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Wisconsin Dairymen's Association / Thirty-second annual report of the Wisconsin Dairymen's Association : held at Platteville, Wis., February 10, 11 and 12, 1904. Report of the proceedings, annual address of the president, and interesting essays and discussions relating to the dairy interests

Henry, W. A.
A lesson in fertility: the importance of feeding milling by-products in Wisconsin,   pp. 31-41 PDF (2.3 MB)

Page 31

Wtisconn Dairymen's Association 
Prof. W. A. Henry, Madison. 
The subject which I desire to bring to your attention at this 
time is one of deepest interest to every farmer in Wisconsin 
no matter what branch of the vocation he follows. Further 
than that, it is of state and national interest. The individual 
fanner should be anxious to at least maintain and, if possible, 
to increase the fertility of the soil on his farm. He should re- 
gard himself as a steward who has entrusted to him for a cer- 
tain period the care of a piece of mother earth. It is his duty 
as steward to carefully and wisely manage this little spot and to 
leave it a better place for occupancy by man than it was when 
he found it. For one to look upon a farm as a place where he 
can survive in some manner and where he can get as much from 
the fields as possible, giving nothing in return, is to place ones 
self in the position of a bandit or robber. If a community is 
made up of this sort of robbers then that community is on a 
downward road, and poverty and bad citizenship are surely re- 
sults. If communities generally hold this view and are favor- 
;ble to soil robbery, then the counter and state in which they are 
located become sufferers. 
Every crop grown on the land takes to itself from the soil cer- 
tain ingredients which come under the term "fertility." The 
farmers should know what these are and their value. First of 
all comes nitrogen. A large portion of the air surrounding the 
earth is made up of nitrogen, but unfortunately this nitrogen 
of the air is of no use directly to plants, for though bathing their 
leaves and passing into the soil to their roots, nevertheless it 
usually is useless because it is in an uncombined form. A plant 
may suffer or die from want of nitrogen although nitrogen be all 
about it, much as a fish may die for want of air when taken 
from the water. The little air which water normally contains 

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