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Gustav Stickley (ed.) / The craftsman
Vol. XIV, Number 4 (July 1908)

Stickley, Gustav
Als ik kan: permanent welfare of the farmer,   pp. 451-452 PDF (763.6 KB)

Page 451

         BY THE EDITOR
T has long been patent to political
    economists and students of public
    affairs that a serious menace to our
    continued prosperity lies in the de-
cadent tendency of agriculture in this
country and the persistent efflux of
population from our farming districts.
Whilst the few have realized this peril,
the masses of our people have rested in
complacent satisfaction under the delu-
sion that our manufacturing develop-
ment is quite adequate to the assurance
of our permanent welfare. A greater
fallacy than this is hardly conceivable.
Agriculture is the foundation of our
economic structure. It is the fountain
of our mechanical industries and the
mainstay of our useful arts. Let our
husbandry decline and we must inevi-
tably retrograde as a nation.
  The general condition of farming in
our country has reached an alarming
pass. In the east a large part of the
land has been rendered worthless or
capable of yielding only the smallest
returns to the cultivator. The ruinous
methods by which this deterioration has
been brought about are spreading west-
ward. Concurrent with the impoverish-
ment of the soil, and largely owing to it,
there has been, during the present gen-
eration, a steady movement away from
the soil.
  The President, with characteristic di-
rectness, has decided to institute meas-
ures for the relief of the situation and
the promotion of a development in a
desirable direction. He is about to ap-
point an agricultural commission to
make a close inquiry into the social
economy of our agricultural communi-
ties and the conditions relating to our
agencies for industrial training. These
will be the main fields of the commis-
sion's investigation. It will not con-
cern itself-except, perhaps, incident-
ally-with questions of technical agri-
  The commission is expected to turn
its attention particularly to industrial
training, and especially such training as
fits a man for the farm and the shop.
It will critically inspect such institutions
as profess to fill this, or similar, pur-
pose. It is well known that a large pro-
portion of our industrial schools are
faulty in their methods and ineffective
in their results. It will be the object of
the commission to give a new direction
and a new impulse to such of these as
are not adequately filling the r6les they
have assumed.    In this pursuit it is
hardly possible that the commission can
fail to conceive of improved means for
achieving the desired end.
  It is believed that the commission
can, and hoped that it will, devise meas-
ures for fostering and improving the
social institutions of the farming popu-
lation. The President is desirous that
these institutions should be increased by
various new organizations. He con-
siders it of the utmost consequence that
our farmers should form societies for

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