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Shall We Let the Boys and Girls Go?
Or Shall We Magnify the Office of Farming, Educate Them for Tlielr Farm Duties, Change Farm Drudgery Into Ditelligciit, Interesting, and Profitable Work., and Enlist Them Enthusiastically in the (treat Task of Remaking Rural Life? Hy I>r. Itrnry n allarr, K'Htor of Wtlliiff'l /'firmer. Editorial Note: The duty whiejr the farmers of the present generation owe to their chil dren is strikingly set forth in this wise article by Dr. Wallace, of Iowa, the ripest writer of the West on rural topics. It is a strong plea he makes for that home and school training which will prepare our boys and girls for a more efficient life on the farm, and for the adoption of those improved methods of farming which convert farm drudgery into intelligent, attractive, and renumerativc work. Writing from the standpoint of conditions in his section (Iowa and adjacent states). Dr. W allace tells what should be done to knit the hearts of the boys and girls to the farms of the 'corn and grass States of the middle west.* but with what greater force do his arguments operate to keep the boys and girls on the farms of our cotton, com, and grass states of the Sunny South ) There Is constant lament that the farm boy*, and girl* as well, tend to drift Into the town, where after twenty or thirty years of hard work their main regret In many case* Is that they did not stay In the country, and one of their main purposes is to get back to the farm. Where the boy* do not go Into the town but stay on farms, sooner or later a great number of them drift off to other Slates and Territories, to such an extent that from these two causes combined the farm population of all1 the States In the Mississippi valley Is constantly decreasing In proportion to the urban population In Iowa, a* shown by comparing the National Census of 1500 with the State Census of 190f». the total population shows a slight absolute decrease, the decrease In the rural population being greater than the large In crease of the urban or town or city population. Tlw Townward l»rtfl of tlie f arm IWqr. We are often asked how this tendency to drift to the town and to other State* can be at least minimized, so that this State and the other States., of the Mississippi valley shall show an Increase in population. We hate no pet theory to offer upon this point, but we think all will agree that the only way this diversion of population to the cities and other States can be stopped Is to make farm life In these corn State* more pleasant for the boy and more profitable for the young man who makes farming his occupation. Evidently it can not be checked altogether until the promise of pleasure and profit ran In s*»me way bo equal ized. There are many boy* whom wo do n«t blame for going to the loan Some of them are by natural endowment* bolter flyed for business or the profession* than for farming, and »n believe every boy should bo encouraged to engage in that business or profession to which hi* abilities and tastes and Inclinations, guided by Intelligence, seem to direct him. A Hrrioio Ml*take of |*arrtifa. There are many boys, however, lost to the farm who are better fitted for farming than for any other line of business, and b»*t almpiy be cause farmers do not make farm life pleasant for the boy. Most boys usually like »nrk Our ob servation is that a la*y boy is an exception. The reason why many of them leave the farm i* be cause the fathers and mothers hold up to them other lines of business ns more honorable, more respectable »tid easier. It makes us thoroughly angry to bear a farmer or his wife say to son or daughter that they hop* he or she will not be condemned to drudge, moil and toil as the parents nave, nna xo wmn lor mm or n«*r some easy, honorable, respectable life, the Inference being that farming Is neither desirable, honorable, or respectable, it Is a great pity that such fathers and mothers ever went on the farm; for no man can ever succeed In farming unless he honors his profession; to use the language of Bcripture, un less he “magnifies his office." These people are laboring under a very great mistake* looking at it fairly and broadly, farm life Involves no more hardship, no more toll, no more wear and tear of either mind or body, than most other lines of huslnesH or Industry; nor Is there any line of business more entitled to the respect of all decent men and women than the business or profession of farming. Make Partners \ot Itntien of V«mr Children. That Is not all. Many farmers who are really proud of their profession persistently treat their sons us “kids," ordering them about with less show of respect than they would the hired man, giving them the poorest plow, the poorest team, and the poorest tools on the farm, telling them to do thus and so without giving them any reason for It, and without giving them an opportunity to use their own brains uud figure out why the work should bo done* this way or that. When a hoy gets to be fifteen or sixteen years of ago he Is no longer a "kid,*' and ho should be treated by his father more as a younger brother thnn as a hired ' hand or a child. As soon as possible the boy should be given a share In the profits. In some way be should be given an Interest In the farm. If h«» Is given s calf, or colt, or pig. under promise that It shall bo his If It Is taken care of, that promise should be as religiously kept as nn oath There Is many a boy to-day regretting that he ever left the old farm, who would hare stAld there gladly and, proudly If his father bad treated biro as fathers should treat their sons. We know it Is some-' time* rather hard for a father to treat bis son In this way The boy has been dependent on him from babyhood up. and he often Insists on that dependence bn>g after the period of dependence is past Use Itural He I tools Should Kdurale for Rural Ufa Another thing: The timo Is about to come when farmer* must absolutely Insist that the edu cation which their children receive In school shall tonnwuoj, *nn mo me oi me rarm V* many of our rural srbools are conducted thoy jMjjnt the young boy and girl s»ay from th® farm instead of to the farm There |* no place on earth that furnishes bet ter opportunities for the devrkipment of the dawning Intellect than the farm. If the farmer !» interested In the work himself, if he Is farming, not drudging, and If he will insist that th® teach ing In the school shall be in line with what la go ing on every day on the farm We might discuss this question by the hour, but ®e have said enough to Indicate the real rea sons shy so many b«ys are driven to the town, often to make wroets of their lives and their for tunes. who should have and would have staid on the farm had there been the proper life |n the home and In the school. I*-Aro to I'snn—<»«hm1 1 arming Has Hcarrely lie gun. Ilul how, ft will be asked, can this drift of population be checked? Simply by such meth ods of farming as will yield greater profits Up to the beginning of this century compara tively little really good farming has been done in the t nited Stalls This may seem a broad statement, but any one who will carefully read the history of farming In the nineteenth cen tury can only come to the conclusion that It has been mining Instead of farming, soil robbery rather than Intelligent agriculture. Speaking broadly, we have not even begun to really farm. There Is a farmer here and there who Is growing twice the average crop; for ex ample, sixty-five bushels of corn In Iowa instead of thirty-two, thirty bushels of winter wheat in stead of fifteen, sixty bushels of oats Instead of thirty; and Is doing this right along year after year, and all the while maintaining and gradual ly increasing the fertility of his land. This shows that It is possible. Farmers who do this have no occasion to move West or South or North or East. What Is accomplished actually by a few is possi ble for all. The average quarter section In Iowa or auy of the adjoining States will pay well for twice the labor actually employed, provided that labor la employed Intelligently. When wo reach the point where every farmer does his best Intellectually as well as physically, when he farms according to the teachings of the best agricultural papers and colleges and Experi ment Stations, there will be no temptation to find a better country than these corn and graaa States of the Mlddlo West. Hence the remedy la tha only remedy for a great many things In this world, and that Is a broader Intelligence, higher skill, and better work. Inspiring Hosults of Study and Intelligence Al ready Visible. \\c are. however. gradually Improving our method#. More men now pay a dollar a year for ajmfcmiHural paper# In advance than ever before, tme can not expect very much Improvement In farming a# long as the farmer I# willing to aocept an agricultural paper a* a present, and thus has his reading In his own line of business provided for him by some man In some other line of bast ne«s. who is looking after his own Interests and not that of the reader. And this Improvement will continue. Tho percentage of men who art paying for their paper* In advance la Increasing every year, and will conllnuo to Increase. More men have bought manure spreader* Is the last five years than ever before, and tbs num ber will Increase until to be without a manure up reader Is to write yourself down a poor farmer. More men will put up altoa In the next year than ever before. More men are teetlng their cows this year to ascertain which are worth keeptag than ever before More grain drills have been sold the last year than ever before We do not know that more land Is going down to clover this year than ever before; but If not. It Is because of the impossibility of securing seed. More men are taking care of their seed corn the last two or three years than ever before. Alt this Indicate* that there la a good Ume coming for the farmers of the corn and gram States; but It wilt come not In tho tine of more drudgery, more hard work, but more Intelligence, more reading, more studying, more experimenter non When this has gone on a few years longer, and men have a clearer perception of the ad vantage* of tho corn and grass States and of farm life, the rural imputation will Increase In stead of decreasing, as It has been In all the older sections for the last thirty years. Agricultural Education the Hope of the South. In traveling at the Institutes In Maryland and Pennsylvania I could hut compare the commodi ous farm buildings, the handsome barns, and In many rases, the long lines of whitewashed fences, with the dingy dwellings and poor out buildings one sees |n the South generally. Tho utter lack ■ >f paint and whitewash In many places, not only on farm building* but In the village*, give an air of thrlftlessness that Is depressing to one accus tomed to brighter structures. A bare, unpnlnt* ■ d house, standing In a sunburnt field without lawn or trees, at once leads tho passer-by to con* < ludo that a shiftless farmer lives there, one who •'aya that “farmin' don't pay." It Is hard to get at tho men who drudge through life under such conditions, and the hope j *ho future Is In tho hoys and girls In the rural | hauls. When the boy* and girls In these are taught something of farm life, wo will soon see* inoro paint and whitewash used, and along with these, better farming. And If we nr«- ever to have teachers In the rural schools th will wake up an enthusiasm among tho boys and girls that i must go buck to tho furmu from these schools, for lam a tie farming, they muat be trained la the agricultural college; and n* I have often aald. If all of our preacher* had the advantage of the agricultural courne before taking their theologi cal uttidlc*. they could become n great aid In the uplifting of the farming method* of the State. We need normal Instruction In the ticlencee on which agriculture l* bared; for the teacher muat Know what he tenches, el*o how can he tench? J* What wo need In the South l* mime elementary Instruction on plant life, animat life and the com position atul treatment of the noil In all the rural ncliool*. Then from these pn»* the student* on to the agricultural high school. So many thousand* of boy* and girl* must get their entire education In their home county and then go back to the farms, that these school* will meet the need* of a far greater number than tho college* of agri culture ever cuu. If It I* necessary to drop some of tha thing* now taking up the time of the pu pil* In the country *chool* In order to teach some* thlug from the great book of nature ull around them, let that be done. Hut teach them some thing that will have an Inilueuce ou their future occupation.