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sale of the publications of the Department of Agriculture during the last six years shows how increasingly interested the people have become in the department's work, for in 1906 only 47,745 copies of our publications, costing the receivers $5,388.28, were sold, while in 1911 the same official disposed of 183,577 copies, at a cost to the purchasers of $18,657.17. Under the operations of the law the Superintendent of Documents is permitted to reprint and sell publications as long as there is a demand for them, paying for the reprinting out of the receipts from previous sales. During the year he reprinted 633 publications of the department, the editions aggregating 170,325 copies. Thus only 13,252 of the number sold by the Superintendent of Documents were furnished by the department.
In previous years the records of the Office of Superintendent of Documents indicated that the purchases were generally from among the scientific and technical publications of the department, but current records show that while there has been a healthy increase in the number of scientific and technical department bulletins distributed through his office the great increase shown by his report was in the more popular and smaller publications, which give in a practical way the results of the scientific investigations. This proves that the rural population in greater numbers is seeking the aid of the department and is willing to pay for the documents needed when the department's supply will not permit of gratuitous distribution.
PUBLICATIONS FOR RESTRICTED AREAS. The department's correspondence relating to its publications shows an increasing demand for information relating to particular localities or sections of the country, which it is often difficult to supply in printed form and which requires a disproportionate amount of labor to present in an individual letter.
During the last two years there has been an increasing demand for information in regard to the agricultural possibilities of the different States. Information of this kind can be found in the soil surveys; but these, owing to the colored maps, are expensive, and, moreover, are not available for general distribution, as the editions for departmental use are limited to 1,000 copies. The appropriation for Farmers' Bulletins provides for publications adapted to different sections, and many of those more recently issued have been prepared with a view to the needs of restricted areas. A Farmers' Bulletin for each State, presented in popular style, is therefore contemplated.
LARGER EDITIONS OF 100-PAGE PUBLICATIONS. Under the provisions of the printing bill now pending in Congress it would be possible for the department to print as many as 2,500 copies of bulletins exceeding 100 octavo pages, which at present and
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for several years have been limited to editions of 1,000 copies. In many cases these bulletins have been of great scientific value, and the inability to distribute them more widely among the colleges and universities and in the scientific world generally has been a matter of regret and has deprived many of valuable information. It is hoped that the provision will prevail.
USE OF OUR PUBLICATIONS BY SCHOOLS.
The demand for the department's publications for use in schools of all grades continues to increase and is far beyond our ability to supply. Of course an effort is always made to furnish to each school making requests as varied and as large a supply as the limited number at our disposal justifies, for it is believed that such distribution encourages agriculture and increases the prosperity of the Republic. An increase of the appropriation with the view of more nearly meeting the demands of these young men and women is worthy of serious consideration.
BUREAU OF STATISTICS.
The quantitative interpretation of the figures indicating the monthly condition of those growing crops of which estimates of production are made at the close of each year is an important feature added this year to the crop-reporting system of the department.
Since the significance of the monthly condition figures has been interpreted by the department, the various private interpretations, both by individuals and commercial organizations, differing in their statements, have practically ceased, and it has been generally conceded in all quarters that the interpretations emanating from the Bureau of Statistics are the fairest and the most authentic figures possible to be based on the crop condition report.
All the leading crops except cotton are included in these quantitative interpretations. With cotton, however, it is impracticable to interpret the condition figures, as the amount of abandoned acreage is lacking, can not be ascertained until the close of the season, and is essential to reasonable accuracy in the translation.
COST OF CROP PRODUCTION.
The result of the investigation upon the cost of producing corn, wheat, and oats, published in several numbers of the Crop Reporter, made it evident that the cost of producing crops varies widely in different sections of the country. The average cost per bushel of producing corn was found to be 37.9 cents (including rental charges), varying by States from 30 cents in Iowa and South Dakota to 72 cents in Maine; the average cost of producing wheat was 66 cents per bushel (including rental charges), varying by States from 44 cents in Montana to 96 cents in South Carolina; and the average cost of producing oats was 31 cents per bushel (including rental), varying by States from 23 cents in Montana to 56 cents in Connecticut. It is proposed to continue this line of investigation.
PROPORTIONED CAUSE OF CROP DAMAGE. The results of the first inquiry into the amount of damage done to each important crop in 1909 was published in November, 1910. The summary showed that 81.8 per cent of the total damage is attributed to unfavorable climatic conditions, 4.8 per cent to plant diseases, 7.9 per cent to insect pests, 1 per cent to animal pests, 1 per cent to defective seed, and 3.5 per cent to unknown causes.
CROP REPORTING. Investigations of the crop-reporting systems of several countries of Europe show beyond doubt that the systems of the countries visited contain no better features, and, as a rule, cover no range broader than our own; in fact, it was found that the system prevailing in this department, and already many years in operation, is far in advance of that of any other country.
Many thousand reports received regularly from the voluntary correspondents are tabulated, and these form the basis of the crop report figures given out each month.
The total number of questions asked of all classes of correspondents in the calendar year 1910 amounted to 2,582. Of these 2,003 were for use in making the crop report and 579 for special investigations. From the township correspondents alone 2,427,000 replies were received.
A notable addition to the monthly reports of prices was a schedule comprising about 30 of the principal products of the farm other than the 14 which are reported on by the county correspondents.
A comparative statement of monthly receipts of eggs and poultry was compiled each month and published in the Crop Reporter, showing the relative increase or decrease from month to month in the quantities received by large dealers who buy from the country, and the receipts at important markets.
If the preliminary work attempted toward compiling a statement of the quantity of apples shipped from the principal producing regions is successful, such a statement will be issued in the near
AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION AND POPULATION. Owing to the prevalence of high prices there has developed a general impression that the agriculture of this country is unequal to the needs of the increasing population. An investigation of the facts with regard to this condition failed to establish any cause for alarm. On the contrary, it is evident that this country has been passing through phases of agriculture in which declines in production per acre are the result of exploiting new land and in which recuperation follows with a pace greater than that of increase of population.
Just prior to the close of the fiscal year two investigations were begun relating to the development of agriculture as influenced by transportation companies, one with special reference to such topics as the movement of agricultural population and the occupation of railroad lands, and the other to the changes in the cost of distributing perishable farm products.
COST OF FARMERS' SUPPLIES.
From an extensive inquiry made among retail dealers doing business with farmers it appears that most articles purchased by farmers cost more in 1910 than in 1909, the average increase being about 1.5 per cent. The purchasing power of produce of 1 acre in 1910 was 7.3 per cent less than in 1909, but still about 44.1 per cent more than in 1899.
SEEDTIME AND HARVEST.
An unusually large undertaking of the pioneer sort was the work in the investigation of the dates of planting and harvesting in the United States and foreign countries, which has been continued and is so far advanced that the report on cereal crops, flax, cotton, and tobacco is now in press, and there is prospect of completing the reports on forage crops, truck crops, and seedtime and harvest in foreign countries during the fiscal year 1912. The plans of the work have been original, and in the processes of treating the primary materials for the deduction of conclusions there have been many practical problems to solve.
The accessions to the department Library during the past year, exclusive of current periodicals, exceeded those of any previous year and amounted to 8,816, bringing the total number of books and pamphlets on July 1, 1911, to 115,653. More than half of these accessions were received by gift or in exchange for department publications. In addition to the accessions noted above the Library received currently nearly 2,000 periodicals.
During the year the Library completed the first volume of its Monthly Bulletin, for which an author index was issued, thus rendering the Bulletin more useful for reference than was the case with the former list of accessions.
Although the Library's collection of books on agriculture and related subjects is probably unsurpassed in the country, the resources of other libraries are also used to aid in the investigations of the department, 6,397 volumes having been borrowed during the year from Washington libraries and 69 from libraries in other cities. On the other hand, the department Library is frequently called upon to lend books to scientific institutions outside the city, especially to the State agricultural colleges and experiment stations. During the year 615 books were thus lent. Several of the other Government offices in the city also use the Library freely.
During the year about 2,000 duplicates received by the Library, for the most part official publications, were distributed to the libraries of the State agricultural colleges and experiment stations to help in completing their files.
OFFICE OF EXPERIMENT STATIONS.
RELATIONS WITH AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATIONS.
The better financial conditions resulting from the increased Federal funds and other resources, as well as the growing demands of a progressive agriculture in general, have continued during the year to increase the working efficiency of the experiment stations and to widen the scope of their activities.
The appropriations provided for by the acts of Congress, which were received by 56 of the stations, amounted to $1,539,000 for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1911. The appropriations made by State legislatures for the work of the experiment stations again amounted, during the year, to over $1,000,000, and the fees received from the different kinds of inspection work, together with the amounts realized from the sales of farm products and secured from other local sources, aggregated about $500,000.
Progress was made during the year in widening the scope and increasing the efficiency of extension work. To this class of work over 100 persons are at present devoting their entire time. The organization, development, and growth of extension departments as separate branches indicate that it is realized that the stations themselves must remain true to the purpose for which they were established and for which they are maintained, namely, scientific investigations of the problems relating to agriculture.
One of the important features of the stations' work has related to dry farming, with a bearing not only upon the crops and methods of culture adapted to regions of deficient rainfall, but also upon the complex relations of water to the growth and health of plants, the nature of drought resistance, and the means of producing plants resistant to adverse climatic conditions. The California Station, among