The New Student's Reference Work/Agricultural Schools and Colleges
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Agricultural Schools and Colleges
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Agricultural Schools and Colleges. As so large a part of our population is engaged in agriculture people have gradually come to see that a study of its underlying principles is just as important and necessary as the study of the older branches of science and philosophy. It was not till 1862, however, that the means for placing the desired instruction within reach of the agricultural community at large was realized through the establishment of state agricultural schools. In that year by act of Congress 30,000 acres of land for each congressman were set aside to ensure the permanent endowment of at least one college in each state and territory for the teaching of agriculture and mechanical arts. In 1890 a further grant was made to each state of the maximum annual value of $25,000.
The majority of the state agricultural colleges are connected with a university. The others, with the exception of the Massachusetts Agricultural College, are departments of technical schools.
Conditions of admission vary considerably in different parts of the country. In parts of the south and west pupils from the eighth and ninth grades of the public schools are usually admitted, while some of the universities have a standard of admission about as high as that for students entering upon literary courses.
As to courses of study, in general the agricultural schools connected with universities do more work along the line of scientific research, while in the schools not connected with universities more attention is given to the directly practical work. The universities wish to put the four years' course in agriculture on a par with those in literature and philosophy. The aim is not to produce all-round agricultural experts, but to give students a general working knowledge of the things of fundamental importance to intelligent farmers, with opportunity of becoming a specialist in some one particular line. The courses usually include care of orchards, grafting, pruning, dairying, feeding and judging of stock, properties of soils, etc.
Some colleges have winter courses, lasting three months, especially adjusted to the needs of those students who cannot afford to be away from their home farms during the rest of the year. Such courses, have proved so helpful that many students have returned for several successive winters.
Tuition in agricultural colleges is free, but a small fee is usually charged to cover cost of materials used in experiments. In some states allowance is made for work done by pupils towards the payment of their personal expenses of board and lodging, and in some places free lodging is provided by the institution.
The Agricultural Department of Cornell University has given courses by correspondence which have proved to be highly successful. Too much encouragement and commendation cannot be given to te farmers and farmers' sons who are industrious and intelligent enough to take advantage of these aids toward improving their vocation, thereby raising their own standard of living and increasing their value to the community in which they live. In few occupations will the results achieved be more increased by a knowledge of underlying principles and an intelligent application of them than in farming.