Modest beginnings for ag research – 22 years after Civil War

first_imgI have a file drawer marked “miscellaneous” where everything that doesn’t fit anywhere else fits. I’ve cleverly labeled the files in this drawer “misc-1,” “misc-2,” “misc-3,” etc. These are all big files. I have no idea what’s in them, but I’m sure they contain useful stuff; otherwise, why would I have put papers in there?advertisementadvertisementAnyway, I was digging through file “misc-58” when I came across something called Report of the Officers of the Station. This was intriguing, so I looked further. These were a few photocopied pages from a large document entitled 1887 Annual Report of the Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station. The introduction was written by its director, W. A. Henry. Now it had my attention.1887 – nearly 130 years ago. How much has changed in agriculture since then, and also in our agricultural research and institutions. The set of pages in my hand was a small time capsule, a time-crossing lens that allowed me to peek into a corner of our agricultural life once immediate and vibrant but now hardly even a memory. As I looked at these pages, with their descriptions of a world long past, I also saw that they spoke of things still important today.In 1887, the Wisconsin Ag Station was brand-new. Only four years earlier, the Wisconsin governor had recommended its establishment, and it was built and staffed with funds allocated from a supportive state legislature. (Surely, there’s an example of how things have changed.)The federal Congress in Washington, D.C. had only this year passed the Hatch Act of 1887, which established agricultural experimental stations in all states. Of course, federal funds hadn’t yet begun to flow (sound familiar?), so the Wisconsin station was still struggling with the small budget given to it by the state legislators in Madison. It was a good thing many of those legislators came from farms.The Wisconsin station wasn’t exactly like the sprawling dairy research facilities we have today. It was just a couple of modest buildings and some land. The station’s professional staff, called “officers” in the vernacular of the day, consisted of exactly five men. Yes, five: the director, the associate director, two chemists and a foreman. The station also hired seasonal farm workers and other folks to do chores, of course, but these five staff were the salaried positions.advertisementOnly two of the staff were agricultural scientists, the director and the associate director. But such two! The director was William Arnon Henry. This was the name that grabbed my attention. Have you heard of the landmark textbook Feeds And Feeding by F. B. Morrison? Well, before this book became Morrison’s project, it was originally authored by W. A. Henry.Henry first published his textbook in 1898 with the title Feeds and Feeding – A Hand-book for the Student and Stockman, which included his incalculably useful tables of feed compositions and nutritional requirements. (Henry called them “feeding standards.”) I proudly own an early Henry edition on my bookshelf. Morrison initially worked as Henry’s assistant, then as co-author, and finally, after W. A. Henry retired, as the sole author. Everyone now associates the book with Morrison, but it was Henry who first organized, wrote and published it.The second agricultural scientist was the associate director, Henry Prentiss Armsby (another legendary name in livestock nutrition). Soon after this report was published, Armsby left Wisconsin to become the director of the Pennsylvania Ag Experiment Station, where he established the Institute for Animal Nutrition. At this institute, Armsby designed and built the first “respiration calorimeter” for livestock – an astonishingly complex piece of equipment for its time.Even without the benefit of computers or modern electronics, Armsby’s respiration calorimeter was precise enough to allow scientists to accurately measure all the energy losses in feeds, including heat losses. This was breakthrough science. Nutritionists could finally estimate the net energy requirements of livestock and the true energy value of feeds.Let’s return to the 1887 annual report. Director W. A. Henry wrote the introduction. It’s almost eerie to read these paragraphs now, to conjure up the image of a man who would soon publish the prominent, seminal livestock nutrition textbook – to imagine him as a young scientist sitting at his desk in a quiet station building, writing the introductory paragraphs of a routine administrative report.The introduction, however, does contain a bit of quaint 19th century formality, referring to “His Excellency Governor Rusk.” (Imagine what our late-night television hosts would do with that.) But it also contains a clear no-nonsense statement of purpose: “Our annual report, herewith presented, gives a full report of all work completed during the limits of the year as previously mentioned.” No-nonsense indeed.advertisementThe report is nearly 200 pages long. Aside from some mundane organizational notes, it contains 18 research articles, all written by three staffers. Topics ranged from dehorning cattle to feeding for fat and lean growth to analyses of milk samples from different dairy breeds to tests of farm machinery to the value of manure and the analyses of various fertilizers.And this is after less than four years in existence. It seems that the Wisconsin farmers were truly getting their money’s worth of information.But one item in the introduction really caught my eye: W. A. Henry defines the purpose of the ag experiment station. After all, in 1887 the concept of a publicly funded agricultural experiment station was still quite new. So after first laying out the groundwork of this issue, Henry proceeds to list what the station is not: It’s not a rustic park for driving through or displaying manicured lawns. Henry notes that there are lots of places around the state with pretty drives, but a functional experiment station should not be one of them.The station is also not a “model farm.” Farmers can run farms better than researchers, and if the state wanted to create a model farm to impress farmers, then it should have allocated more money to do so. (This sounds like a modern issue, doesn’t it?) Henry doesn’t mince words. He writes, “There is no more need of carrying on model farming or fancy farming on this farm than to decorate the chemical laboratory and endeavor to make a parlor of it.”The station is also not a source of breeding stock, nor is it a place that maintains animals for livestock shows. The herds and flocks on an experiment station should be reserved for other things. In any case, an experiment station cannot maintain all the breeds to suit all purposes. Farmers can show and breed livestock themselves; they don’t need the state to compete with them. Similarly, the station is not a source of crop seeds. Henry notes, again, that private enterprise can do this quite well.So what is the purpose of the experiment station? “It should be,” he writes, “a place to carry on investigations in agriculture too difficult for the ordinary farmer, either by their expense, length of time necessary to reach results or scientific methods and apparatus essential to success.”Not for show, not for model farming, not for breeding stock, not for seed. The purpose of the experiment station is to conduct disciplined scientific experiments. It should test hypotheses, compare options, devise additional hypotheses and derive new information that farmers can use so farmers don’t have to risk their own farms to gain this knowledge by slow and expensive experience. The implications of this purpose are profound, and even today, not always understood.Back then it was all so new. Recall that this report was written only 22 years after the end of the Civil War. Wisconsin had sent thousands of young men into the Union army, and many of the middle-aged men who farmed the land in 1887 and made political decisions in the Wisconsin legislature had carried rifles into battle only a few years earlier.These men had known chaos, fear and privation. After their military service, they returned to their homes and farms, and now some were trying to build an agricultural landscape in which their families could be secure.These men had invested in the new concept of public research and had hired good men of science to carry it out. The Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station, with its devotion to science-based farming and its carefully written report, represented the beginnings of a better world.  PDWoody Lane is a livestock nutritionist and forage specialist in Roseburg, Oregon. He operates an independent consulting business and teaches workshops across the U.S. and Canada. His book, From The Feed Trough: Essays and Insights on Livestock Nutrition in a Complex World, is available through his website.last_img read more

Video | Meet the 2015 Kentucky Wildcats’ men’s basketball team.

first_imgPlay VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration Time 0:00Loaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%0:00 Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1ChaptersChaptersdescriptions off, selectedDescriptionssubtitles off, selectedSubtitlescaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedCaptionsAudio TrackFullscreenThis is a modal window. The Video Cloud video was not found. Error Code: VIDEO_CLOUD_ERR_VIDEO_NOT_FOUND Session ID: 2020-09-18:4c1ad7c993200c791b014bf4 Player ID: videojs-brightcove-player-388028-4562882732001 OK Close Modal DialogCaption Settings DialogBeginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsDefaultsDoneClose Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Video | Meet the 2015 Kentucky Wildcats’ men’s basketball team.last_img read more

Agent provides update on Pep Guardiola’s future at Manchester City beyond…

first_imgLast Friday, UEFA handed the English champions a ban from European competitions for the next two seasons.Though City have confirmed they will appeal the ban, there have been numerous rumours suggesting the ex-Barcelona manager will leave the club after this season.Catalan newspaper Sport and various other outlets in Spain and England have reported that Guardiola has no plans to leave the Premier League winners in the summer.If that wasn’t enough, El Mundo spoke to Josep Maria Orobitg, the agent of Guardiola and he has provided an update on his client’s future at City beyond this campaign.“Guardiola always fulfils all his contracts. And his [current deal] concludes in June 2021,” Josep Maria Orobitg said.The comments from Guardiola’s representative should come as a sigh of relief, at least for those City fans, who feared of losing their manager after this season.by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksTrending TodayForge of Empires – Free Online GameIf You Like to Play, this Game is a Must-HaveForge of Empires – Free Online GameUndo聽多多 Hearmore.asia1969年前出生的香港居民現可免費試戴頂尖的歐洲助聽器聽多多 Hearmore.asiaUndoDating.comThe Most Handsome Guys In Hong Kong On This Dating SiteDating.comUndoSmart Tech TrendOver 55? You Have to Try Those Revolutionary Glasses!Smart Tech TrendUndoCNN with DBS BankThe New Role Banks Are PlayingCNN with DBS BankUndoHero WarsGetting this Treasure is impossible! Prove us wrong!Hero WarsUndoGrepolis – Online Free GameGamers Around the World Have Been Waiting for this Game! Already 35 Million PlayersGrepolis – Online Free GameUndoLoans | Search AdsNeed a loan? Search hereLoans | Search AdsUndoTheTopFiveVPNThe Trick Netflix Doesn’t Want You To Know To Unlock RestrictionsTheTopFiveVPNUndo Pep Guardiola’s contract at Manchester City expires in 2021 and the manager has publicly expressed his desire to stay at the club until his current deal runs out.last_img read more

Saturday’s county club hurling fixtures

first_imgSome of the clubs expected to challenge Thurles Sarsfields for the County Senior Hurling title feature in today’s raft of Round 3 Dan Breen games.There’s a double header in Templemore this evening, with the first game throwing in at 5.Mullinahone meet Nenagh Eire Og in that one, in Group one. Nenagh are already guaranteed qualification ahead of that game, and Mullinahone are set to finish bottom. Then at 6:30, Toomevara meet Killenaule in Group 2 – a group where all 4 teams could still qualify.Nenagh is the venue for Kiladangan versus Borrisoleigh in Group 4, which throws in at 5.While, the other Group 4 game between Portroe and Loughmore Castleiney gets going in Dolla at 6.30, with the mid Tipp club hot favourites to come out on top.Tipp FM Analyst, and former Tipp senior hurling manager Ken Hogan, says he expects people to come out in their droves this weekend, following last weekend’s under 21 success.SEAMUS O RIAINThere are 3 games down for decision in the Seamus O Riain Cup today.First up in the early throw in, Templederry meet Newport. Throw in in Nenagh for that one is at 1pm.Then at 3pm in Toomevara, Clonakenny take on Silvermines.While, at 6:30 this evening, Moycarkey play Holycross Ballycahill in The Ragg. Whoever wins that tie is straight through to a semi final.INTERMEDIATEThere’s just one game in the County Intermediate hurling championship this evening.Golden Kilfeackle go up against Kilsheelan Kilcash in Ned Hall Park at 4pm.Former Tipp hurling development coach Seamus Gleeson says it’ll be a tight game…WEST TIPPERARYThen in the West of the county, Sean Tracey Park in Tipperary town is the venue for both the Minor A and Minor B hurling championship finals this afternoon.First up, in the B decider, Knockavilla Donaskeigh take on Rockwell Rosegreen at 1:30.Then, at 3pm, Cappawhite Gaels play Cashel King Cormacs in the Minor A final. Photo © Tipp FMlast_img read more