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The Bulletin of the Department of Agriculture has been published regularly every month during the past year, and the Experiment Station has published regular reports of progress, analyses of fertilizers, etc., in it.
The editions of this Bulletin have gradually increased from 15,000 to 20,000 copies per month. It is sent to North Carolina farmers who send their names and addresses, free of cost.
Of the Report for 1885, 6,000 copies were published, and nearly all of them have been distributed. Of “Instructions for voluntary observers and displaymen of the Weather Service," 500 were published.
THE FERTILIZER CONTROL AND THE TRADE
A chemical control of the trade in commercial fertilizers in this State is made by the law the second leading purpose of this Station. The analysis of fertilizers, which was constituted its earliest work, has during the past year continued to occupy
the largest portion of our time, although it is no longer the only work.
The law on this subject is found in Sections 2190 to 2196 of The Code. It was a wise provision of the law which gave the farmer this protection at the time it did. The fertilizer trade was just being established in the State, and, while there were many excellent articles, there were many worthless ones which, through ignorance more than fraud, were offered the farmers of the State, who had no means whatever of selecting the good. This was remedied by the system of careful inspection and analysis which the Legislature of 1877 gave the State and which is still in force. The condition of the trade in fertilizers has steadily improved, year by year, since that time. If this control had not been established, it is safe to say that not one-half the fertilizer now sold would find consumption among us.
This system of fertilizer control is based upon two simple principles: first, the license of the manufacturer to sell a brand or article of a guaranteed composition and grade ; second, the inspection and analysis of all fertilizers, when licensed, to see that this guarantee is sustained. The first requirement involves a formal announcement and an exact statement by the manufacturer of what he proposes to sell. No particular grade of composition is named in the law, but the Commissioner of Agriculture is authorized to admit to competition in the trade of the State every description or grade of article which can be reasonably supposed to meet the wants of any crop or farm.
From the nature of a fertilizer its purchaser cannot judge of its character or richness, as the purchaser of sugar or salt can of the quality of those articles. The farmer must call in the help of the chemist to dissect the sample, weigh its valuable ingredients and estimate its worth. It is just this that the State has provided shall be done once for all of its agriculturists through the Experiment Station.
REGULATIONS OF THE FERTILIZER CONTROL.
Manufacturers are required to take out annually a license, for which they pay $500, and file with the Commissioner of Agriculture their stamp or brand, which the law requires shall include the guaranteed analysis of the article, and must be uniform upon all packages, and which cannot be changed during the year for which the license is taken. The license is required upon each different“ brand or quality.” Every such brand has then the freedom of the whole State. Experience has proved that this plan is the fairest and best for all concerned. It is simple, can be easily carried out, and causes the manufacturer, the dealer and the farmer alike the least trouble.
The following ruling of the Board of Agriculture further defines the classes of articles which are taxable :
“At a meeting of the Board of Agriculture, October 15th, 1879, it was resolved that the following articles shall be admitted free of tax, with such additions or changes as may afterwards be made by the Executive Committee, upon consultation with the chemist, viz.: ground bone, bone ash, ground bone black, ground phosphate rock, or other mineral phospbate, nitrogenous organic matter commercially free from phosphoric acid and potasb, nitrate of soda, vitrate of potash (salt petre), sulphate of ammonia, muriate of ammonia, kaipite, sulphate of magnesia, sulphate of potash, sulphate of soda, muriate of potash, lime, plaster, ground cracklings, ground tankage, salt and oil of vitriol."
Upon the following articles the license tax will be exacted :
“Any of the above articles, or others, sold for fertilizing material under any trade-mark or proprietary brand ; upon dissolved bone, dissolved bone black, dissolved mineral phosphates (all acid phospbates or superphosphates), and upon any two or more of the articles mentioned in the first list, if combined either chemically or mecbauically."
To make plain the requirements of the law in the matter and to secure uniformity, the following scheme is recommended for the brand :
The phosporic acid should not be expressed as bone phosphate alone. By available phosphoric acid is meant the sum of the soluble and the so-called “reverted.”
The methods of the Association of Official Agricultural Chemists are used. Total nitrogen will be determined and credit given for all available forms. Owing to the difficulty in discriminating between the different sources whence nitrogen is obtained in compound superphosphates, it is not attempted to give a different valuation to each different nitrogenous material in these articles. But leather
But leather scrap; horn scrap, wool-waste and similar materials are considered as fraudulently present in such goods, unless special mention is made on the bags. Special steps will always be taken to detect their presence, and when found in any sufficient amount to affect the value of the goods, mention will be made of the fact. Nitrogen may be expressed as such or as ammonia. The potash referred to is that soluble in water. It should be expressed simply as potash (K20). The percentages may be given within reasonable limits. These limits should not be greater than two per cent. on the available phosphoric acid, } per cent. on the nitrogen, and } per cent. on the potash.
Samples of fertilizers are drawn under the supervision and immediate direction of the Commissioner of Agriculture. Great care is taken to get the fairest possible sample of the brand offered for sale. Every possible precaution, fairly within the powers of an inspector, is taken to attain this end. The analyses of official samples are published.
The Chemist of the Agricultural Experiment Station receives the samples with a number only. He does not know the name of the brand until his report of analysis is put on file in the Commissioner's office. When this has been done, the actual returns of the analysis are compared with the composition guaranteed or branded on the bay. The manufacturer and the dealer or agent selling the same then receive copies of the analysis. If the article is shown by the analysis to be deficient at any point, the manufacturer or agent has an opportunity to correct the mistake. The matter having been fully decided, the analysis is published in the papers of the State. In all cases where the law is not satisfied promptly, its penalties are exacted.
Our certified and sealed duplicates of official analyses of fertilizers licensed in this State will be furnished gratis to the manufacturers and their agents.
The fertilizer control, as organized in the State, has supplied just what is needed for the protection of the farmer in the intelligent use of fertilizers, without giving rise to any artificial or unnecessary restrictions on trade. It is believed that the law of this State is superior to every other fertilizer law in these respects. It creates no artificial or arbitrary limits to the composition of fertilizers. It insures perfectly good faith between manufacturer, agent and consumer. It is simple and requires a minimum of machinery, of expenditure and of espionage, a thing distinctively disagreeable to all American citizens.
Its history will show that its execution involves the fewest difficulties or embarrassments for all concerned.
FARMERS' FERTILIZER ANALYSES.
As a further check upon the trade and in order to educate our farmers on this subject, the Experiment Station will make analyses of samples of fertilizers, chemicals, composts, &c., for actual North Carolina farmers, free of charge, provided the samples are taken and forwarded according to our directions, as follows: