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Wisconsin State Agricultural Society / Transactions of the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, including the proceedings of the state agricultural convention held in February, 1885, together with other practical papers
Vol. XXIII (1885)

Sloan, I. C.
Agricultural education,   pp. 273-280


Page 278

278     WISCONSIN'STATÜ AaiZýICULTURAL SOCIETY. 
In regard to dralinage it is now being urged that where it 
is extensively -practiced i t cäuses- disastrous. floods in all the
streams in time of heavy rain's, and destructive drouophts 
during the dryer portions of the summer. In regard to gen- 
,er.al farm management any go - od farmer can give some 
generalLidea of it but each far  has necessarily to be man- 
aged according to kind and quality of soil and the contlomura- 
tion of surface,; and as to book-keeping, a commereial 
,college is, I suppose, the proper place to learn that. 
I have gone through this test of what is designated as 
agri.cultural knowledge for the purpose of inquiring where 
a professor competent to teach this uneertain and unsettled 
bra*nch'of knowledge can be found. As to the other branches.. 
botany, chemistry and veterinary surgery and medieine, 
they a're all established sciences Önly incidentally conneeted 
with agriculture and wholly inapplicable to the practic-al 
,operatiöns. of farmers. 
Within a comparatively modern period great expectations 
were awakened by the application of chemical analysis to - 
agriculture, and. it was fondly hoped by many that farming 
could be brought within the:Reld of seience that by analysis 
of soil and erops, and especiapy by the manufacture of 
a.rtific > al fertilizers, the great problem of the uniformly 
profitable cultiv"ation of the. soil was tobe solved.,'but every 
intelligent read.er of agricultural literature well knows how 
such hopes have been utterly disappointed. No intelligent 
and honest teacher will now even advise any farmer to use 
on any crop any one of the multitude of artifieial fertilizers 
with the expeetation of deriving a profit from the use. The 
adviee of all honest men in such .'eases is try a little and if 
it proves successful        1                     0 
then cautiously inerease the use  No 
one now pretends to know what the result will be on a 
,given erop on any soil. 
Notwithstanding what I have said of the course of in.- 
struction recoaimp~Anded in this report which may be re- 
garded by some as eritieism, I believe it to be the most 
practieal and usef al course that ean be named, but it shows 
the poverty of resburces which exist for the purpose of 
teaching what is by courtesy called agricultural science. 


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