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Agricultural (Station) Committee of the Board of Trustees :

Ex officio, Hon. E. E. JACKSON, Governor, President of the Board. Messrs. GOLDSBOROUGH, PETER, SEIBERT, and SILVER; (one vacancy).


HENRY E. ALVORD, C. E., Director.
WILLIAM H. Bishop, B. S., Horticulturist.
ALBERT I. HAYWARD, B. S., Agriculturist.
ELMER M. Dunn, Stenographer.
W. HORACE SOPER, Treasurer.


On the Estate of the MARYLAND AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE, in Prince

George's County, eight miles north from the City of Washington.

RAILROAD STATION, for Passengers and Freight: COLLEGE STATION, MD.

(On the Baltimore & Ohio R. R.)

P. 0.-AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE, Prince George's Co., Maryland.



IF Address, in all cases






The law of Congress, known as “The Hatch Act,” under which this Station was established and is supported is entitled “ An act to establish Agricultural Experiment Stations in connection with the colleges established in the several States, under the provisions of an act approved July second, 1862,”: and its purpose, as stated in the opening section, is “ to aid in acquiring and diffusing among the people of the United States useful and practical information on subjects connected with agriculture and to promote scientific investigation and experiment respecting the principles and applications of agricultural science.'»

The work of the Agricultural Experiment Station is defined by the second section of the act, which follows:

“Sec. 2. That it shall be the object and duty of said experiment stations to conduct original researches or verify experiments on the physiology of plants and animals; the diseases to which they are severally subject, with the remedies for the same; the chemnical composition of useful plants at their different stages of growth; the comparative advantages of rotative cropping as pursued under a varying series of crops; the capacity of new plants or trees for acclimation ; the analysis of soils and waters; the chemical composition of manures, natural or artificial, with experiments designed to test their comparative effects on crops of different kinds; the adaptation and value of grasses and forage plants; the composition and digestibility of the different kinds of food for domestic animals; the scientific and economic questions involved in the production of butter and cheese, and such other researches or experiments bearing directly on the agricultural industry of the United States as may in each case be deemed advisable, having due regard to the varying conditions and needs of the respective States or Territories.”

The business of the Station is to discover what is unknown, in fact, principle, or application, in any branch of agriculture. What is unknown must be found by research, not by accident, and requires knowledge, judgment, and industry. The law charges the Station not only with acquiring this class of information, but with diffusing it among the people. And the useful and practical information to be thus diffused is presumably that which is worthy of such diffusion, however acquired. The provisions for this part of the work are as follows:

“Sec. 4. That bulletins or reports of progress shall be published at said stations at least once in three months, one copy of which shall be sent to each new-paper in the States or Territories in which they are respectively located, and to such individuals actually engaged in farming as may request the same, and as far as the means of the station will permit. Such bulletins or reports and the annual reports of said stations shall be transnitted in the mails of the United States free of charge for postage, under such regulations as the Postmaster General may from time to time prescribe."

The fifth section of the law provides that, for the purpose of paying the necessary expenses of conducting investigations and experiments, and printing and distributing the results, the sum of $15,000 shall be appropriated by Congre-s, from year to year, to each State and Territory, to be paid in equal quarterly payments.

The first appropriation for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1888, was approved February 2, 1888. It then became necessary for the Maryland Legislature to formally assent to and accept the grant and designate the institution to which it should be applied. This was accomplished by chapter 55 of the Laws of 1888, approved the sixth of March, and the Maryland Agricultural College was duly designated to receive the money appropriated for this State.


The subjects which will receive attention at the Station, as far as circumstances permit, may be divided into four classes or groups, relating to soils, plants, animals, and climate :

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T: poils wil he studied with regard to the varieties to be found in different sections of the State, in the same neighborhood, or on different parts of the same farm. These will be examined with reference to their natural condition and the effects of different modes of treatment, tillage, drainage, etc.; also with reference to maintaining fertility and to restoring worn and partly exhausted soils to a profitable condition. Manures and fertilizers, their examination, preservation, and uses, will come under this head.

II. The study of agricultural plants will include the staple crops of the State, comparison of the older varieties, and tests of new ones; the examination of seeds as to purity and vitality; methods in general-planting, cultivating, harvesting; mechanical appliances as well as operations; grasses and forage plants; the identification, history, habits, and management of noxious weeds, for suppression and eradication ; vegetables and fruits of all kinds; orchard and forest trees; the effects of special culture and special feeding on growing plants; the various diseases of plants-causes, prevention, and remedies; the habits and control of insects, both beneficial and injurious.

III. The live-stock problems which may be considered embrace the rational comparison of breeds; animal foods, in their great and increasing variety ; feeding, for different purposes; and animal products and their treatment.

IV. The relation of farming and the weather covers a wide range of profitable investigation as to the effect of climatic conditions upon soils, plants, and animals.

It is manifest that only a few of the many subjects indicated above can be considered at any one time, but the statement shows the possibility of the work in prospect. One of the most important and delicate duties of the Station management will be to select those tests and investigations which will prove of the greatest interest and practical value to the greatest number of those for whose special benefit the institution is maintained. A number of the lines of inquiry just named and others--the diseases of domestic animals, for example-will be pursued elsewhere under conditions so much more favorable that they may well be omitted here; but, wherever accomplished, results of general interest and import will be promptly reported, as well as the work of this Station.

It will be the aim of the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station to prove itself of real use to the great agricultural and horticultural interests of the State ; but no results of consequence can be expected from the labors of a single season. Whatever of value grows out of the operations of the Station will be due to careful preparation and diligent, patient labor, often repeated. Facts, real or supposed, and largely obtained without reasoning, have so far furnished the main foundation of agricultural practice. It is the demand for a better knowledge than this, for the something known, demonstrated, tested, and verified, that has called into life the Experiment Station.

To carry out to the end any comprehensive system of investigation with subjects like farm crops, in which a whole year is required for a single item or experiment, involves in a large degree the element of time. Moreover, the slightest acquaintance with work of this kind proves it to be extremely disappointing. After large expenditures of time and money, the results obtained are often negative in their character, and frequently there are no results at all. Agricultural experimentations may, on the one hand, be likened to a long-continued lottery, in which the blanks are many and the prizes few and far between, while, on the other, the new facts obtained are of such wide-spread public benefit that the enterprise is fully justified. For some time, this Station can do little more than report progress and tell what has been done elsewhere. Under the law it is as much its duty to • diffuse” information, as to " acquire" it.


The management of the Station appeals to those who may be regarded as forming its constituency, to be patient. Do not form great expectations of early results, but allow ample time for these slow-moving operations, before passing judgment upon the merits of the institution. After a time, the Station will have numerous experiments constantly in progress, and will become an entertaining place to visit for all interested in agricultural affairs. Visitors will be welcomed at any time, and the work in hand will be fully explained. But although the term “model farm”



used in the original State charter, the general idea thus conveyed is quite at variance with the modern aim and object of an experiment station. A model farm would naturally be expected to illustrate a profitable farm, in whole and in detail.

At an experiment station, however, many things will be continually done which will be manifestly and intentionally injudicious and unprofitable in themselves, viewed merely as farming operations. There can be little direct profit in experiment work; the very object and business of the Station is to spend labor, materials, and money, not for the production, then and there, of corn and cabbages, but of information. Facts are the only crops especially desired; but, while the grain and vegetables may be sacrificed for the time, the facts sought are such as will help to produce corn and cabbages afterwards and elsewhere, more understandingly and more profitably.


The officers of this Station desire to be in direct personal communication with the farmers and planters, fruit-growers and gardeners, of the State of Maryland. Correspondence is invited on any subject within the scope of the Station work, and questions will be answered cheerfully and as promptly as possible. If thought to be of general interest, answers to correspondents will be given through the bulletins or through the press. Address simply, Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station, Agricultural College, Maryland.

Samples of soils, fertilizers, grains, grasses, fodders, feeding-stuffs, weeds, insects, and other articles of experimental interest may be sent by mail or express, and will be gladly received, with the understanding that all examinations and reports are to be public. The chemical laboratory of the Station will be well equipped for all kinds of agricultural analyses. Fertilizer work will be limited, however, as State law provides amply for this line of investigation by the chemist of the Agricultural College. In general, specimens should be sent only after correspondence with the Station, that full directions may be given as to time, quantity, packing, and shipment.

The Station cannot, however, undertake the discussion of questions which involve extended investigation outside the lines of work in progress for the time being, and chemical analyses will generally have to wait until they can be taken up economically in connection with the regularly arranged operations of the laboratory.


The general means of communication between this Station and the public will be by publications. These will be in three classes, viz:

1. Annual Reports; these will be issued in January and will contain the full records of the Station for the calendar year preceding. These reports will give the detailed accounts of experiments made and the results obtained, so far as it will be useful to publish them.

2. Quarterly Bulletins; these will be briefer pamphlets, outlining the work done here and elsewhere, which it seems desirable to distribute without waiting for the Annual Report.

3. Special Bulletins will be issued as circumstances may require, to answer numerous inquiries or give information which may be urgent.

These bulletins and reports will be issued in uniform style and consecutively paged, so they can be bound in an annual volume. The law regarding the distribution of publications has been quoted. Repeating, they will be sent free, and free of postage, to all newspapers in the State and to such individuals actually engaged in farming as may request the same." Persons who receive this issue and desire to receive the subsequent publications of the Station, should therefore make their wishes known, preferably by postal card, if they have not done so already. It is probable that, for the present, the Station will be able to send its publications to all who ask for them.

HENRY E. ALVORD, Director.

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