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Institutes were held under the auspices of the State Board of Agriculture during the month of January, 1885, as follows:
Plymouth, Wayne Co., January 12 and 13, attended by Professors A. J. Cook, W. J. Beal, E. J. MacEwan, and Mr. F. S. Kedzie.
Flushing, Genesee Co., January 15 and 16, attended by Professors R. C. Carpenter and S. Johnson, Secretary R. G. Baird, and Dr. R. C. Kedzie.
Albion, Calhoun Co., January 19 and 20, attended by Professors Samuel Johnson, W. J. Beal, R. C. Carpenter, and Secretary R. G. Baird.
Paw Paw, Van Buren Co., January 20 and 21, attended by Professor E. J. Mac Ewan, President T. C. Abbot, Dr. E. A. A. Grange, and Prof. Samuel Johnson.
Manchester, Washtenaw Co., January 21 and 22, attended by Professors S. Johnson, A. J. Cook, G. H. Harrower, and Mr. F. S. Kedzie.
Monroe, Monroe Co., January 22 and 23, attended by Dr. R. C. Kedzie, Dr. E. A. A. Grange, President T. C. Abbot and Mr. Louis G. Carpenter.
This institute was held in Amity Hall in accordance with the following programme:
MONDAY, JANUARY 12, 1:30 P. M.
Called to order by the President, O. R. Pattengell.
Prayer-Rev. Samuel Plantz.
Welcoming Address-G. A. Starkweather.
Talk About Insects-Prof. A. J. Cook, Agricultural College.
Home Adornments and Pleasures-Mrs. F. W. Fairman.
EVENING SESSION, 7:00 P. M.
Cheese and Milk Dairying-A. D. Power and L. E. Wight.
The Farmers' Garden -Prof. W. W. Tracy, Detroit.
How to Make a Speech-Prof. McEwan, Agricultural College.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 13, 1:30 P. M.
Prayer-Rev. W. W. Wetmore.
Butter Dairying-Mrs. E. P. F. Bradner.
Bee Keeping-A. B. Pierce.
Butter Substitutes-Prof. F. S. Kedzie, Agricultural College.
EVENING SESSION, 7:00 P. M.
Farm Fences-Clark Lawrence.
Fungi-Prof. Beal, Agricultural College.
Illustrated by Stereopticon.)
Mr. Starkweather welcomed those attending the institute in the following address:
The time is recent, Mr. Chairman, when farmers' institutes had not been heard of. We need not go far back in our recollections to reach the time when education was thought unnecessary for practical farming-in fact, incompatible with it.
The farmer boy who graduated from college was expected to enter one of the learned professions; and for him to take his education and culture back to the farm was thought an evidence of mental weakness. Agriculture was the great absorbent of ignorance-an occupation where illiteracy exalted and education debased its followers.
For this farmers were largely responsible. In other callings earnest inquiry for improvement was responded to by educated brains and great and rapid advancement had been made. But farmers learned slowly that cultivated brains must be used in successfully cultivating the soil. They stolidly held to the old ways, and maintained the pursuit of knowledge to be a waste of labor. But advancement in other things all about the farmer forced an advancement in his appearance and style of living, which his resources, narrowed by ignorance, were unequal to maintaining. His diminishing crops told too plainly the gradual exhaustion of his soil, and by the ever extending lines of railways the boundless areas of the great west were brought into competition with his fields. Thus the logic of events forced the more intelligent farmers to ask for improved methods of agriculture. But from the sad lack of knowledge no satisfactory response could at the time be given.
Some newspaper articles appeared and a few books were written, more theoretical than practical, perhaps, and we know how they were received and with what deriding laughter the book farmer was greeted.
But this spirit of inquiry once awakened could not be suppressed, and the thoughtful few, reflecting that law, medicine, theology, and the sciences each had their schools and colleges of special training began to ask why agriculture, the most important of all the vocations of life, upon the prosperity of which depend not only the success but the very existence of every other department of labor, should not be invested with that dignity which would entitle it to rank with the sciences and have its schools and colleges of special training.
We of Michigan are justly proud that ours was one of the first of the States of this nation to establish an Agricultural College. The old idea that education was unnecessary for a fariner was still so prevalent that the success of the College often seemed doubtful, and strangely enough the severest criticisms came from the farmers themselves.
But it has overcome difficulties, conquered prejudices, silenced criticisms, and stands to-day one of the fixed institutions of the State.
It is an institution where knowledge pertaining to agriculture is sought out, verified, systematized, and spread among the people; one of the most effective methods for such dissemination of knowledge being the system of farmers' institutes, like the one for which we are now assembled.
After some further words of appreciative reference to the representatives
present from the Agricultural College, and of general introduction to the audience, the speaker continued by propounding the query:
Why do our boys and girls not take more kindly to farm life? The young man will give answer that there is nothing going on in the country-nothing attractive about the farm.
Is not this answer the result of his own mental resources being so small and his knowledge of the objects around him so limited?
Might not much be done to get these notions out of his head by giving him. a training in the sciences of nature, teaching him the nature and habits of the plants and animals of his own neighborhood and the mysteries of the earth beneath his feet, and thus leading him to see that there is something going on in the country all the while-something of marvellous and thrilling interest, inspiring him to know more of the things that are going on beneath him, on either side, and in the air above him, and thus dispelling much of the loneliness of the farm and broadening the farmer's life?
Home ornamentation will do much; the development of a taste for flowers, which with their language of beauty, will bind the boy's heart to his home. Let us encourage their culture and bless the angel from whose wings have been scattered their seed up and down through the earth as though God, the giver of all good, intended them for every human being.
The young man may say that a farmer cannot be a gentleman. False idea! to be combatted at all times-that brawn and culture are incompatible. The farmer by education, culture, and refinement, may command respect and stand the peer of any man, even though he present a horny hand and sunbrowned face and be clad in overalls and blouse.
Let us strive to dignify our vocation, to surround farm life with more attractions, and remember that the business of life is not only to make a living and get gain, but to find contentment and enjoyment, without which life is so far a failure.
The address was followed by a discussion on insecticides, which brought out the following points from Professor A. J. Cook, of the Agricultural College: Kerosene emulsion or sulphur will not kill lice on cattle, but Pyrethrum powder or tobacco decoction will do so every time. A decoction of Pyrethrum would do, but is objectionable in cold weather. Tobacco water is much better if fluid treatment is desired.
Pyrethrum is sure death to the green cabbage worm if the powder be fresh. If stale it loses its efficacy. It is grown in quantity and can always be had fresh of G. N. Millco, of Stockton, California.
Kerosene emulsion is fatal to bark lice, and if applied to orchard trees about June 1, will kill lice and borers. Rubbing is better than spraying, and more quickly done.
[The above subject is more fully set forth in a paper by Professor Cook in the report for 1883, page 243.]
On Tuesday evening a report was rendered by a committee of three to whom had been submitted some samples of butter, butterine, and oleomargarine, which were numbered but not otherwise marked, to prove whether they could be distinguished.
The report was as follows:
The "Question Box" brought out the following discussion:
Does dairying impoverish the land of phosphates, and if so, to what extent? Not to as great an extent as raising stock and selling it, as the bones contain much more of the phosphates than does the milk.
Will clover improve my land faster than clover and timothy? Yes. Red, white, and alsike clovers and alfalfa all benefit the land. Timothy exhausts it. Is it best to spread manure in the winter or spring?
Mr. Pattengell: I prefer for ease of handling to spread it on the snow if it is not too deep, or the ground so hilly as to make a liability of washing.
Is dry straw of value as a manure? It is only valuable as a mulch. Manure should be rotted and spread. If left on field in piles, six weeks' exposure conveys all its value to the little spot of land covered by it.
Another speaker thought unrotted or dry manure was of value if plowed under, as the plant then got its entire value, and no loss occurred from fire fang, which so often took place in composting.
After some further exercises and the usual complimentary resolutions, the institute adjourned.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 15, 1885, 1:30 P. M.
Lecture: "Practical Agriculture at Agricultural Colleges,"-Prof. Samuel Johnson. Paper: "Breeding of Cattle, their Care and Management"-T. F. Sotham, of Flint. Music.
EVENING SESSION, 7 P. M.
Paper: "Manufactured Butter. What are the Farmers Going to do About it?"— I. T. Sayre.
Lecture by R. G. Baird, Secretary of the State Agricultural College. Subject: "Education as Connected with Agriculture."
Paper: "Woman's Work on the Farm-Her True Position and Influence "-Mrs. M. Benjamin, of Flushing.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 16, 1885, 10 A. M.
Paper: "Wheat Culture "-Hon. S. R. Billings, of Richfield.
Paper: "Improved Breeds of Stock as Compared with Common"-M. R. Freeman, of Flushing.