Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

children shall have the education of which they have been deprived.

Is there anything of a similar nature to be done by the engineering departments and men in the Land Grant Colleges ? I do not know much about engineering. I wrote your secretary to that effect when he asked me to present a paper at this meeting. He replied that it did not make much difference. Possibly it does not. I do, however, have an appreciation of the need of such knowledge. I am a farmer and I employmen on my farm who know little or nothing of farm engineering and I am constantly reminded of the costliness of ignorance on this subject.

Only a few years ago every farming community was a little world to itself. The farmer could stand in front of his door and see to the ends of the earth. . He could hear the dog bark and see the smoke from the chimney of every neighbor he had in the world, of every man with whom he co-operated or competed. Each community produced what it consumed and consumed what it produced. The farmer bought and sold very little. Agricultural implements were few and simple. My father could remember the first scything cradle brought into the community in which he lived as a boy. Till then wheat was harvested with the reaphook, handful at a time. I can remember the first harvester. The costly lavor-saving machinery on the farms today is all very new. Farmers need to be taught how to use, care for and repair this machinery. The use of this machinery is difficult and requires a good knowledge of mechanics. The locomotive engineer runs his engine with its train of cars on a road of known and contant character and under conditions that do not change much from week to week. The task of a man in charge of the great stationary engines in a manufacturing plant is easier still. If his engine is badly out of order he can easily call a mechanical expert. The farmer breaks his land with the gang plow, which may be drawn by an oil pulled engine. He plants his corn with a delicately adjusted corn planter. He seeds his fields with still more delicately adjusted seed drills. He harvests his crops with reapers, mowers, corn harvesters, threshers, hullers, silage cutters, hay presses, and many other kinds of difficult and delicate machinery used, not under constant and uniform conditions, but under varied and constantly changing conditions. If a piece of machinery gets out of order he must know how to repair it, at least temporarily, or else lose much valuable time at a season when time is most valuable. At farmers' institutes one usually finds exhibits of farm machinery. The engineering men of the Land Grant Colleges might do valuable service by accompanying the agricultural men to these institutes and giving instruction in the use and

care of this machinery.

Farmers need silos and usually must plan and build them themselves or pay for them more than they otherwise should. They need to know how to plan and build barns and other farm buildings. Here are the opportunities for engineers with some knowledge of simple architecture and of the construction of buildings.

Millions of acres of farm lands need draining through ditches and tiles. There is much swamp land to be reclaimed, and it is all needed now as it was not in the earlier days of the country. Other lands need irrigation at least a part of every year. Farmers need to be taught how to store the surplus rainfall in winter and spring for use in summer and fall. The value of almost every acre of farm land in the United States might be increased by any process which would store up the rainfall of the wet season for use in dry seasons. This may be done by ditches, pipes and reservoirs, by proper treatment of hilltops and hillsides, and by deep plowing. The engineers should instruct the farmers as to the best methods to be used under different conditions. Akin to this is the task of preventing erosion by terracing, sodding, contour plowing, and other engineering devices.

The control of streams is another problem for the farmer. A small creek runs its winding course across a farm in a most inconvenient and sometimes most destructive way, overflowing its banks at inconvenient times and destroying valuable crops. It must be controlled, but its control requires more of engineering knowledge and skill than most farmers possess. I speak now from personal experience. I have for years tried to gain control of such a stream on my farm. I have spent many hundreds of dollars without final and complete success. If it had been a question of soil fertility, of rotation of crops, of feeding cattle or the care of pigs, the Agricultural Department of the University of Tennessee would have been ready with its advice and help, but it did not think of asking the men in its engineering department to see what help they could give me. At the farmers' institutes which I have attended I have never heard this problem discussed, yet thousands of farmers need help of this kind as much as they need help of other kinds.

Country roads are built by farmers. The great highways may be constructed under the direction of expert road engineers but the roads which run by the farmer's door and from the farm home to the church, school and country store are built with only such engineering knowledge and skill as the farmers of the community possess, and this is little enough. In every Land Grant College, road building should be taught, and the instructors in this subject should be among the most zealous missionaries of extension work. The farmers' institute is the place for their missionary efforts. The abundance of fencing materials with which the farmers of an earlier generation built their temporary fences no longer exists. Farmers must now build permanent fences. This requires knowledge of engineering and offers another opportunity for extension work by the engineering department of the Land Grant Colleges. The transportation of the products of the farm to the market or to the nearest railroad station is a matter of

greater importance to the farmer. The farmer no longer consumes what he produces. He exchanges it through the markets of the world for that which he needs but does not produce. An ever larger number of his crops must be transported. Wagons drawn by oxen and horses no longer suffice for this. Traction engines and auto trucks are coming into use more and more. With good roads they will become the most common methods of transportation on the farm. The farmer will need to be taught how to operate this larger and more difficult transportation machinery.

In country villages and towns are many small industries using machinery operated by steam or gas engines or by water or electric power; mills, cotton gins, small wood-working establishments. Thousands of small streams running through the farms and by these towns might be harnessed and made to produce electric power to drive the machinery of these small manufacturing plants, to light streets and houses, and operate the machinery of the barnyard and the home. Most farm and village homes have no constant water supply and are without baths, toilets, and other sanitary necessities. These might all be supplied by a proper control of springs and streams or by the use of windmills. But the farmers will not do any of these things to any large extent until they have been given the necessary instruction and assistance. Such instruction and as

even

sistance will probably not be given sooner by any other agency than the engineering department of the Land Grant Colleges.

I have, I believe, said enough to show that there is an opportunity and demand for extension work in engineering. Much of this can best be done in co-operation with the agricultural extension work at the farmers' institutes. For some of it special meetings should be held, meetings in which instruction in farm engineering would be the principal feature and instruction in the cultivation of crops and the care of live stock only secondary. Much of it must be done by personal visitation. The extension worker must visit individual farmers and give them instruction on the grounds. Much good work might be done through correspondence. We need not fear loss of dignity or lowering of standards. There is no dignity except in service. The doing of this kind of work beyond college walls need not cause a lowering of standards of work done within the walls. What would be the results upon the engineering departments themselves? About the same, I believe, as have been the results of extension work on the departments of agriculture in the same colleges -a popularizing of the work, an increase of students, and a greater willingness among farmers to support this department of the college as they do the agricultural department in which they have thought they had a much greater direct interest. Of course, there is another large and extensive field for engineering work in cities and industrial communities. It is no less the duty of the Land Grant Colleges to serve these communities than it is to serve rural agricultural communities of the several states in which they are located.

And if there should be a large increase of engineering students in the colleges as the results of the popularizing of their work, I have no fear that for a century to come we are in danger of overcrowding any of the industrial professions, least of all this profession of engineering. We may produce too many lawyers, physicians and politicians, but our continent is large and new and raw, and it will require many decades, centuries no doubt, of intelligent, skillful work to develop its resources, build its cities, construct its highways and byways, control its waters, and make of it such a home for its hundreds of millions of people as it is capable of becoming. I have no fear of a learned proletariate of scientific workers.

PRESIDENT MARSTON.—We have assigned as a topic for tomorrow the general discussion of engineering extension work, but the particular phase which Commissioner Claxton has discussed has not been assigned formally to anyone for the discussion tomorrow, and it would be of interest if we could have this particular phase discussed at this time.

I wish to say that if any engineer thinks that all these problems of agricultural engineering or engineering in relation to agriculture are not big engineering problems at times, I wish he could have been with me this summer when we came, on a township road, to a gulch fifty feet deep which had been washed out within a few years, and which had cut in two farms valued at $200 an acre, which had destroyed the fertility of a valley that sent the best soil specimen to the Centennial Exposition in 1876, and the county had been obliged to abandon that road. There were farmers who could not get access to the rear of their farms without making a long detour. At another place in the same county not far away the county had just spent, a couple of years ago, some fifteen hundred dollars at one point in the road trying to stop a similar encroachment. It was quite an engineering problem to determine how it would be possible, with

the available funds, to stop the encroachments of those ditches, not only upon the farms, but upon the roads.

DEAN L. S. RANDOLPH (Virginia).—This subject is one that has interested me for a good many years. I do not know that I take a view of it that is too broad or too extensive, but my association for a number of years with the agricultural side of our institutions has brought me to this opinion: That after we look at it broadly the whole question of a farm is largely an engineering proposition. As one gentleman remarked a number of years ago, just as soon as the farmer realizes that his farm is a factory, he will do better; that he must study the capacity or the capabilities of a field just as the engineer would study the capabilities or capacity of a machine; and it is just as wise to attempt to raise tomatoes or potatoes on peach land as it is to make shoes with a steam hammer.

The engineer has been defined in recent years as a man who can do with one dollar what any fool could do with two dollars. I think that is one of the difficulties with our farmers—they do not study the farm from an economic standpoint.

Sitting, on one Sunday afternoon, a number of years ago, on the front porch of the beautiful home of a gentleman who owned a magnificent farm, an old colonial establishment, we talked on this subject. I pointed to a beautiful field of blue grass and asked: "Do you know whether you are making anything on that field?” He said: "No." I said: “Do you know what you are making on your farm ?" He replied “no, and I do not think there is a man in the entire county who knows what his farm is paying, or whether it is paying at all."

My own view is that that is probably the biggest opportunity for the engineer to teach in connection with the question of agriculture. If you can put into the farm the same methods that have been used so successfully in our manufactures, and the same principles could be instilled into the minds and hearts of the farmers that have made our manufacturers possibly the best in the world, it would be the greatest achievement possible in agriculture—to instill the same principle that was brought out a number of years ago, when Lord Kitchener, wishing to go to Khartoum, wanted a bridge across the Atbara river. He went to a number of foreign engineers, and they told him that it would take six months to get the designs prepared. One of our American bridge works promised to make the first shipment of material six weeks after the contract was made, and actually made the first shipment in five weeks. That was a typical example of the result of bending all things to the end that is to be accomplished-studying, first, what ends can be best accomplished with the machine which the farmer has, is I think, today, one of the matters in which the engineer can be most helpful, showing the farmer how we have successfully solved such questions in railroads and manufactures of all kinds.

DEAN STOUT.—The principal paper or address and the discussion have run into the line of agricultural engineering in which I have been considerably interested for a good many years, and concerning which I delivered myself here last year.

I have not since that time advanced very far in regard to that subject, so that a good deal of what I might say now would be a repetition. It may be of interest, however, for me to report one development with us along the line of agricultural engineering, and that is, as some of you know, that we have, in connection with the agricultural extension, the county demonstrators in Nebraska as well as in some other states, and that recently the second in command in

the Department of Agricultural Engineering was withdrawn from the department and made engineering advisor to the county demonstrators, and he is one of the busiest men that we have now in the whole university organization.

PRES. G. E. VINCENT (Minnesota).-If I may say just a word, it seems to me that while the discussion tomorrow is on the extension policy for engineers, I think it is perfectly clear that the colleges of agriculture and the extension division of agriculture have already anticipated and are doing practically all of this work, and I cannot imagine how the engineering colleges, as such, or as distinguished from the agricultural engineering in the agricultural colleges, will find any direct field for work.

It seems to me that the great problem is the application of engineering extension to industry in towns and cities.

In Minnesota we have done all these things that have been mentioned this morning in connection with our agricultural engineering. They are all being pressed through agricultural extension.

We are devoting our attention to night classes in the larger towns and cities, and are findings a very gratifying response.

Another field is the field of correspondence in engineering.

The moment the engineering colleges of the country are prepared to get out text books and to sell those text books at a little more than cost there will be a splendid field for engineering extension and co-operation. There the important thing, it seems to me, would be co-operation—not for each college to get out separate texts, but for a society like this to undertake the work of organizing, and having it assign men in different engineering colleges in different states to get out co-operative sets of texts as a basis for engineering extension through correspondence. There is a great field there, and this organization, it seems to me, has a peculiar opportunity to render a great service in that direction.

I fear, however, the engineers, if they had an opportunity, have lost it in the agricultural field, for, as we say in the colloquialism of the West, the agricultural end has “beaten you to it.”

PRESIDENT MARSTON.—The suggestion regarding text books is an extremely important one, and I know that in the work going on in one of our states the text books prepared by the extension department in Wisconsin are being used by co-operative arrangement.

PROFESSOR NORRIS.—We from Wisconsin who are in the engineering extension work would be glad to work out some scheme of cooperation on the text book problem. It has been a great matter of expense to us to develop texts for engineering extension.

Probably we have been fortunate in having more money available, so that we could do more, than anybody else. We have already published something like ten of our texts and have a number of others which are being prepared for printing. There are, however, many fields which we are absolutely unable to touch, and will not be able to reach for many years to come, unless there is some scheme of co-operation developed. DEAN E. D. WALKER (Pennsylvania)

.There is one field of cooperative extension work that I think is still open to the engineer, in spite of what Dr. Vincent has just said. I know we find it so in Pennsylvania. I refer to the so-called rural engineer, who is not a specialist in any one branch of engineering, as a rule. He is expected to know a little bit about certain branches of mechanical engineering, a little bit about some of the branches of civil engineering, and about this, that and the other engineering line. He is not a construction specialist, a sanitary specialist, or a specialist along any

« AnteriorContinuar »