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(madison icon)1902

In 1885 the legislature appropriated $5,000 annually to the university for farmers' institutes and these were placed in the care Mr. W. H. Morrison of Walworth county. Madison citizens of those days will recall Mr. Morrison's tireless zeal in pushing his department. So well were the people pleased with the institutes that the next session they increased the appropriation to $12,000, and the work has been a success from the beginning. After Mr. Morrison's untimely death it was taken up by Mr. George McKerrow, a successful Waukesha county farmer, who still has charge of the movement. In 1887 Congress passed an act giving to each agricultural college $15,000 annually for an experiment station. I was chosen director.

All along we had trouble to secure agricultural students. Farmers' sons came to the university to study every possible branch save agriculture. In 1885, at one of the Regents' meetings there was evidently an interesting session, judging from some of the reports which leaked out. Wm. F. Vilas, E. W. Keyes, of this city Judge Marshall, now on the supreme bench, H. D. Hitt of Oakfield, Hiram Smith, now deceased, of Sheboygan Falls, and Charles H. Williams of Baraboo, were members of the regency. In this meeting there was agreement that something must be done to secure a better attendance of agricultural students at the university. A committee was appointed to report upon the matter and Senator Vilas, chairman, prepared a report to the board which was published at the time in the city press. The matter eventuated in a meeting held in Senator Vilas' library. At this meeting, among other things, Senator Vilas said in substance: "Gentlemen: the regents wish you to plan a course of study of such a character that it will allow the young farmer to leave his home for the University after the fall work is done and he can be spared from the farm. He should not pass any severe entrance examinations, and he should return to the farm in the spring, when he is again needed. This course should be intensely practical and helpful to such young farmers." This was the origin of the Short Course in Agriculture, a line of instruction which had been adopted by a large number of agricultural colleges all over the United States. Nineteen students registered the first year. Later, John L. Mitchell of Milwaukee, offered a number of scholarships of $50 each. This assistance was of great benefit in advertising the school and in helping some meritorious young men to attend.

Farmers' Institute Letter
Potato Harvest

Short course students...