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Chapter III.-Lands Owned and Controlled by the Land
Land is essential to the agricultural work of a land-grant college for a number of important reasons. Plantings of orchards and small fruits, truck crops, field and forage crops are needed for student observation and occasional practice and for demonstration purposes. Land is needed also for the study of the history of soils and soil types. Pasture, forage, and other feeds for the stock usually can be produced more cheaply on college-owned land than when purchased, and far more conveniently.
High-class herds of representative breeds of dairy and beef cattle, horses, hogs, sheep, and flocks of poultry are very necessary in connection with undergraduate agricultural instruction. They might be classified as laboratory equipment in animal husbandry, dairy, and poultry husbandry. Flocks and herds can be maintained with economy only if there is sufficient land for pasture and for the production of the roughages needed. Land for production of grain for feed, , while very desirable, usually is less necessary since such feed often can be purchased from the surplus of adjacent farms or even shipped in for little more than it would cost to produce it on college-owned farms.
The other very important need for land controlled by the institution is for experimental and research use in connection with the experiment station system and for service work in the production and distribution of pure seed. Quite commonly this land also contributes to the instructional work by serving as a source of forage and feed for livestock, and for illustration and demonstration for college classes. Land of representative type institutionally owned or controlled and adequate for resident instruction and for experimental and research purposes is essential in every State.
Twenty-eight institutions report that some rented land is used and 15 institutions that there are additional lands owned by private interests but worked by the institution. Sixteen institutions report that the land used is in excess of the amount actually needed for teaching and research and that it is handled for the income obtained.
3 See Part III, Business management and finance.
Development of instructional equipment beyond the needs of teaching and research and its use for income purposes may be necessary in individual cases. However, where this is the practice it may be at considerable expense to the institution in time devoted to management by department heads or others. Often what seems like a profit may resolve itself into a loss when all costs are considered. There is also the possibility of difficulties with commercial firms where the business of the college plant is developed beyond the needs specified. Five institutions indicate that such difficulties have been encountered. Further commercialization of educational facilities may very easily distort educational objectives. Only where it seems necessary to develop a unit of land, plant, herd, or flock to a certain size in order to make for economy and efficiency in management and in volume of business handled should the college plant be enlarged beyond the needs of instruction, research, and service.
On the other hand, where an institution develops its plants and farms only in accordance with the needs of instruction, research, and service, it must have the right to dispose of the products from its farms and plant to the best advantage commercially. Any other practice would be wasteful, and in the long run would not be tolerated by the taxpaying public. The commercial firms which may feel that the institution is in unfair competition with them, usually upon investigation will find that they have small reason for complaint.
The management of the land adjacent to the institution is in control of a central unit directly responsible to the administration of the agricultural division in 29 of the 43 institutions reporting on this point, while in 14 this is not the case.
In Florida . the departments of agronomy, animal husbandry, and horticulture are responsible for the management of the farms. The same departments, plus forestry, are responsible in Georgia. In Montana the professor of animal husbandry is in charge. In Wisconsin the departments of agronomy and animal husbandry are responsible. In Virginia the department of agronomy is responsible to the dean for the management and the same is true in Washington. Other institutions where the land is not handled as a unit do not indicate which departments are responsible for the management.
In every instance but one, Tennessee, it is reported that land is assigned more or less permanently to departments for their special use. Administratively, it is easier to handle land belonging to an institution when it is assigned to the departments that have need for the land. That the department itself is responsible for the use of land assigned to it may be an incentive to good planning for the acreage allowed, particularly when the income from such land may be used directly for the maintenance of the department's work. However, there is on the other hand danger that the department will overemphasize the “income ” aspects of such management, to the neglect of instructional and research uses,
The fact that in the majority of institutions the land is handled by one unit rather than by a number of departments undoubtedly is due to the greater economy with which land when limited in amount can be handled in this way. There is less duplication of equipment and less lost motion of man and horse labor and machine power where the land contiguous to an institution is handled as a unit rather than by departments. Both types of management are feasible. Where institutions are large with large numbers of stock and with sufficient land, the advantage of dividing the land into animal husbandry, dairy, and agronomy farms, for instance, may outweigh the disadvantages of duplication in equipment. In the smaller institutions and where the land is limited the unit system would seem to be most desirable.
Chapter IV.—The Staff in Undergraduate Instruction in
Training and experience.—The personnel of an institution is its most important asset. Training, experience, age, ability, and interest in the agricultural teaching profession are determining factors in the qualifications of the teaching staff. The first three factors are measurable and are shown in Table 2 for a large group of the teaching staff from the institutions which gave comprehensive reports on this matter. While the tabulation speaks for itself there are some outstanding points that may be emphasized. First, of 491 professors, 176 associate professors, 351 assistant professors, and 251 instructors, 72, 70, 54, and 56 per cent, respectively, were farm reared, while 23, 24, 21, and 22 per cent, respectively, were not so reared, but have had farm experience. In other words, 98, 94, 75, and 78 per cent, respectively, or 84 per cent of the total of those who are teaching undergraduate agriculture have had farm experience.
Farm experience apparently has played a large part in directing the agricultural teacher into the profession he has selected. It is to be expected then that his interpretation of agricultural facts and problems are those of a man from within and not of one who lacks intimate touch with and understanding of the field in which he
TABLE 2.—Training and early experience of the teaching staff in undergraduate agriculture in land-grant institutions, 1927-281
1 Data of table derived from institutional reports.
? The number of staff members whose attendance at a college of agriculture was reported does not correspond exactly with the number reported under degrees obtained in the returned questionnaires. The percentages in these columns, therefore, have been calculated on the basis of the total number whose undergraduate college attendance has been reported rather than on total numbers given in the second column.