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 w.as 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.'
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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 .'
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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.
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 farm.er
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 ..;'
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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.