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SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE.
I respectfully present my Fifteenth Annual Report, covering the work of the Department of Agriculture for the year 1911.
When the cattle-fever tick is destroyed in the Southern States the country will get much more meat from that section and the producing of it will build up the farms there.
The hog-cholera serum developed in this department is successful where it is properly made and applied.
Would it be asking too much of our universities to have them educate more plant pathologists and road engineers ?
Every country in the world that has diseased plants that can not be sold at home can ship them to us. This results in great loss. The chestnut disease here is an illustration.
After years of experimentation we find we can grow Egyptian cotton in southern California and bulbs in the State of Washington.
The finest dates from the Sahara Desert succeed in our Southwest.
No seed is sent out from this department without being tested for germination condition.
The schools want more of our publications than we have to give them.
Seven hundred and fifty million dollars is the best estimate for poultry products this year.
The day is not far distant when we will cease to import potash.
A serious pest in the South is the crayfish; carbon bisulphid is a sure remedy.
We are sending explorers to the ends of the earth for new plantsand getting them.
The phosphates are abundant in our country for all possible uses. Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Idaho may be mentioned as depositories.
If good roads from the producer to the consumer were general, the benefits to both would be considerable.
When a foreign insect invades, our scientists seek its enemy where it came from. The natural enemy of the boll weevil was an ant that could not endure our winters, but the native ant is getting busy.
The experiment stations of the several States are doing better work each succeeding year; the scientists are maturing and the people are appreciating.
The object lesson in agriculture is the best teacher; we had 60,000 of them at work last year.
Six hundred thousand short tons of beet sugar were made last year in 67 factories. There is an estimated world's shortage of 1,600,000 long tons of sugar this year.
The consumer pays a dollar for food; the farmer gets less than fifty cents for it. Who gets the rest?
All Government agencies that conserve public health should be grouped together in one bureau.
The Department of Agriculture has had success in the Southern States through object lessons in the fields, where the best southern farmers in their counties were the instructors. This method should be organized in all the States along lines of greatest necessity.
Our systems of renting land are faulty and result in soil robbing; where the renter can not provide domestic animals, the owner should arrange to furnish them so that rotation of crops may be had, and hay and grains may be fed on the farm.
Irrigation will bring maximum crops while the land is new and full of plant food; but, where the crops are sold year by year, irrigation will not of itself assure good results.
Alaska will some day provide farmers in lower latitudes with grain seeds superior to what they can grow at home.
The corn crop is moving northward by seed selection.
The southern farm boy is showing the way to grow more of all crops on an acre.
Educate the farmer's boy toward a more valuable life on the farm.
Uplift the farm home through the education of the farmer's daughter toward greater usefulness and attractiveness in the farm home.
Save all the liquid fertilizers on the farm, in cisterns, to be applied where crops are to grow; this will recover the greatest farm waste of our times.
There is great promise in the fact that whole classes of graduates of agricultural colleges go back to the farms, having learned how to make them profitable.
Our foresters are learning by experiments how to reforest 30,000 acres in a year; ten times as much must be planted annually to cover all the bare acres in a generation. It will be done.
There should be publicity regarding the cold storage of foods, through monthly reports to some Federal authority that would give them to the press, to the end that the people might know to what extent foods were being withdrawn from consumption.
ADVERSE CLIMATIC CONDITIONS.
EXCEEDING ALL RECORDS.
The climatic conditions of the early part of the growing season of 1911 were adverse to agriculture throughout the country east of the Rocky Mountains in a degree that exceeds all records. The assertion has been made that this country is so large in extent and has such a varied climate, soil, and crops that no nation-wide calamity can befall its farmers from natural causes. An extreme test of the truth of this assertion was made this year.
From early in May until July was well advanced, a period of about 60 days, a series of hot waves of marked severity so early in the summer followed one another in rapid succession over nearly the entire regions of the Mississippi Valley and the Atlantic coast.
Short periods of more moderate weather occurred locally at intervals, giving some relief, but, it is stated by the Weather Bureau, it is probable that during no previous similar period of 60 days has the temperature been so continuously and largely above the average over so extensive a region in the last half century.
Deficient rainfall made this continuous heat effective against crop production. From January to June the rainfall in Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri was 19.7 per cent below the normal; it was 25.4 per cent below in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas; 27.8 per cent below in New England; 12.4 per cent below in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. In the South Central States east of the Mississippi River the deficiency of rainfall from January to June was 10.3 per cent; west of that river, 21.6 per cent; and in the Pacific Northwest, 21.2 per cent.