United States. Dept. of Agriculture.

Annual reports of the Department of Agriculture for the fiscal year ended ... : report of the Secretary of Agriculture, miscellaneous reports online

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larity. The increase is chiefly due to better prices and more profitable
results of farm operations, leading to a higher capitalization of land
on account of increased net profit. But this by no means fully ac-
counts for the marked increase discovered in farm values, when sec-
ondary causes are considered. Everywhere is revealed a more intelli-
gent agriculture; the farmers are improving their cultural methods
and are changing from less profitable to more profitable crops. They
are discovering that high cost of production attends extensive agricul-
ture, and that, on the contrary, intensive culture and intensive crop*
increase the net profits per acre. As disclosed in the preceding
increases of average acre values, the farms of the less intensive culture
and crop have increased in value less than the farms having the more
valuable crops receiving high culture.

Other causes for higher values are the erection of new buildings,
the keeping of buildings in better repair, better fences, tile draining
of land that has been too wet, and a general improvement in farm
thrift. New facilities for transportation, where existing, are every-
where reported as at once raising the value of farm lands, whether
new railroads or wagon roads that will permit the hauling of larger
loads and for longer distances.

Another cause of increase which has had a distinct effect by itself
is the growing desire and ability of farmers, and townspeople also,
to invest in farm lands as affording a safe investment, even though
the rate of interest, as values now are, is not high.

Many minor causes have cooperated with the foregoing to bring
about the wonderful increase in farm values during the past five
years that the Department has discovered.

Grand aggregate increase of value. — The correspondents report-
ing with regard to this matter were requested to state increases and
decreases for medium farms. There are reasons for believing that
the increases for this class of farms may be extended to farms below
and above the medium without a material distortion of the fact as
representing all farms. While the increases reported for medium
farms are higher than for the more poorly kept and less productive
farms, on the other hand they are lower than for the better kept and
more productive farms of the highest class, which are not covered in
the reports of correspondents.



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XX REPORT OP THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE.

Accepting, then, the increased average acre values of the various
classes of medium specialized and general farms as applicable to
all farms, including those above and below medium, with such per-
tinent qualifications as may be made, these increases are applied to
the total number of farms of the various classes with results which,
it is believed, are approximately correct.

With this understanding it is found that the cotton farms have
increased in value $460,000,000, the most prominent increase among
the States being Texas, with $115,000,000, while Georgia stands second
with $77,000,000, and Mississippi third with $62,000,000. Therefore,
it may be said that during the last five years the cotton plantations
have had six crops of cotton, one of these crops being a permanent
investment and promising to pay a good return year by year.

Sugar farms have increased in value $20,000,000, more than half
of which is found in Louisiana and one-sixth in California.

Hay and grain farms have such an immense acreage that the
increase for them amounts to $2,000,000,000, three- fourths of which is
in the North Central States; and an even greater gain, or $2,263,-
000,000, was made by the live-stock farms, nearly three-fourths of
this also being in the North Central States. In the case of farms
having dairying as a specialty the increased value was $369,000,000;
tobacco farms increased $57,000,000; rice farms, $3,300,000; fruit,
$94,000,000; vegetable farms, $113,000,000; and farms devoted to
general and miscellaneous purposes, $768,000,000.

In the grand aggregate of all farms of all classes the increased
value equaled the enormous total of $6,131,000,000.

Every sunset during the past five years has registered an increase
of $3,400,000 in the value of the f urms of this country ; every month
has piled this value upon value until it has reached $101,000,000; that
portion of the National debt bearing interest is equaled by the in-
creased value of farms in nine months, and this increase for a little
over a year balances the entire interest and noninterest bearing debt
of the United States.

This increased value that has come to farms is invested better than
in bank deposits or even in the gilt-edged bonds of private cor-
porations.

ECONOMIC POSITION OF FARMERS.

If the farmers' economic position in the United States is to be con-
densed to a short paragraph, it may be said that their farms pro-
duced this year wealth valued at $6,415,000,000; that farm products
are yearly exported with a port value of $875,000,000 ; that farmers
have reversed an adverse international balance of trade, and have
been building up one favorable to this country by sending to for-
eign nations a surplus which in sixteen years has aggregated
$12,000,000,000, leaving an apparent net balance of trade during that



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REPORT OF THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE. XXT

time amounting to $5,092,000,000 after an adverse balance against
manufactures and other products not agricultural, amounting to
$643,000,000, has been offset. The manufacturing industries that
depend upon farm products for raw materials employed 2,154,000
persons in 1900 and used a capital of $4,132,000,000. Within a
decade farmers have become prominent as bankers and as money
lenders throughout large areas ; and during the past five years pros-
perous conditions and the better-directed efforts of the farmers them-
selves have increased the value of their farms 33.5 per cent, or an
amount approximately equal to $6,131,000,000.

In presenting this the first Annual Report of the third term of the
present incumbent of the office of Secretary of Agriculture it has
seemed desirable to deviate somewhat from the usual character of this
document. As a rule, these reports cover the operations of the Depart-
ment for a single year, and give considerable space to recording
instances of new work undertaken and of partial progress made in
the work being carried on. The principal purpose of the present
report is to review the work of the Department during the past eight
years, and to present for consideration work not only begun but
actually accomplished during that period on behalf of the farmer.

WEATHEB BUREAU.

SUMMARY OF ACHIEVEMENTS.

The results accomplished by the Weather Bureau for the benefit
of the farmer, the mariner, the shipper, the manufacturer, and the
seeker after Ijealth or pleasure prove that there is no weather service
anywhere in the world comparable with it. In recent years it has
been equipped with standard instruments, apparatus, and furnish-
ings of the latest design ; daily maps are printed at nearly 100 of its
local stations; large glass maps, containing the current weather re-
ports, are exhibited each morning before important commercial asso-
ciations; maps, printed or milleographed, are distributed within three
hours from the time that the observations are made. Climatic sta-
tistics for the various States are collected from nearly 4,000 voluntary
observers using standard instruments, and printed in the form of
monthly State bulletins, so that the climate of one region can be
readily compared with that of another. It has extended its network
of stations around the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, so
that no destructive tropical storm may come without warning. It
has established stations in Bermuda and in the Bahamas, and ar-
ranged for cable cooperation in the Azores and along the western
coast of Europe, which enables it to make forecasts for two or three
days in advance for steamers leaving this country, and to warn
steamers leaving Europe for America of severe storms which they



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XXII REPORT OF THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE.

may encounter on their western voyage. With kites and mountain
stations it has explored the upper air and gained useful knowledge.
It has conducted experiments in wireless, or space, telegraphy, and
developed one of the best wireless systems now in use. It has ex-
tended its system of telegraphic and climatic observations, so that
now, except in some portions of the Rocky Mountain States, the tem-
perature and rainfall conditions of nearly every county can be ascer-
tained. These observations are of great value in the development of
the arid and subarid regions, especially in the organization of the
extensive irrigation works recently authorized by Congress.

The average per annum increase in the cost of the weather service
during the past ten years is 4.41 per cent. During the same period
the daily distribution of forecasts and warnings, or of printed charts
containing the daily meteorological data of the United States, has
increased from 22,582 to 622,880 copies, of which 158,000 represent
printed reports.

DISCIPLINE.

r

There is no part of the Government service in which rigid disci-
pline is more necessary to its well being than in the United States
Weather Bureau, which has to do with the saving of life and property.
While its observations are made with scientific precision, yet its
warnings of danger from floods, gales, or frigid air are the results of
experience rather than mathematical reasoning; and, therefore, even
with the maintenance of the highest forms of the merit system of
appointment, promotion, and preferment, there will still be a small
percentage of error in its warnings.

The Weather Bureau has developed and put into effect a fair, yet
rigid, discipline for the control of its personnel — a system of merit in
which each person works out his own status to such an extent that it is
practically impossible for an incompetent or undeserving person to
reach any important post of duty. With this discipline there is
associated a system of study and examination which develops the
intellectuality of those who receive advancement. Aided by such a
discipline it has, with rare exceptions, given timely warning of the
coming of injurious changes in temperature, and allowed no impor-
tant storms or floods to come unannounced.

INCREASE OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH.

The present appropriation for the support of the Bureau is $1,392,-
990. This is the amount to be expended during the current fiscal
year in applying the inexact science of meteorology to the commerce
and the industries of the United States, and to the saving of human
life. A knowledge of the coming weather enters so intimately into
every contemplated human action that the question is often asked:



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REPORT OF THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE. XXIII

What are the prospects for further improvement in the accuracy of
weather forecasts, and can the seasons ever be foretold? The answer
is that the Government has a corps of forecasters, the members of
which are the survivals of the fittest in a thorough system of elimi-
nation by competition. Since they are now applying all of the knowl-
edge of the atmosphere that has been revealed, little hope for ma-
terial improvement in their work can be held out until a substantial
addition is made to the pure science of the problem. This can only
come through experimentation, study, and research. With 200 sta-
, lions engaged in applying the science, it is a wise economy to devote
at least one of them to the work of adding to the knowledge that we
are annually spending nearly a million and a half of dollars to apply.
Accordingly, we have endeavored to lay out a plan of study and re-
search leading to an increase in our knowledge of the laws governing
the atmosphere such as should eventually make it possible to add to
the accuracy of weather forecasts and to make them for a longer
period in advance.

The last thirty years has witnessed such remarkable progress in
new branches of science that fields of research formerly closed to the
meteorologist are now open to him and must not be neglected. Ke-
cent observations have led to the discovery of a possibly large vari-
ation in the amount of heat that is received from the sun or an equiva-
lent possible variation in the transparency of the highest portions
of the earth's atmosphere.

In such studies the Weather Bureau has hitherto taken a subordi-
nate part, whereas in so-called practical meteorology it has always
occupied the leading position.

The highest efficiency in any art requires a perfect knowledge of the
higher science behind it. To establish law is necessarily antecedent
to correct forecasts of rains, frosts, or storms.

MOUNT WEATHER RESEARCH OBSERVATORY.

Under the authority of Congress, three years ago, the Department
undertook the establishment of a station at Mount Weather, Virginia,
devoted to meteorological research, and has established there a plant
especially adapted to atmospheric research. The temperature, moist-
ure, and movements of the air at great heights will be ascertained by
means of balloons and kites ; the absorption of solar heat by the at-
mosphere will be measured ; the dissipation of solar light and heat
will be determined ; the special analysis of the sunbeam will be car-
ried out, and the electric condition will be determined. In addition
to this we have added apparatus for studying the relations to the
atmosphere of the magnetism of the earth, the temperature of the
soil, and even the motions of the earth. All these phenomena have



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XXIV REPORT OP THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE.

been shown to have a more or less intimate connection with mete-
orology.

In so far as aerial research may require it, sounding balloons will
be liberated from many of the weather stations in distant parts of
the country in cooperation with those at Mount Weather, since it
is considered very important to know the condition of the atmosphere
above the land every day of the year up to the greatest attainable
height, especially during the passage of storms and cold waves.
Therefore, Mount Weather may be expected to do as much for the
science of meteorology and the future improvement of the service,
as the service has already done during the past thirty-five years
for the material interests of the United States. The employees at
this station must necessarily live close by their apparatus, and pro-
vision must be made for all the ordinary needs of domestic life
precisely as is done in all large astronomical observatories and in
military establishments. This has been done economically and in
accordance with established usage.

RIVER AND FLOOD SERVICE.

Neither the year 1904-5 nor its immediate predecessor was pro-
ductive of serious floods in the larger rivers, although several dam-
aging floods occurred in the smaller rivers, notably in the upper
Sacramento in January, 1905 ; in the Purgatory and upper Arkansas
rivers of Colorado; the Rio Grande, Pecos, and upper Canadian
rivers during the latter part of September and the early part of
October, 1904; and in the Grand River of Michigan in June, 1905.
The floods in the rivers of the southwest in September and October,
1904, were peculiar in that they occurred in the semiarid region and
at a time of the year when heavy rainfall is not anticipated. Their
coming was not announced, since no flood service had yet been organ-
ized in that part of the country. ^ The damage done by the floods in
Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Indian Territories, and Texas
amounted to at least $4,000,000, of which the greatest share fell upon
the railroads. The loss to the inhabitants was not less than $1,000,000.
These very destructive floods brought to the attention of the Weather
Bureau the need of a flood service in the States mentioned. Such a
service has therefore been organized, with 15 river and 10 rainfall
stations, the headquarters of the district being at Denver. Although
the service is not complete, it has done much good in giving warning
of the floods in the Rio Grande during May and June, 1905.

The flood of June, 1905, in the Grand River of Michigan, while
not as great as that of 1904, was nevertheless a disastrous one, and
that it was not even more so was without question due to the forecast
and warning service given by the Weather Bureau,



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KEPORT OF THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE. XXV

METEOROLOGY IN SCHOOLS.

The Weather Bureau has encouraged the study of meteorology in
educational institutions by allowing its scientists, outside of their
official duties, to deliver courses of lectures to students, so that there
are now 20 institutions of learning where meteorology forms a
part of the curriculum, thereby giving preliminary training to young
men who, in after years, may succeed to the duties now performed by
the meteorologists of the Government.

At every station of importance occupied by the Weather Bureau
it is the custom for the official in charge to deliver such lectures as
are desired by the public schools in his immediate neighborhood, and
to instruct such classes as visit the offices of the Weather Bureau. In
this way a general knowledge of the work of the Bureau is being dis-
seminated in the community. During the past year several hundred
such lectures have been given.

BUREAU OF ANIMAL INDUSTRY.

The work of the Bureau of Animal Industry is of great value to the
country, and no part of it is of greater importance than the study and
investigation of contagious animal diseases with a view to their pre-
vention or control. In the war waged in the interest of stock raisers
against contagious diseases the work of the Bureau of Animal Indus-
try has been unremittingly carried on.

BLACKLEG.

In 1897 was begun an investigation for the immediate control of
blackleg, or symptomatic anthrax. Losses from this disease were
found to be very heavy in Texas, Indian Territory, Oklahoma, Kan-
sas, Nebraska, Colorado, the Dakotas, and it was more or less preva-
lent in many other States. A series of experiments was made to
determine the effect of vaccines, which were finally successful in de-
veloping a vaccine efficacious in producing immunity by a single
vaccination. The preparation and distribution of this vaccine, with
circulars giving methods for using it and containing a full account of
the cause and nature of the disease, were undertaken on a large scale.
Beginning with 355,000 doses distributed in 1898, the annual distri-
bution was increased until it amounted to nearly 1,750,000 in 1903,
with a little reduction since then, the distribution in 1905 amounting
to 1,400,000. The effect has been to reduce losses from this disease
from 10 to 12 per cent to about one-half of 1 per cent, and recent
reports show that the dread disease is rapidly disappearing.

SWINE DISEASES.

In 1897 experiments were made looking to the control of infectious
diseases of swine by administering a serum from animals inoculated,



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XXVI REPORT. OF THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE.

respectively, with the hog-cholera and the swine-plague germs. As
a result of these experiments and the stamping-out work under-
taken in July of that year. 49 entire herds, aggregating 2,904 animals,
had been destroyed and the pens disinfected by the end of the
year. This work demonstrated that the losses might be promptly
checked by the stamping-out method, but many farmers objected to
these measures being carried out, and it, was difficult so to enforce the
regulations as to prevent the spread of the disease from farm to farm.
Continued experiments with the serum treatment showed that there
were cases known as hog cholera which did not yield to the treatment,
and the very careful work of the Biochemic Division of the Bureau
extending over several years has proved that acute hog cholera is
caused by a virus which has not yet been cultivated and identified, but
which passes through filters which will entirely remove both the hog-
cholera and the swine-plague bacilli. The discovery of this hitherto
unsuspected contagion has opened up an entirely new field of investi-
gation, which is being energetically developed, and experiments are
under progress which, it is hoped, will throw some light upon
methods of prevention adapted to this disease.

TEXAS FEVER.

Investigations have been conducted to throw further light upon
the microbe organism which causes the Texas fever. It was found
that this organism was fostered in the blood of southern animals for
as long, in certain cases, as twelve years or more after the removal
of the animals from infected districts. It was found, however, that
the animal retains its immunity three years after the disappearance
of the microbe organism from its blood.

Another point of interest was to determine whether Texas fever
ticks were capable of transmitting the disease to susceptible cattle
at any time or only when they had recently absorbed blood of cattle
from infected districts. It has been found possible to develop ticks
in which the power of producing disease is absent. These ticks do
not necessarily carry the Texas fever contagion, but obtain the germs
of the disease from infected cattle. Other interesting experiments
are now being conducted in connection with the subject with a view
to acquiring a knowledge which will enable the Department to render
more and more efficacious its control of this disease.

SHEEP SCAB.

Sheep scab has been one of the greatest obstacles to successful
sheep raising, and the Department has experienced a great deal of
difficulty in fighting it Even after the order of June 18, 1897, was
issued diseased sheep continued to arrive in large numbers at the
principal markets. In 1898 a bulletin, entitled " Sheep Scab: Its



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REPORT OP THE SECRETARY OP AGRICULTURE. XXVII

Nature and Treatment," was issued, giving full information upon
this subject and specifying the treatment by which the disease might
be eradicated. This bulletin had remarkable influence in educating
sheep raisers in checking the disease and in informing the public as
to a possibility of curing infected animals. In July, 1899, an impor-
tant order was issued describing the manner in which affected sheep
should be dipped, instead of leaving this to the discretion of the
owners and commission merchants. This order approved of the
tobacco-and-sulphur and the lime-and-sulphur dips; formulas were
given for their preparation, and the animals had to be dipped in one
or the other before they were allowed shipment in interstate com-
merce.

While this action of the Department specifying dips to be used
has been much criticised, it has proved a most important step toward
the eradication of sheep scab. The number of sheep dipped under
official supervision in 1899 was 672,944. The number increased after
the year 1900 by leaps and bounds, nearly 17,000,000 having been
dipped in 1905. At the same time it has been found that the dips
become more and more efficacious. Reliable returns received in
regard to 6,000,000 sheep in 1904 showed an effective percentage of
99.35. It is doubtful if such a measure of success has been achieved
in any other country in treating animals for this disease. As the
result of this work, sheep scab has almost or quite disappeared from
several States that were badly infected and is much less prevalent in
most others. By continuing the work and slightly increasing the
number of inspectors for a few years it can undoubtedly be
eradicated.

MALADIE DU COIT. •

An outbreak of maladie du co'it^ a venereal disease of horses, was
discovered in Nebraska in 1898. The disease is a dangerous and
insidious one, many of the affected animals showing but very slight
symptoms, and yet being capable of transmitting it. While, there-
fore, in the earlier stages apparently mild, it may be very serious and
even fatal, and its existence threatens the horse industry in any sec-
tion where it gains a foothold. It was important to undertake the
suppression of the disease promptly to prevent at any cost its spread
to other sections of the country. In 1901 twelve diseased animals
were destroyed.

The semiwild condition of the country through which the disease
had spread and the prejudices of the horse owners and their lack of
cooperation made it a difficult matter to discover diseased animals.
Yet in 1902 there were 95 diseased animals slaughtered and 29 dis-



Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of AgricultureAnnual reports of the Department of Agriculture for the fiscal year ended ... : report of the Secretary of Agriculture, miscellaneous reports → online text (page 2 of 86)