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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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 70 of 86)
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the supply. The Office, so far as its limited facilities will permit,
will cooperate with the various educational institutions in placing
this branch of education on an adequate basis and in inaugurating
highway work.


For many years the question of the binding power (cementing
value) of rock dust has been under investigation, and during the past
fiscal year the work has made substantial progress. The cause of this
quality has been established, and it is satisfactory to note that the
results of the investigation are being accepted and woven into the
general literature of the subject, as it applies not only to the binding
power of rock dust, but also to that of clays, which is a most impor-
tant point in the ceramic industries. Bulletin No. 92, of the Bureau
of Chemistry, entitled " The Effect of Water on Rock Powders," pre-
sented the results of this investigation up to the date of its publica-
tion. More recently acquired data will be embodied in a circular of
the Office, by Dr. A.'S. Cushman, to be issued during the early part
of the current year, on the decomposition of rock powders.

A widespread feeling of dissatisfaction among the farmers of the
country because of the inferior lasting qualities of modern steel
fence wire is shown not only by the large number of letters re-
ceived at the Department, but also by the frequent editorials and arti-
cles appearing in leading agricultural journals. Investigation of this
subject is being taken up under proper authorization, and a report
will be issued in due time, giving such information as can be secured
upon the subject.

Mr. Archer B. Hulbert, expert in this Office, who is an authority
on the history of road making, is now engaged, under the direction of
the Office, in the preparation of a history of roads and road build-
ing in America. Mr. Hulbert is also making an exhaustive investi-
gation of the literature of the subject for the purpose of preparing
an accurate and complete bibliography of publications relating to


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The information which is now being compiled by the Office in re-

fjard to the mileage of improved and unimproved roads, and the col-
ection and expenditure 01 road funds in every county in the United
States, will be published some time during the year. Later on, pub-
lications will be issued designed to aid local communities in matters
of road administration. This feature of the work, however, is yet in
a formative state.

Mr. Clifford Richardson, expert in cements for this Office, is pre-
paring a bulletin on the constitution of Portland cement, which will
embody the results of many years of work conducted by him.

The scarcity of wood for fence posts in many parts of the country
has aroused interest in the use of concrete, reinforced or armored
with iron and steel rods. A series of tests has been carried on with
specially molded posts of different shapes and sizes. A bulletin de-
scribing the mixing, molding, and reinforcing of concrete for road
and farm purposes is being prepared by Mr. P. L. Wormeley, testing
engineer of the laboratory. The main object of this publication will
be to furnish elementary information regarding the use of cement
mortar and concrete to those who are unfamiliar with such work.

There is great need of accurate information relative to oiled roads,
and the preparation of an exhaustive bulletin on the subject is con-

In connection with legislation which is being discussed at sessions
of legislatures in many States, the need of a new compilation of the
road laws of all the States is very apparent. This will oe undertaken
and a comprehensive digest of all the laws issued, to be followed from
year to year by supplementary reports.

Nearly one hundred object-lesson roads have been built under the
direction of the Office, and it would seem desirable to publish a de-
scription of this work in the future.

A large number of requests have been received during the past year
from county road superintendents and other county officials for
standard specifications for macadam roads, and for information
which would be of use in the preparation of specifications for local
work. In order to meet this need on the part of rural communities
the preparation of a bulletin on macadam construction and specifica-
tions will be prepared by A. N. Johnson, highway engineer of the
Office. This bulletin will contain full explanations of all technical
matters referred to in the specifications and methods of construction

Heretofore the requests of farmers' organizations for information
and advice in connection with road improvement in rural communities
have been answered by sending bulletins and circulars on construc-
tion and maintenance of roads. This is well enough as a matter of
education and a means of creating better public opinion; but as the
average fanner has neither the time nor the opportunity to put
methods of road building into actual use, it is evident that the most
important need in such cases is for information as to proper methods
of road administration. If the improvement of country roads is
placed on a proper administrative basis the question of suitable
methods of construction can be worked out to meet local conditions.
To supply the demand for information of this nature a bulletin on
country -road administration will be prepared by the highway


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Since the publication in the Yearbook for 1903 of a paper on
" Sand-clay roads " by W. L. Spoon, expert in this Office, this
method of road construction has developed considerably and has
assumed great importance in the sections of the country where natural
hard road materials are lacking. It has accordingly been decided
that this paper should be revised so as to embody the results of later
investigations and experiments.

As will be seen from this report, the experimental burnt-clay road
at Clarksdale, Miss., bids fair to exercise a marked influence on the
question of road building in the Delta country and in the prairie
States. The possibilities are such in the development of burnt clay
as to warrant further experiments and the issuance of a publication
on the subject. Mr. Spoon has been intrusted with the preparation
of such a publication.

A new treatise on 4fc The testing of road materials " will be issued
as a bulletin of this Office in the near future. It will comprise a
revision of the matter first published in Bulletin No. 79 of the Bureau
of Chemistry (which was prepared by the present Director of this
Office) , and much additional information on the same subject.


Applications are being received daily from all parts of the United
States for the detail of engineers and experts to render assistance in
road improvement. The present field force and equipment are
totally inadequate to meet the demand. It has been found impos-
sible to comply with more than 10 per cent of the requests received,
and there are now on file in the Office more than 100 applications
which have not yet been reached. An increase in the appropriation
so as to double the working force in the field is urgently needed in
order to render such assistance as will meet the demand to a reason-
able degree.

It is most desirable that at least ten engineer students should be
trained each year in highway engineering, in order to meet the de-
mands of the Office and to disseminate accurate information on road
making. These civil-engineer students are paid at the rate of $50 per
month. The sum of $i,000 is estimated for traveling and subsis-
tence expenses of the engineer students, making in all $10,000 for this
branch of the work.

The practice of having the engineers and experts of this Office
travel on passes should be abolished. The amount estimated for
traveling expenses, $3,300, is sufficient to do. away with the pass
system entirely.

The Office work has nearly trebled within the last six months, and
it is essential to the success of the work that the clerical force l>e

The work of the laboratory is constantly increasing, necessitating
additional machinery and a greater expenditure of money. The
broadening of the scope of the field work will also have marked ef-
fect in adding to the work of the laboratories, and accordingly $4,000
increase is estimated for apparatus and repairs. The sum of $1,000
is thought to be sufficient to cover the increase in consumable supplies.

The Office has heretofore been unable to obtain (he necessary ma-
chinery for carrying on the field work except by borrowing the same

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from manufacturers. This method is obviously unsatisfactory. The
question of purchasing machinery outright was carefully considered
and found to be undesirable. The plan which seems to be most feas-
ible, and at the same time most satisfactory, is to lease the necessary
road machinery. It has been ascertained that the machinery re-
quired during the year can be leased at a fair and reasonable rate.
The estimate of $8,250 is made for ten complete outfits.

The Office by reason of its small appropriation has been compelled
to depend upon the railroads to furnish free transportation for men
and machinery. This practice leads to much delay from soliciting
the transportation and on account of circuitous routes which it 13
sometimes necessary to follow in order to secure such concessions. At
the same time the propriety of such an arrangement is questionable.
Accordingly, $6,600 is estimated for freight expenses, based on a
maximum of ten outfits, each making 3 carloads, and constructing
during the season 4 sections of road, with an average haul of 200
miles for each section of road.

It has been found impossible to secure a building offering adequate
facilities for carrying on the work of the Office at a lower rental
than $2,000 per annum. This necessitates an increase of $800 over
the amount allowed for the current fiscal year. Under the increase
of the force the items for fireman, janitor, and charwoman are made
necessary by the occupancy of the rented building. This also ac-
counts for the item of $200 for fuel.

The increase of $4,000 recommended for contingent expenses is
very moderate, and is made as a result of a careful consideration of
every phase of the work.

After careful estimation, in which each item of expenditure has
been made the subject of exact calculation, it has been ascertained
that in order to carry out adequately the plans for the next fiscal
year the appropriation should be increased from $50,000, as at pres-
ent,^ $80,400, made up of $12,340 for statutory roll and $68,060 for
miscellaneous, and recommendation to that effect is respectfully made.


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U. S. Department of Agriculture,
вАҐ Office of Experiment Stations,

Washington, D. C, September 26, 1905.
Sir : I have the honor to present herewith the report of the Office
of Experiment Stations for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1905.

A. C. True, Director.
Hon. James Wilson, Secretary.


Development of Work of the Office of Experiment Stations.

The work of the Office of Experiment Stations has continued to
increase both in amount and in the extent and variety of its opera-
tions. The annual inspection of the agricultural experiment sta-
tions has been made as formerly and has shown that these institu-
tions have made good progress in systematizing their work and in
conducting investigations of scientific as well as practical value. The
Office has been able to assist the stations in strengthening their work
and in recruiting their staffs. Plans are now being perfected to
render still more efficient aid to the stations by a more thorough
study of their operations, by keeping better records of their work,
and by enlarging the information given them in the Experiment
Station Record through additions to the staff of this journal which
will render it possible to introduce new and reorganize old depart-
ments in accordance with the most modern conception of the science
of agriculture.

The demands for aid in developing and extending courses of
instruction in agriculture have increased out of all proportion to
the ability of the Office to render assistance. In at least thirty States
elementary agriculture is now being taught in some of the public
schools, but in all these localities the need of expert advice and
assistance, such as might be given from this Office with only a small
increase in funds, is greatly felt, and such aid is necessary in order
that mistakes seriously detrimental to the progress of the move-
ment may not be made. With a small special appropriation the
Office has been able to give considerable aid to the States in devel-
oping and perfecting their farmers' institute systems and in making
the institutes more like traveling schools than mere campaigns to
arouse interest in farming. Several schools for institute workers



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have been held, and plans have been made for extending this feature
of institute work and for inaugurating movable agricultural schools
for farmers.

The work of the Stations in Alaska, Hawaii, and Porto Rico has
been successfully carried on and in several ways considerably ex-
tended by the special agents in charge. In Alaska some work in hor-
ticulture has been started at Sitka, and in animal husbandry and
dairying at Kenai. In the other centers experiments with cereals
continue to be the leading features. In Hawaii special attention
has been given to grasses and forage plants, coffee and cane diseases,
and tobacco. The initial experiments with tobacco have given such
promising results that they are being extended. In Porto Rico
good results have been obtained in the culture of coffee, and some
work with rice and domestic animals has been undertaken. Contin-
ued efforts in vegetable growing have resulted in success with crops
which hitherto have been failures. Experiments with citrus fruits,
pineapples, bananas, yautias, cacao, and rubber are being continued
and extended.

The nutrition investigations of the Office are becoming increas-
ingly important, and their results are given wider practical applica-
tion in preparing dietaries for public institutions and courses in
household science for schools and colleges. Since definite knowledge
of the principles of nutrition is fundamental to the health and
happiness of all, there is need not only for a continuation of thorough
investigations, but also for a much wider dissemination of the results
already obtained, and plans to secure this are being made.

The irrigation ana drainage investigations of this Office now
include the investigation of all phases of rural engineering carried
on by this Department except the good roads inquiry. To the studies
on irrigation and drainage have recently been added investigations on
the application of power to farm work. With the rapidly changing
industrial conditions in this country, resulting in great scarcity of
farm labor, the investigation of problems relating to power machin-
ery, farm implements and appliances, and materials used in erecting
farm structures is of the greatest importance. The demands made on
the Office for the extension of its work in irrigation, drainage, and
other branches of rural engineering are greater than can be met at
present despite the fact that considerable financial aid has been given
to this work by States and private organizations.

Relations with the Agricultural Experiment Stations.

. This Office has carefully investigated the work and expenditures
of the agricultural experiment stations throughout the United States
during the past year, and has earnestly sought to promote their
interests in numerous ways. The provisions of the act of Congress of
March 2, 1887, have been strictly enforced. Personal inspection of
the accounts of the stations by representatives of the Office nas shown
a gratifying disposition on the part of the institutions receiving the
United States funds to apply them strictly in accordance with the law
and, in most cases, to use them efficiently for the advancement of agri-
culture. In many States these funds are supplemented by State appro-
priations and moneys belonging to the colleges with which the stations
are connected. The funds received by the stations during the past


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year from sources other than the appropriation by Congress have been
considerably larger than usual, so that the income of the stations from
within the States now aggregates about as much as the amount annu-
ally received from the United States. The liberality of the majority
of the colleges in their attitude toward the researches and other work
of the stations deserves high commendation.

As a result of the efforts of the Office there has been brought about
a greater uniformity, simplicity, and accuracy in the methods of
accounting used by the different stations. The stations now generally
use for this purpose the forms prepared or recommended by the Office,
and thus the annual inspection 01 accounts by the Office representa-
tives is greatly facilitated.

In conformity with the policy consistently urged by the Office from
the beginning, the use of the comparatively limited Hatch funds for
the maintenance of permanent substations has been definitely
abandoned, and these funds are being more than ever before confined
to lines of work of more permanent scientific value. As a result of
this policy an increasing number of States are beginning to supple-
ment the Hatch fund by appropriations for conducting local experi-
ments needed to study special problems of climate, soil, and crop,
and other more practical questions. These enterprises are proving of
value not only as means of studying important local problems, but
as distributing centers for practical agricultural information.

In accordance with the recommendations of this Office, there is a
growing tendency to make a clearer distinction between the station
work and the instruction work of the college. One form which this
takes is an attempt to divide the force so as to provide men for the
station work who will give the majority of their time and energy to
investigation, relieving them of elementary instruction, and giving
them a greater amount of uninterrupted time for research. In some
institutions there is a movement to provide separate officers for the
station work who will do little, if any, teaching.

The strengthening of the organization of the stations has also con-
tinued during the past year along the lines urged by the Office, and
gratifying progress has been made. The directorship of several of
the stations has been separated from the president's office, and greater
supervisory and directing power has been conferred upon the director.
This policy will continue to be urged, for it is recognized that loose
organization and lack of intelligent and efficient administration have
been the greatest sources of weakness, and there are still a number of
notable examples of the effect of these conditions.

In general, there is a marked tendency toward concentrating the
work of the stations upon fewer lines and subjects, in spite of the
increasing demands for their services. There is not a station but
feels how incompletely it is now able to cover the field open to it and
the great advantage which would result from expanding its work,
but the problems are now very largely of a character that require more
thorough investigations, and the stations are wisely following this
policy of concentration which the Office has consistently advocated.

The stations are becoming increasingly important as agencies for
the dissemination of information and advice for improved farm prac-
tice. Almost without exception they are in very close touch with the
farmers of their respective States and enjoy their confidence to a
degree that imposes an increasing burden upon their resources. The


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plan of demonstrating the results of station work upon private farms
in cooperation with the owners has given very important returns in
the way of introducing new methods and more efficient practice.
While it is regarded merely as a demonstration, and not relied upon
to take the place of experiments, no other plan has been devised which
has been so successful in reaching the farmers and leading them to
apply the results of experimental investigations.

The Office has been of material aid to the stations in disseminating
the practical results of their work, not only through publication of
popular bulletins, but also through the work of its I armers' Institute
Specialist in promoting the organization and development of farm-
ers' institutes throughout the country. There is being built up a well-
trained body of lecturers who can relieve station investigators to a
large extent of the exactions of institute work and still give farmers
the results of their work in a form to be. practically usef uf.

From its extended knowledge of men and their ability in special
lines, the Office has been able to assist the agricultural colleges and
the experiment stations in recruiting and building up their forces to
a greater degree than ever before. This is becoming an important
function of the Office. The calls for aid in this direction are increas-
ingly numerous.

The advisory relations of the Office with the stations in the devel-
opment of their organization and work, and in other matters, have
been closer than ever before, and many gratifying evidences of the
cordial relations of the stations with this Office have been manifested
during the past year.

The great need of increased funds for the work of the stations is
becoming more apparent every year the country over. Never has
there been a time w T hen the practice of agriculture has been so largely
and profitably modified by the results of experimental investigations
as during the past year. The farmers are more and more looking to
the stations for advice and assistance. To keep pace with the de-
mands made upon them it is imperatively necessary that they should
increase the scope, extent, and thoroughness of their researches. This
can undoubtedly be done to a limited extent by improving their or-
ganization and methods of work, but in the main it will only be possi-
ble to make them more effective agencies for the improvement of
agriculture by increasing their resources and those of the colleges of
agriculture with which they are connected. The colleges must have
the means to properlv care for and instruct the increasing number of
students coming to them without in any way limiting the work and
equipment of the stations, and the stations must have sufficient means
lo enable them to organize their staffs for the most part without
reference to the instructional needs of the colleges, and to conduct re-
searches commensurate with the importance of the agricultural inter-
ests which it is their business to promote. It is therefore much to
be hoped that Congress will at an early day take favorable action in
the line of legislation already definitely formulated for the benefit of
the experiment stations organized under the act of 1887.

Cooperative work between the stations and this Department con-
tinues to increase, and there is a general desire to further extend such
work, especially on the part of those stations whose funds are inade-
quate to meet the agricultural needs of their respective States. Ques-
tions of general policy regarding the management of cooperative en-

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terprises have been carefully considered by the stations during the
past year* and considerable progress has been made in the adjustment
of administrative difficulties. The close relations which the stations
hold with farmers in their respective States, and their intimate ac-
quaintance with the local needs and requirements of agriculture,
make it very desirable that in all cooperative work the arrangement
shall be such as to aid the station to strengthen its position with its
own constituency, and to recognize to the full extent the knowledge
and experience already gained by the station. This Office has con-
tinued to keep a record of the cooperative enterprises arranged for

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 70 of 86)