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to give public notice that proposals would be received in addition to those already before the Board.
TRIAL OF IMPLEMENTS. Resolved, That in the opinion of the Executive Committee, it has now become necessary that a trial of agricultural implements and machinery be had, and that great benefit will accrue to farmers and mechanics, and the public at large, from such a trial, and that this Society will undertake the same this season if the Legislature will appropriate $3,000 in aid of the expenses necessary for the trial.
The Secretary was directed to call the attention of mechanics and manufacturers to the subject, and to present a copy of the above resolution to the Legislature. The meeting adjourned to meet at Albany at the call of the President.
B. P. JOHNSON, Secretary.
ADDRESS DELIVERED AT THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE NEW YORK STATE AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY, ALBANY, FEBRUARY 11, 1864.
BY EDWARD G. FAILE, PRESIDENT.
Gentlemen of the State Agricultural Society:
We, as a Society, the sole aim and purpose of which is the furtherance and improvement of the arts of peace, meet once again amid the alarms of war, and while as citizens of our common country, we have abundant cause for thankfulness toward that good Providence which has so signally advanced the cause of human liberty and good government, since our last meeting, we have no less reason to be thankful for the abundant harvests which have in an almost unprecedented manner rewarded the labors of the husbandman.
We had, perhaps, sufficient cause for apprehension, lest the great drain both of men and money, the unavoidable consequence of the war against rebellion on so gigantic a scale, and naturally the all-absorbing topic of the times, should affect, unfavorably, our annual fair; yet it was eminently successful in the quality of the exhibition, in the numbers attending it, and in the interest manifested in all its proceedings, especially the evening meetings, which were nightly crowded, and the scene of interesting and useful discussions on subjects important to farmers.
Acknowledgments are due to his honor the mayor of the city of Utica, to the common council, and to the citizens generally, for the hospitable and accommodating spirit shown, but especially should they be rendered to Mr. John Butterfield, for his strenuous and unremitting exertions in behalf of the Society, as to him we owe the possession of the most pleasantly located, spacious, and convenient grounds, and the most complete and comfortable buildings we have ever occupied.
The financial success of the fair, the quality of the animals shown, the variety of products and number of implements exhibited, as set forth in the reports of the treasurer and of our honored secretary, rank it among the most successful ever held by the Society, notwithstanding the almost entire loss of the last day, owing to a storm of unusual severity.
In the department of agricultural implements there was an unusually full show, exhibiting many improvements upon valuable implements and machines already in use, and also a considerable number of new inventions, showing that the enterprise of our mechanics is keeping pace with the increasing necessity for labor-saving machinery, arising from the scarcity of farm laborers; and I think that the Society have great cause to feel gratified that year after year has shown a steady and large increase in this most important department.
It proves that the manufacturers feel that the endorsement of the Society, through the prizes awarded after examination by competent judges, is an important element of success in the introduction of any new or improved implement, and also that the farming community have confidence in the justness and reliability of the awards so made.
This is to my apprehension one of the most important of all the avenues of usefulness open to, or I should rather say trodden by this Society. It is only by improved cultivation, that we of the older States, working soils partially exhausted, which require high culture and liberal applications of manure, can compete with the teeming west, and particularly now, when the high price of labor renders necessary every labor-saving implement.
And here I would suggest the expediency of the establishment of some system, by which a more timely and thorough examination of machinery and implements, as well as the opportunity to test their practical working,
may be had.
At the Fair last fall there were committees, whose list numbered by hundreds, of implements and machinery, designed especially to promote the interests of farmers, many of them being of prime value and importance. Now, it is not possible that satisfactory examinations of such long lists can be made in so short a time as is of necessity allotted to them, and I think that the maintenance of the high and well deserved reputation of the Society, which has induced the large increase in this department, requires that timely action should be taken on this subject.
Standing in the presence of practical farmers, the majority of whom know more about the culture of the earth than I do, I should not venture, even if I had the ability, to propound scientific theories, or to indicate systems of agriculture : on one point only will I say a few words, namely, tile drainage.
From observation of the results of the thorough drainage of land, in which I have had a closé personal interest, I am so entirely convinced of the importance of the subject, that I think it cannot be too persistently urged upon the attention of our farmers. I have seen a large meadow of rank, coarse grasses intermixed with rushes, which was wet throughout the year, and did not yield even in pasturage, a tithe of the amount of the interest on its cost per acre, thorough drained with tile in the spring and early summer fallowed, and the following summer yielding a fair crop of barley. In another case the land was a swamp, yielding absolutely nothing, and within one year, by thorough drainage, it was made to produce a crop of fifty-four bushels of shelled corn to the acre, which was followed the next season by a good crop of oats, and it is now sown to winter wheat, which gives extraordinary promise. There are small portions of similar wet land on many thousands of the farms in this State alone, which in the aggregate would make a large tract, now lying waste and useless, a large proportion of which could undoubtedly be reclaimed by tile drainage, and, being generally rich, strong soils, made to yield a good interest upon the outlay, to the owners, and at the same time add to the healthfulness of the neighborhoods, and the wealth of the State. In thus speaking of the reclaiming of wet lands, I would by no means be understood as considering the beneficial effects of tile drainage as confined to them.
On the contrary, the testimony of the leading agriculturists of Great Britain, where the system has been most extensively practiced, is uniform as to its wonderful effect in increasing the productiveness of their clay lands.
That eminently successful English farmer, Mr. Mechi, in his recently published edition of “How to farm profitably,” remarking the difference in productiveness between drained and undrained clays, gives the following remarkable statement of his own experience. He says : “Let me illustrate this from actual facts. PRODUCE OF UNDRAINED CLAY.
PRODUCE OF DRAINED CLAY.
o Second year, oats producing 10 quarters, at 265..... "I quote this particular crop because I have watched it this year in comparison with my own, but we may carry out the comparison in almost all the others.” We are not without instances of extensive draining by leading farmers of this State, and with strikingly favorable results ; but with us it is exceptional, and not general, as in Great Britain, and I would urge upon our farmers the importance of giving the subject more consideration than it has yet received. I am convinced that in tile draining there is a mine of wealth, that if worked would add millions to the value of the agricultural productions of our State.
Through the years which have elapsed since the outbreak of this causeless and wicked rebellion, at times clouded by severe reverses, and again resplendent with glorious successes, the farmers of the country have held, with uninterrupted vigor and success, their onward way, and what they have done towards sustaining the Government in its great struggle, let a few figures, taken from the report of the department of agriculture, show.
During the year 1860, the total of agricultural exports, exclusive of cotton, was $90,849,556. In 1862, when civil war, in its most aggravated form, devastated the portions of the country in which it was waged, and by the death of fathers, sons, brothers, upon the field of battle, brought sorrow, and ofttimes desolation to many thousands of homes throughout our land; when the urgent wants of the Naval Department withdrew hundreds of vessels from our mercantile marine ; when piratical cruisers, fitted out in the ports of a so-called neutral country swept the face of the ocean, in 1862, notwithstanding all these discouragements and drawbacks, our exports had risen to $155,142,075, an increase of more than $64,000,000, and this was mainly in breadstuffs, the value of exports of which in 1860, was $26,989, 709, while in 1862, it was $84,340,653, and this besides furnishing the provisions of every description for our greatly increased navy, and our armies in the field; those armies consuming a much larger percentage of products than they would at home, laboring as producers, as well as consumers, on the farms from whence a large proportion are taken.
Previous to the outbreak of the rebellion, the products of the Southern States, mainly cotton, furnished the principal reliance for exchange, and it would have been thought that ruin, instant and almost irretrievable, must follow the stoppage of their exportation ; and yet the ports of the South were suddenly closed, and its products, so far at least as the Free States were concerned, withdrawn from the market, and though followed by a brief period of comparative stagnation, it was quickly recovered, and the tide of commercial prosperity now rolls on with as strong a flow as at any time in the history of the country. I think that there is not in the history of the world, another instance of such agricultural and commercial prosperity, under similar adverse circumstances, as has been exhibited in this country since the breaking out of the rebellion, and I would press home to the consideration of every interest in our land, whether financial, commercial, or mechanical, that the foundation upon which the prosperity of them all is based, is Agriculture !
I am sure that facts will sustain me in asserting, that so far as this State is concerned, its ability to maintain itself in the foremost rank, is largely due to the influence of this Society, brought to bear upon the people by its annual fairs, and by the publication, through its Journal and Transactions, of the practical beneficial results to farmers, by the use of labor saving implements, and the practice of improved systems of agriculture.
But to be enabled to gain the full benefit of the many experiments constantly being made to inerease the productiveness of the soil by improved culture, and to carry them forward to profitable results, there is need for thorough agricultural education, the facilities for the attainment of which do not at present exist in this State.
It is not necessary, nor indeed expedient for me here, to enter into any lengthy statement in regard to the effort to establish an Agricultural College, at the town of Ovid. Many of you are aware, that commencing under comparatively favorable circumstances, it was confidently anticipated that the College would soon become self-supporting ; but before there was time to develop its practical usefulness, this terrible war broke upon us, and its capable and zealous President,* yielding to the urgent call of the Governor of the State, resigned the charge of it to enter the service of the State, in a more arduous and responsible position, and has since been called to the service of the General Government, to which he is still patriotically devoting his time and talents.
Subsequently, from various causes arising out of the war, the number of students decreased, and the Board of Trustees, with feelings of profound regret, found it necessary to close the doors of the College. Before doing so, however, they went before the Legislature with a statement of its affairs, asking an appropriation of the small sum of $5,000 per annum, for the period of five years, and though more than this sum would be required, it was their intention, by the aid of the appropriation, to keep the Institution in operation and free of debt for that length of time. The appropriation was not made, and as a result, the College was closed, and probably must so remain until wiser counsels prevail in our Legislature.
The Congress of the United States, with a just appreciation of the vast importance of the agricultural interests of the country at large, granted
*General M. R. Patrick, Provost Marshal of the Potomao.