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now, and the farmers will look on, many with indifference and more with disgust.

I repeat, is it wise, under the existing circumstances, to encourage the establishment of any more societies in the State at the expense of the public treasury, when the same money might be more judiciously used in other directions ?

THE FARMING POPULATION AS A Basis. I have referred to the disproportion of representation on this Board, and to the unequal division of State bounty when taken by counties. It may be urged, however, that it is not right to base representation and division of bounty on the number of farmers, as the whole State is benefited. This is, no doubt, true. Yet it seems to me that there may be some fairer division than is now in vogue. If we took the whole population as a basis, or the property valuation of different counties, the larger part would fall to Suffolk County. This would not be right, as the present law contemplates a direct benefit to the farmers in each section, and indirectly to the whole State. Therefore, it seems to me that the only just basis of representation and division is by the number of farmers in each county.

THE PRESENT BOARD TOO LARGE. It is clear that, if some change is not made soon, this Board will shortly resemble a town meeting in size, and be as unwieldy. The Board of Agriculture of Michigan consists of eight members ; Illinois, twenty ; New Hampshire, ten; Connecticut, thirteen ; while the great State of Ohio, with 260,000 farmers and 247,000 farns, is doing good work with a Board numbering only ten members, elected by delegates from all the county societies meeting in convention at Columbus. Our Board is four times as large, while there are less than one-seventh as many farmers. No State in the Union has so large a board as Massachusetts.

Before we can hope to broaden and improve the work of this Board and the agricultural societies, I believe we shall find it necessary not only to reduce the membership of the Board, but also to rearrange the agricultural system of the State to some extent. With this end in view, I suggest the following plan for your consideration.


First. - Let the State be divided into nine districts, based upon its agricultural population, each district to have a representative on this Board, to hold his office for three years; except the first term, when three would fall out the first year and three more the second year, and after that the election would proceed in regular order; or we might take the Congressional districts, allowing one delegate from each district, as is the case in Illinois.

Second. - Let each agricultural society nominate a candidate for representative to the Board. In some districts there would be several candidates, or as many as there were societies, which would promote rivalry and interest.

Third. - Invite the farmers of each district to vote on the candidates nominated by the different societies, voting by postal card, the one receiving the highest number of votes to represent the district on the Board for three years. This plan would call for an election in three of the districts each year, all the districts voting the first year, and after that the order of voting to be determined by lot, or any other fair way.

Fourth. Have, if you please, three members as now, at large, appointed by the Governor, who can stand for the State or for Suffolk County.

Fifth. — Add to the Board, either by election of the Board itself, or appointment by the Governor, five specialists; namely, a chemist, a botanist and geologist, an entomologist and ornithologist, a veterinarian, and an engineer. These should be ex officio members of the Board, besides the Governor and president of the Agricultural College, as at present, and also the secretary, who should be elected by the Board. The Board would then be made up of sixteen or seventeen members, instead of forty-five, as at present. If this seems too small or too large, the districts in the State could be increased or reduced; but I would not reduce the number of specialists, if we would have the work of the Board of a high order.

Sixth. — Abolish the cattle commission as it now stands, and elect three members of this Board, who shall be known as the cattle commission committee, with the veterinarian as a member of the same. This is the Connecticut plan, and I understand that it works satisfactorily, being fully as efficient, and more economical.

Seventh. -- Dispense with the present Board of Control of the Massachusetts Experiment Station, and elect from this Board a committee known as the experiment committee, of which the president of the Agricultural College shall be chairman, and the chemist to the Board the director, as is the case at present.

This outline of a plan may seem to many radical and unwise; but I submit it as a basis, hoping that out of it may grow a scheme that shall be acceptable to this Bourd as well as to the State at large. The plan as I have outlined it is not entirely original with me, for there are precedents in other States for many features of it.


Let us discuss the plan for a moment in detail. The districts can be easily arranged, when we have determined the number of delegates we shall have; and I think no one will object to taking the number of farmers as the basis of representation.

As to voting by postal card, there are many advantages in that, as we shall see. According to the returns, there are about 30,000 members of the different societies, counting men, women and everybody, including the fakirs. What proportion are actually farmers no one knows, but it is safe to say that not over one-third, or 10,000 out of the 36,000 farmers in the State, are members of agricultural societies. Every one knows that the annual meetings of the societies are very poorly attended. Probably not over ten per cent of the farmers of the State actually vote for delegates to this Board. As the societies are now conducted, I dare say the vote is exercised very largely by men who are not farmers.

A man entitled to a vote by postal card, under this plan, should be one who gets his living by farming, or one who owns a farm which is tilled under his direction; and the town clerk in each town should be required to certify to a correct list of such men each year, and file it with the secretary of this Board, who should issue the postal cards, and to whom they should be returnable.

As to the expense of voting by postal card, that can probably be arranged at a cost of not over $300 a year. If the State can furnish ballot-boxes and ballots for each precinct every year, I do not think it would object to expending a reasonable sum for a proper ballot for representatives to this Board.

MUST REACH THE PRACTICAL FARMER. We must reach out and take hold of the practical farmer in some way, and make him feel that he is a part of the agricultural machinery of the State, and has a voice in its management, if we would encourage and stimulate him in his work. It may be said that, if he has not sufficient interest to join an agricultural society and attend its meetings, he is of so little account that the State should not specially recognize him. But section 10 of the law establishing this Board implies that it is created for educational purposes; and, that being the case, we should strive to help the very class for whom it was created, - the husbandman, whether he desires it or not.

I believe this method of voting by postal card is perfectly feasible, and would elicit the interest of all the farmers of the State, and a Board elected in this way would truly represent all their interests.

Then, what an advantage such a list of certified farmers would be to the secretary. He would be in constant touch with all the farmers of the State ; and if at any time it seemed necessary to issue a special bulletin, he could reach them all in twenty-four hours. As to the other features suggested, they no doubt will appeal to your good sense, because they are in the line of economy, and will not lessen the efficiency of the Board.


SOCIETIES? The holding of cattle shows is not the whole work of an agricultural society, although many people think so, and the State law even is based on that idea, for it does not allow the

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with higher types, and to encourage better breeding. From were exhibits of cattle and stock, to familiarize the people This, it seems to me, is wrong. The original cattle shows payment of bounty unless a fair was held the previous year.


The squares represent the incorporated agricultural soci-
eties to which a State bounty of $600 each is given annually,
if they conform to the requirements of the law and the regu-
lations of the Board of Agriculture. The round dots represent
the farmers' clubs and granges that held exhibitions in 1889
or in 1890.

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