Farmers' Institutes


Thomas Baker
 

I have been looking back in company magazines from the Chicago Great Western during the Twenties. I noticed several references to "farmers' institutes". The CGW even had an old coach converted to an "instruction car," I believe. The purpose of the "institutes" was to instruct farmers along the line on scientific methods of farming. Somewhere I read an article about similar institutes along the Great Northern Railway during the Twenties. I assume that other railroads operating in the Midwest and on the Great Plains had similar programs.

Farms were smaller then, and very few were corporate operations, such as one sees today. Does anyone on the list know how long the railroads followed such a policy? In any case, such programs suggest a symbiosis between the railroad and the locales it served unknown today and unknown for quite some time.

Any information out there?

Thanks for any help.

Tom


Walter M. Clark
 

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "Thomas Baker" <bakert@...> wrote:


I have been looking back in company magazines from the Chicago Great
Western during the Twenties. I noticed several references to
"farmers' institutes". The CGW even had an old coach converted to an
"instruction car," I believe. The purpose of the "institutes" was to
instruct farmers along the line on scientific methods of farming.
Somewhere I read an article about similar institutes along the Great
Northern Railway during the Twenties. I assume that other railroads
operating in the Midwest and on the Great Plains had similar programs.

Farms were smaller then, and very few were corporate operations,
such as one sees today. Does anyone on the list know how long the
railroads followed such a policy? In any case, such programs suggest
a symbiosis between the railroad and the locales it served unknown
today and unknown for quite some time.

Any information out there?

Thanks for any help.

Tom


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Tom,

In the book "Sunset Limited, The Southern Pacific Railroad and the
Development of the American West 1850 - 1930" by Richard J. Orsi,
published in 2005 by the University of California Press, there's a
whole chapter about the efforts of the SP to help local farmers in
from 1908 - 1912. They ran a farm demonstration train co-sponsored by
the SP and the University of California College of Agriculture.
Similar joint railroad-land grant college/university programs ran
through the West, mid-West and South in the first few decades of the
20th century.

The book debunks a great deal of the myth surrounding the SP and is a
great read (at least I enjoyed it).

Time stopped in November 1941
Walter M. Clark
Pullman, Washington, USA


rwitt_2000
 

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "wmcclark1980" <walterclark@...> wrote:

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "Thomas Baker" bakert@ wrote:


I have been looking back in company magazines from the Chicago Great
Western during the Twenties. I noticed several references to
"farmers' institutes". The CGW even had an old coach converted to an
"instruction car," I believe. The purpose of the "institutes" was to
instruct farmers along the line on scientific methods of farming.
Somewhere I read an article about similar institutes along the Great
Northern Railway during the Twenties. I assume that other railroads
operating in the Midwest and on the Great Plains had similar programs.

Farms were smaller then, and very few were corporate operations,
such as one sees today. Does anyone on the list know how long the
railroads followed such a policy? In any case, such programs suggest
a symbiosis between the railroad and the locales it served unknown
today and unknown for quite some time.

Any information out there?

Thanks for any help.

Tom


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Tom,

In the book "Sunset Limited, The Southern Pacific Railroad and the
Development of the American West 1850 - 1930" by Richard J. Orsi,
published in 2005 by the University of California Press, there's a
whole chapter about the efforts of the SP to help local farmers in
from 1908 - 1912. They ran a farm demonstration train co-sponsored by
the SP and the University of California College of Agriculture.
Similar joint railroad-land grant college/university programs ran
through the West, mid-West and South in the first few decades of the
20th century.

The book debunks a great deal of the myth surrounding the SP and is a
great read (at least I enjoyed it).

Time stopped in November 1941
Walter M. Clark
Pullman, Washington, USA
In Wisconsin where I spent my early years, the University of Wisconsin,
also a land grant university, created county extensions. This is where
farmers obtained information about farming. Each county had one and the
county agent would travel to farms and schools spreading the knowledge
of "modern" agriculture. Wisconsin has a strong "progressive tradition"
so people expected the government to provide such services. I don't
recall railroads being involved. Maybe family run dairy farms with the
milk mostly consumed locally and in Milwaukee and Chicago milk markets,
it didn't create much potential railroad freight traffic as say "cash
crops" such as grains and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Bob Witt


Dennis Storzek
 

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "rwitt_2000" <rwitt_2000@...> wrote:

In Wisconsin where I spent my early years, the University of Wisconsin,
also a land grant university, created county extensions. This is where
farmers obtained information about farming. Each county had one and the
county agent would travel to farms and schools spreading the knowledge
of "modern" agriculture. Wisconsin has a strong "progressive tradition"
so people expected the government to provide such services. I don't
recall railroads being involved. Maybe family run dairy farms with the
milk mostly consumed locally and in Milwaukee and Chicago milk markets,
it didn't create much potential railroad freight traffic as say "cash
crops" such as grains and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Bob Witt

There are a couple photos of Soo Line "agricultural display" trains in
North Dakota floating around, one even includes a flatcar with a
display of modern chicken coops :-)

I think chartering a train to serve the public was pretty much gone by
the depression, improved roads and easier travel made it easier for
the county extension agents to go directly to the farmers.

Dennis


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Thomas Baker wrote:
I have been looking back in company magazines from the Chicago Great Western during the Twenties. I noticed several references to "farmers' institutes" . . . Does anyone on the list know how long the railroads followed such a policy? In any case, such programs suggest a symbiosis between the railroad and the locales it served unknown today and unknown for quite some time.
There is now an extensive literature on this for most of the Western railroads. The Orsi book on the SP has been mentioned. There are also writings for the GN, NP, Milwaukee Road, and Santa Fe (and probably more). I would suggest Googling your subject matter for on-line resources and ALSO for booksellers and libraries.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@signaturepress.com
Publishers of books on railroad history


gn3397 <heninger@...>
 

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, Anthony Thompson <thompson@...> wrote:

There is now an extensive literature on this for most of the
Western railroads. The Orsi book on the SP has been mentioned. There
are also writings for the GN, NP, Milwaukee Road, and Santa Fe (and
probably more). I would suggest Googling your subject matter for
on-line resources and ALSO for booksellers and libraries.

For anyone interested, there is a book entitled "Profiting From The Plains: The Great
Northern Railway and Corporate Development of the American West", written by Claire
Strom, an assistant professor of history at North Dakota State University, my alma mater.
It deals extensively with James J. Hill's efforts to improve the productivity of farmers along
the GN, with the intent of increasing the amount of agricultural products for the GN to
haul to market. Also, the GN's efforts in this area are also discussed in "The Great
Northern Railway: A History", by Hidy, Hidy, Hofsommer, and Scott.

Sincerely,
Robert D. Heninger
Iowa City, IA


Walter M. Clark
 

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "rwitt_2000" <rwitt_2000@...> wrote:


--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "wmcclark1980" <walterclark@> wrote:

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "Thomas Baker" bakert@ wrote:


I have been looking back in company magazines from the Chicago Great
Western during the Twenties. I noticed several references to
"farmers' institutes". The CGW even had an old coach converted to an
"instruction car," I believe. The purpose of the "institutes" was to
instruct farmers along the line on scientific methods of farming.
Somewhere I read an article about similar institutes along the Great
Northern Railway during the Twenties. I assume that other railroads
operating in the Midwest and on the Great Plains had similar programs.

Farms were smaller then, and very few were corporate operations,
such as one sees today. Does anyone on the list know how long the
railroads followed such a policy? In any case, such programs suggest
a symbiosis between the railroad and the locales it served unknown
today and unknown for quite some time.

Any information out there?

Thanks for any help.

Tom


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Tom,

In the book "Sunset Limited, The Southern Pacific Railroad and the
Development of the American West 1850 - 1930" by Richard J. Orsi,
published in 2005 by the University of California Press, there's a
whole chapter about the efforts of the SP to help local farmers in
from 1908 - 1912. They ran a farm demonstration train co-sponsored by
the SP and the University of California College of Agriculture.
Similar joint railroad-land grant college/university programs ran
through the West, mid-West and South in the first few decades of the
20th century.

The book debunks a great deal of the myth surrounding the SP and is a
great read (at least I enjoyed it).

Time stopped in November 1941
Walter M. Clark
Pullman, Washington, USA
In Wisconsin where I spent my early years, the University of Wisconsin,
also a land grant university, created county extensions. This is where
farmers obtained information about farming. Each county had one and the
county agent would travel to farms and schools spreading the knowledge
of "modern" agriculture. Wisconsin has a strong "progressive tradition"
so people expected the government to provide such services. I don't
recall railroads being involved. Maybe family run dairy farms with the
milk mostly consumed locally and in Milwaukee and Chicago milk markets,
it didn't create much potential railroad freight traffic as say "cash
crops" such as grains and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Bob Witt
Bob,

California and the other western states also had strong "progressive"
and anti-railroad viewpoints. Remember "The Octopus?" What was
interesting from "The Sunset Limited" was how newspapers would print
vitriolic pieces against the SP while at the same time lauding the
SP/UC farm demonstration train programs, even in the same issue.

Time stopped in November 1941
Walter M. Clark
Pullman, Washington, USA


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

California and the other western states also had strong "progressive" and anti-railroad viewpoints. Remember "The Octopus?" What was interesting from "The Sunset Limited" was how newspapers would print vitriolic pieces against the SP while at the same time lauding the
SP/UC farm demonstration train programs, even in the same issue.
So? The SP wasn't a monolith and wasn't so perceived, though there has been a strain of historian (the "robber baron" cult) which has tried to so insist.
It's worth reminding readers of this list that "The Octopus" was bogus as history and by no means revealed the popular perception of the railroad--as was clear in contemporary book reviews. OF course those who like to excoriate railroads tend to think "The Octopus" was a kind of Gallup poll of public opinion. As if.
It's of course true that California elected a strong Progressive governor (Hiram Johnson) and enacted a number of Progressive political reforms, but the railroads generally and the SP in particular had became a "straw man" in politics by that time--fun to sling mud at, but no longer a real player politically.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@signaturepress.com
Publishers of books on railroad history


Thomas Baker
 

Thank you all for your informative responses. It is interesting to me that a road as small as the CGW and presumably with a limited income commensurate with its mileage and position among the Granger roads also had a program to encourage agricultural development.

Tom


Schuyler Larrabee
 

-----Original Message-----
From Thomas Baker

I have been looking back in company magazines from the Chicago Great Western during the Twenties.
I noticed several
references to "farmers' institutes". The CGW even had an old coach converted to an "instruction
car," I believe.

Tom, all your other respondents talked about the "institute" side of this. The Lackawanna had an
"Instruction Car" too, but it was outfitted with brake gear, and other equipment, and served to
instruct train service personnel in how this stuff worked. I imagine that the CGW car was similar.

SGL


ATSF1226
 

Tom,
There is more information on this program in a book, primarily dealing
with CB&Q, I believe the name of the book is Granger Country. I think
you will find that these program where funded by USDA and the state
land grant univ. Who also sponser the County Agents in each county.
These position exist today in most agricultureal states and include not
only farming and livestock production but also visits to the home and
taught women how to cook, and preserve foods, etc:. These programs
were real popular during the depression and contiued through the post
war years. Not only as a result of the depression but also the Dust
Bowl period that affected a number of the Mid-Western states. New
farming method were being taught to keep the top soil from blowing
away.
George A Walls
formally of Treynor, Iowa


Thank you all for your informative responses. It is interesting to
me that a road as small as the CGW and presumably with a limited income
commensurate with its mileage and position among the Granger roads also
had a program to encourage agricultural development.

Tom


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Garth G. Groff <ggg9y@...>
 

Tom,

California's Northern Electric Railway (later the Sacramento Northern) owned an ex-PRR wooden baggage-express car which was converted into a demonstration car. Cost was shared with the closely-allied Pacific Gas & Electric Co., and the exhibits promoted farm and home electrification. The car made the rounds at county fairs in the NERY service area for about eight years. When the NERY was reorganized as the SNRR in 1918, the car was downgraded to maintenance-of-way service. Photos can be seen in Ira Swett's SACRAMENTO NORTHERN (Interurbans Press and Pentrex, various editions).

Kind regards,


Garth G. Groff

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "Thomas Baker" <bakert@...> wrote:
I have been looking back in company magazines from the Chicago Great
Western during the Twenties. I noticed several references to
"farmers' institutes". The CGW even had an old coach converted to an
"instruction car," I believe. The purpose of the "institutes" was to
instruct farmers along the line on scientific methods of farming. Somewhere I read an article about similar institutes along the Great
Northern Railway during the Twenties. I assume that other railroads
operating in the Midwest and on the Great Plains had similar programs.


Walter M. Clark
 

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, Anthony Thompson <thompson@...> wrote:

California and the other western states also had strong "progressive"
and anti-railroad viewpoints. Remember "The Octopus?" What was
interesting from "The Sunset Limited" was how newspapers would print
vitriolic pieces against the SP while at the same time lauding the
SP/UC farm demonstration train programs, even in the same issue.
So? The SP wasn't a monolith and wasn't so perceived, though
there has been a strain of historian (the "robber baron" cult) which
has tried to so insist.
It's worth reminding readers of this list that "The Octopus" was
bogus as history and by no means revealed the popular perception of the
railroad--as was clear in contemporary book reviews. OF course those
who like to excoriate railroads tend to think "The Octopus" was a kind
of Gallup poll of public opinion. As if.
It's of course true that California elected a strong Progressive
governor (Hiram Johnson) and enacted a number of Progressive political
reforms, but the railroads generally and the SP in particular had
became a "straw man" in politics by that time--fun to sling mud at, but
no longer a real player politically.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history
I had a boss one time who would say "We're not making it up, only
reporting it." I was only passing on what I read in "Sunset Limited."

Time stopped in November 1941
Walter M. Clark
Pullman, Washington, USA


Walter M. Clark
 

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "George A. Walls" <atsf1226@...> wrote:

Tom,
There is more information on this program in a book, primarily dealing
with CB&Q, I believe the name of the book is Granger Country. I think
you will find that these program where funded by USDA and the state
land grant univ. Who also sponser the County Agents in each county.
These position exist today in most agricultureal states and include not
only farming and livestock production but also visits to the home and
taught women how to cook, and preserve foods, etc:. These programs
were real popular during the depression and contiued through the post
war years. Not only as a result of the depression but also the Dust
Bowl period that affected a number of the Mid-Western states. New
farming method were being taught to keep the top soil from blowing
away.
George A Walls
formally of Treynor, Iowa


Thank you all for your informative responses. It is interesting to
me that a road as small as the CGW and presumably with a limited income
commensurate with its mileage and position among the Granger roads also
had a program to encourage agricultural development.

Tom


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
George and Tom,

I wasn't there when the SP and UC planned and implemented the
Agricultural Demonstration Trains; I can only repeat what Richard Orsi
said in his book "Sunset Limited." This is from page 299 in chapter
11 "Evangel train."

"The enterprise was conceived of as a veritable "university on
wheels," as it became popularly known, or as university president (The
University of California) Benjamin Ide Wheeler renamed it, "an Evangel
train bringing to the farms of the state the gospel of a better
agriculture." The College of Agriculture at Berkeley and Davis was to
determine the train's topics and general curriculum, develop the
lectures, outfit the special display and demonstration cars, and,
along with the (California) Horticultural Commission, provide most of
the educators and experts. The Southern Pacific was to plan the
itinerary and schedule, work with community business and farm
organizations and local rail agents to publicize the visits, furnish
locomotives, redesigned freight, passenger, sleeping, and dining cars,
equipment, food and supplies, and train crew, and, of course, pay the
bills."

So at least in the case of the SP the railroad picked up the tab, as
it did in many ways to support and expand agriculture beginning in the
mid-1860s with the establishment of the first stations and other
facilities throughout its wide area. After all, when you are
receiving a large amount of land as part of the government railroad
construction subsidy, it only makes sense to devote as much effort as
possible to advance agriculture, thereby leading to sales of the land
and crops to transport. It only made good business sense.

Time stopped in November 1941
Walter M. Clark
Pullman, Washington, USA