An Agricultural Experiment Station.

From New England Magazine

An Agricultural Experiment Station.

By A. B. Ward

      Even to those who account the story of Eden no better than a legend, there is strange significance in the sentence, "Cursed is the ground for thy sake," and in that promise which preceded it, "Let them have dominion over all the earth." Thorn and thistle, blight and mildew and the mutinous insect swarm, have fulfilled the one; the quickened intelligence, the indomitable energy of the God-made man are slowly verifying the other, winning back the inheritance which seems to have been taken away only to be restored with added value. Within fifty years, since the farm and laboratory joined hands to work out the problem, advance has been steady and secure. But little more than forty years ago, Sir John Bennet Lawes and Dr. J. H. Gilbert were establishing their station at Rothamsted, Boussingault was experimenting in his laboratory in Alsatia, and, best of all, the farmers in MÖckern, in Saxony, were petitioning the government to assist them in founding a station to study the questions arising in their work.

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      It was in emulation of Möckern that American scientists sought to provide Connecticut with similar advantages; and it was through their patient efforts to place the experiment institution there on a firm basis that the idea of experiment stations became familiar to legislators, governors, and the public. In 1876, California followed Connecticut, and the next year North Carolina; Cornell University was close behind, and then came New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, and Massachusetts. In 1887 the Hatch Act, by an appropriation to each State and Territory of $15,000 a year furnished to those "who could and would accept, the opportunity of establishing an experiment station in connection with the State Agricultural College, and aid in such support of such a station already established."
      The government of the station was left to the various States in connection with the Agricultural College of the State, whose trustees have it in charge, and who as a whole or through committees were to engage specialists, chemists, agriculturists, botanists, and, at their discretion, entomologists, meteorologists, microscopists, physicists, viticulturists, geologists; the president of the college or some other responsible person to be the director of the station. Each station was to issue four bulletins a year, describing its work, these "to be sent free to all the newspapers in the State, and to such individuals interested in farming as may request the same." In addition, a central office

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