural College, to accommodate from three to five hundred

students, was a Lerculean task. Lany were the predictions that Hinas

never complete it sufficiently to accept students, but nox the Escola

has been functioning for three semesters with most flattering results.

The laboratories are still incomplete, and none of the departments

are fully equipped, but a sufficient amount of progress has been made

that the departments of Agronomy, Animal Husbandry, and -orticulture

and Pomiculture can give efficient instruction in the "Curso Ele-

mentar, Curso liedlo", and the first two years of instruction in the

"Curso SuperiuD". The field departments df these three sections

are each in a separate valley. Horticulture and i-omiculture is

located in the main valley, which extends for more than two kilo-

meters along the main line of the Leopoldina aillway. The Depart-

ment of Animal Husbandry is located in a valley running toward the

east for more than a kilometer. The Departmaent of agronomy extends

up a valley to the west for two kilometers. The main building and

dormitory are located at the junction of the three valleys.

The construction of the main building in itself was a difficult

undertaking, being 88 meters Zong and 34 wide. It is two stories

high, with a completed basement, and contains, all told, 82 rooms.

Everything from brick to professors' filing cases has had to be made

on the premises. Tables, desks, chairs,- all had to be mr/A4M /t

manufactureA from logs bought in the forest. The State of Minas

wvas eztrdmely fortunate in securing he services of an able young

hineiran, Dr. Bello LisSoa, who most successfully carried out the

arduous and multitudinous task of construction.

Minas Students Prefer Practical Work.

Minas has taken a bioad view of education and admits students

from any other state on the same basis and cost as her own sons. Over-.,'

sixty percent of the students come directly from the farms, conse- /

quently they are well imnnured to the fanrm ideal and accustomed to

work. Our experience has proven that the students prefer to work
*~~~t wo ..rk .'

-^ _. ... *. ** *^ .; ^ :^ *";.^ ^ ;
*' r ~W X '- '-""".,g


in the fields, with the plants and animals, to working in the class

rooms, altho educators have said repeatedly that the Ivinas young men

would refuse to do the practical work. It should be remembered,

however, that the students are not required to do routine, or manual

work, for the sake of the labor. Our field work is instructive and

never routine. There has never been any hesitation-on the part of

the students to do the farm work. -'e would naturally expect that

l.,inas students, like Borth American students, would object to doing

purely menial labor excepting when they were paid for it.

By the regulations of the School, students that enter for the

Elementary and Liddle Courses must be at lafat eighteen years old.

This is a very wise precaution, as it keeps out in-nature boys. A

young man who has completed ten "preparatorios" may enter the

Cnrso Superior at sixteen years of age. in this way we have made

provision for the unusually brilliant stu-ents.

Practical Experimentation.

In addition to the didactic work of teaching, the College

carries on a large series ofd experiments. At the present time

these are confined to the three departments mentioned above. "hen

the institution shall have developed these courses more fully, others

will be added until everything that is of interest to the

will be tested and taught.

Experiments in Fomiculture have shown that citrus fruits can

be grown in Viinas G-eraes equal to those of Florida or California,

and some varieties have produced fruits superior to those produced

in other countries. Already more than eighty varieties of citrus

have been tried, and most of them discarded as worthless.

Experiments in cotton growing show that the MiJnas soil will

produce, without the use of fertilizer, double the average yield

for the United States, even vwhen much fertilizer is used. The staple...

is far more lustrous than that of the same variety grown in the

Southern United States.

Experiments with pure-bred Duroc-Jersey hogs prove that they can.
be raised just as cheaply in Minas as aitywhere else the world 1
as a n h er ela In h e w rld ..;'

**. .: 2 ",,* ',; ii : ,-'3;? 4f, ) '-,-T %


As hogs are one of the important crops of the state, this was one

of the first experiments to be undertaken on an extensive scale.

Idinas Geraes is the leading state of Brasil intv!e production

of dairy products. The fine group of "Hollandez" cattle shown in

the photograph is only a part of the herd owned by the College.

These cows have given us fine results, and their milk contributed

greatly to the health and comfort of the studIents, and the families

working for the institution.

Already the College has proven its worth to t he farmers of

the $tate, by selling to them pwmaxf citrus trees, budded to

pure bred varieties that could not be obtained elsewhere in Brasil. -

Several thousands have been sold and the demand greatly exceeds the

supply, demonstrating that the farmers have confidence in the College.

Hundreds of kilos of pure bred seed have been sold by the depart-

ment f Agronomy, and the Department of Animal Husbandry has sold

many purebred animals. Hundreds of farmers have come to the

Escola grounds for information and instruction, some remaining only -

an hour or two2 others for a day or two, and a few remaining for

more than a week.

At no time has MLinas undertaken an enterprise more important

to the future well fare and well being of her agricultural people.

The broad principles on vhich the College is founded, put it at once

in the forefront in the country and, probably 6n the Continent.

Full Text
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 EP8Q9PEY2_FP3ICP INGEST_TIME 2014-03-24T23:36:53Z PACKAGE AA00000207_00085