THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
published a number of books on farming which were apparently well received.
THE RURAL SCIENCE SERIES
Approximately 54 books, from soil to nuts
Published about 1910, edited by L.H. Bailey
Price, $1.50 each bound book
THE PRINCIPLES OF AGRICULTURE
A textbook for schools and Rural Societies
Edited by L.H. Bailey, 1910
A system of Agriculture for Countries Under a Low Rainfall
John A Widtsoe, A.M., PhD. 1911
RURAL TEXT-BOOK SERIES
ELEMENTS OF AGRICULTURE
G.F. Warren, Professor of Farm Management and Farm Crops
New York State College of Agriculture, at Cornell University
PRINCIPLES OF IRRIGATION PRACTICE
John A. Widtsoe, A.M., PhD
President of the Utah Agricultural College, 1914
These books, of which I have read only a few, are a snapshot of agriculture 100 years ago. They represent the state of the art by the best of the best at that time. As such, they represent a benchmark for modern agriculture. They are a good base on which to build. I think they were published, some with many printings, to get information into the hands of remote farms and farmers many miles from communication. Horses and mules were leaving the fields. This was the beginning of the use of the internal combustion engine; the start of the age of oil. One mention in one book describes a new fangled gadget - a portable gasoline engine with a pump one can actually take into the field.
These books give the reader the opportunity to reflect on the immense changes that have come about in farming in the past 100 years. Punctuated Equilibrium was the term the brilliant Steven Jay Gould said about evolution which also applies to changes in farming. I think that means periods of relative uniformity between giant leaps or changes. We often are so close to our work we do not realize the changes happening all around us. Some say we don't see the forest for the trees.
So, the thoughtful part of this is, where will farming be 100 years from now? Will each farm be self energy sufficient? Will we be finished with the internal combustion engine? Will your great-great grandson laugh when he sees a picture of you actually driving a tractor in the field?
Today, you are deluged with new information. It's almost too much. Sometimes there is a tendency to do what Dad did. "If it was good enough for Dad, then it's good enough for me." There is a lot of value in that. But, on the other hand, you may wonder, "Am I keeping up?"
These old books then, are valuable, to get a sense of what does and does not change in 100 years.
Submitted by James R. Wylie