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Allow us to call attention to at least three different ways of feeding or sustaining the soil. The first is applying manure from stock grown or fed upon the farm; the second is plowing under green crops, and the third is purchasing and applying commercial fertilizers. The last is a direct outlay of money, therefore the cost can more readily be estimated, which is usually about three dollars per acre for each application. When clover is plowed under, the value of the crop thus sacrificed should be estimated at about two and a half or three dollars per acre, for this amount can be realized from a good average crop of clover for pasture and hay for sheep. If these sacrifices of crops to maintain the prodnctiveness of the soil can be avoided by keeping a goodly number of sheep, the value of their manure may be better understood. Allow us to quote the following from the late M. Thiers, the most eminent of French statesmen, in his discourse in the Legislative Assembly, in 1870. He said : “Upon four-fisths of the territory, where the soil is stony and only tino grasses abound, the fine sheep alone can convert this grass into flesh and mapure.
The agricultural industry of France can not dispense with sheep." There is abundant evidence showing the great value placed upon sheep in France, England, and other European countries, as fertilizers of the soil.
A comparison between the twelve counties of this state that have the largest number of sheep, and the twelve counties that have the smallest number, is herein given. In this comparison the counties having cities of more than thirty thousand population are not considered. The State of Ohio, in 1877, had 3,724,040 sheep. (See State Agricultaral Report.) Twelve counties—Licking, Harrison, Guernsey, Knox, Muskingum, Belmont, Columbiana, Carroll, Jefferson, Morrow, Coshocton, and Delaware—bad 1,511,680 sheep. The twelve counties having the smallest number of sheep embraced in this comparison-Panlding, Lawrence, Sciot), Pike, Adams, Butler, Darke, Preble, Miami, Clermont, Van Wert, and Jackson-had 93,159 sheep. The twelve counties first named had, in round numbers, 1,400,000 more sheep than the latter twelve. The first named counties plowed under for manure, in 1876, 752 acres of clover, and the last twelve counties plowed under 9,591 acres. This is evidence that in these counties where bat few sheep are kept, it becomes necessary to sacrifice yearly 8,839 acres of clover to feed the soil. The last named twelve counties grow a larger amount of corn an) hogs than the first twelve, but the first twelve counties produce more horses, cattle, butter, wheat, timothy hay, and clover hay, showing that where sheep are grown in considerable numbers, the land yields abundant in other productions. The importance of maintaining and improving the fertility of our soil is likely to receive more attention in the near future than it has in the past. The necessity for this is forcing itself upon us.
A portion of the farmers of Ohio continue to keep a class of sheep that only shear from three and a half to four pounds per þead, which return but a very small profit, if indeed any. There is a class of sheep grown in Ohio which give a larger profit than the flock to which we first called your attention in this article, but we will only briefly refer to it here. The pure American merino is of good size, and produces an abundant fleece. Allow us to present the record of one of this variety-Sue, 177. (For her pedigree, see U. S, Merino Sheep Register, page 135.) She was lambed in 1865, and has produced of unwashed wool 182 lbs., which has sold for an average of 30 cents per pound-amounting to $54.60-averaging 14 lbs. to the fleece. This ewe and her progeny, tracing through the female line, has produced in the aggregate 1,759 lbs. 8 oz., selling for $527.85. Her progeny, traced as stated above, now number twenty-seven. The full-grown ewes average in weight of carcass about 115 lbs. This ewe is living, and in lamb at the present time. Her and her progeny have yielded 112 fleeces of wool that have sold for an average of $4.80 per fleece.
And now, Mr. President and gentlemen, if this brief and hastily written paper may be the cause of drawing out some able discussions on this important branch of Ohio agrioulture by the members of this intelligent body, we shall have accomplished all we do sired in this attempt.
J. C. STEVENS then read the following paper on the same subject : In determining the kind of sheep for the broeder or wool-grower to keep, much doponds upon circumstances, climate, soil, status of agriculture and local demand for meat or wool. Of the six hundred millions of sheep of the world, England has thirtyfive millions, and not a Merivo kept by her, wbila nearly all of the improved sheep of continental Europe have descended from the several Spanish Merino families. Wby finewool sheep are kept in continental Europe to the exclusion of others, is a question worthy of pote. One reason is found in the fact that the peasantry and working men of the Continent live largely on bread and beer, eating very little meat, while they must have clothing. Another reason exists in the agricultural status, climate, and soil of these continental countries : more pasture, less roots and grains, and less intensivo . culture. While England, with a dense population to feed, and high-priced lands, her necessity for quickly-grown meat, and her unfavorable soil and climate for the growth of fine-wool sheep, has compelled her to grow mutton and long-wools, of which tho flesh-producing aptitudes is found in the highest degree, realizing from her thirty-five millions of sheep an annual product of the value of one hundred and fifty millions of dollars. On high-priced lands, with intensive culture, with but few in a flock, and on small farms, convenient to a good meat market, there is no sheep that will pay better to koop than the matton varieties ; likewise, there is a deficiency of English combingwools. Our consumption of these wools is eight millions of pounds, while we produce only about four millions of pounds; hence wo import from England and Canada tho other four millions. We therefore annually send abroad for these wools about two millions of dollars, which ought, and may be profitably produced at home, saying nothing about the value of goods, the products of tbese wools imported from England and elsewhere.
If we aspire to industrial independence, we must speedily put a stop to the importation of the prime necessaries of life, and grow those wools for the American manufaotarer. But the question for discussion is, Does fine sheep breeding pay in Ohio! In answer to this question, I will say that, if it does not, there is no system of sheep husbandry that will pay in Ohio. But I have no doubt the question is asked in view of its relative profits, compared with the growing of other sheep in this State at the present time. A trial of three-fourths of a century ought to have tested this question pretty thoronghly. In 1801 Seth Adams, of Zanesville, Ohio, imported a pair of Spanish Morino sheep from France into this State. What afterwards became of them we can learn but little. In 1793 Wm. Foster, of Boston, imported three sheep from Spain into that city, which were given to a friend, who killed them for mutton. In 1802 Col. Humphreys, our Minister to Spain, brought home with him ninety-one head. In 1803 a few were imported into Pbiladelphia ; and in 1809–10, Mr. Jarvis, the American congul at Madrid, brought home with him 3,850, and subsequently about 5,000 were imported by other parties, which has laid the foundation of our present flocks of fine wool sheep. In Ohio our soil, climate, and condition of agriculture is peculiarly adapted to this raco of ovine animals.
A nobler race never existed than the American Merino. They are to other sheep what Shorthorn cattle are to the other breeds in this country; possessed with the superior
power of transmitting their excellence in the highest degree to other breeds with which they are crossed. These sheep are large, symmetrical in form, having robust constitutions, and thoroughly covered with a dense, and valuable fleece, and no others yield a greater per cent of profits in dollars and cents than the American Merino. With a fleece weighing from eight to thirty-five pounds of wool, and carcass for mutton weighing from 125 to 150 pounds, quite as good as the best varieties of strictly mutton sheep, and when crossed with other breeds are surpassed by none, save only the Southdowns. Nearly three-fourths of the wool now being grown from these sheep, is long and fine enough for combing purposes, and fine enough for all card goods, except the finest broadclotlis and a few other very fine goods. Well were they worthy the first prize awarded them at the World's Exposition at Hamburg. These wools supply nine-tenths of all the card or clothing wools consumed in American mills. The American Merino grows a long, fine, dense fleece, with the outside surface so compact as to exclude the cold and storms, and when bred with care are a hardy sheep, well adapted to every variety of climate on the American continent, which you can say of no other race. More than three-fourths of all the wool consumed in this country is from the Merino and their crosses, and quite all the matton that is shipped to the cities is from the Merino or crosses of this breed. These sheep are annually shipped from Ohio and other States to Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and California, to cross upon their inferior breeds, and the result has been astonishing. Of the thirty-six millions of sheep in the United States, California has now over six and a half millions, and is now the first wool-growing State in the Union. While sheep and wool-growing bas decreased in the older States, it has increased beyond calculation in the Western States and Territories; and to-day Merino wool is for clothing what wheat is for food ; it is the chief naterial for cloth at the present time, entering into the coarsest as well as the finest. While the goftest, it is the strongest of all wool fibers ; from the number of its filaments which may be spun in a yarn of a given diameter; from its fulling and spinning qualities, or what is called its carrying power. It is the best adhesive for the cheaper fabrics, such as coarse wool, cotton, or shoddy—the mixture of Merino wool increasing indefinitely the material for cheap clothing.
Abundant Merino wool is the greatest boon the world has received from the animal kingdom, and the day is not distant when it will dethrone King Cotton in this country, and be king over all American producte. “The Golden Fleece" will soon be the flower and strength, the blood and revenue of this country. It will contributo more to the comfort, happiness, and wealth of our people and the nation than any other product of Mother Earth. The question is often asked why we do not grow more Saxony and Silesian wools, such as are in reqnest for the finest broadcloths. It is not because these sheep do not do well here, for there is no place on the globe better adapted to them than portions of Obio. The reason is found in the fact that wool-buyers do not pay enough to encourage the growth of these wools, compared to what they pay for other varieties, they are not as large and heavy shearing sheep as the American Merino.
It is admitted that these wools are indispensable for making the finest broadcloths, flannels, shawls, French Merinos, thibets, felts for pianos, jewelry work, and many other novelties. In conclusion, the question may be asked as to the future prospects of fine wool sheep breeding in Ohio. In reply I will say, that the business has its ups and downs like every other business. In 1868 we had seven and one-half millions of sheep in our State of all kinds, to-day only tbree million nine hundred thousand six hundred and four, which have mainly descended from the Spanish Merino families. While we have less sheep by one-half than we had in 1868, oar falling off in wool is less than one-third,
though we may never again keep as many sheep as was in Ohio in 1868, this industry being stimulated by the abnormal demand for wool to clothe the army in the late rebellion, yet as our population increases, the demand for these sheep and these wools will likewise increase. The western States and Territories will draw upon Ohio for stock sheep with which to improve their inferior animals, and none will do it more speedily than the Ohio fino wool flocks. Below I append the price of Ohio medium wools in Boston for fifty years, averaging about forty-two cents per pound, while to-day the so-called half-bred wools from a cross of the American Merino with Cotswools and Leicester sheep bring five cents more per pound than the wools from the pure Leicester and Cotswool sheep, these wools being in demand for worsted coatings and for certain classes of dress goods. The deficiency of superfine wools in this country is quite limited, and we have a partial deficiency of English combing wools. We grow no carpet wools; these are grown in barbarous countries, and all but the latter may be profitably grown in Ohio. The foreign demand for matton is rapidly on the increase. We shipped from Boston alone from January to July 1, 1878, 8,163 sheep, and in one year 272,000 sheep and lambs were slaughtered at Brighton. During the last week in October, 1878, there arrived at Liverpool from America 6,509 sheep, and 535 carcasses of mutton. I think I have shown that fine wool sheep breeding will pay in Ohio, not only for the improvement of other breede, but in profits in dollars and cents compared to other varieties, for in Ohio we must keep large flocks on our grazing lands for a number of years, and it is an admitted fact that no sheep do so well in large flocks as the fine wools. Finally, our aim should be, in the future as in the past, to increase the quantity and improve the quality of wool, and the flesh producing aptitudes of our cherished American Merinos, that we may challenge the world to produce a better ovine animal. Let it be said of our sheep as it has already been of our wool, “that none others surpass those of Ohio." We export no wool and ought not to import a single pound, and were we represented in Congress by the right kind of men, the day would not be distant when we would grow all the sheep and wool necessary for home consumption and have a surplus to export, thereby enriching our farms, adding wealth to our people, prosperity and independence to our country.
WHAT IS THE REQUISITE EDUCATION FOR FARMERS' SONS !
PAPER BY MAJOR J. M. MILLIKIN.
MR. PRESIDENT: I respond the more cheerfully to the invitation, to open the discussion upon the question of “what is the requisite education for farmer's sons ?” because of the intrinsic importance of the question itself, the diversity of opinions entertained, and the prevalence of some peculiar proceedings which I believe to be not only erroneous but mischievious, and well calculated to do infinite harm.
It is not to be disguised, that very radical and extremo opinions are entertained by some persons connected with agricultural education. They are not only held, but they are sometimes expressed with a confidence and a pertinacity that is indicative of an exceedingly illiberal if not intolerant spirit. And it so happens that the more dogmatic the opinions expressed upon this subject, as upon many other grave topics, are pronounced by those who are neither qualified by high attainments, rich experience, nor wide observation, to give an enlightened and trust-worthy opinion.
Without assuming to have any superior qualifications for arriving at a sound conclusion upon this question, yet, as I have for many years had very decided convictions in. relation to it, I will endeavor, with becoming frankness, to present them to the fair. minded intelligence of this Convention.
The kind of education requisite for farmer's sons, which we are invited to consider, I take it for granted, refers to a higher, to a collegiate education. The presentation of this question was surely not intended to invite a discussion upon the extent to which farmer's sons should avail themselves of the opportunities afforded for acquiring an education in our conntry common schools. That it is advisable for our sons, and our daughters too, so far as circumstances will permit, to obtain the best education possible at our common schools, I apprehend is not at this time a debateable question. Hence the conclusion is legitimate, that the question bas reference to collegiate education-such an advanced education as was strongly indicated by the Hon. Morrill, the conceded and distinguished author of the law of Congress for the endowment of colleges, passed July 2, 1862. At a meeting of the National Educational Association, held in Washington City in 1874, in response to a complimentary introduction to said association of experienced educators, he said: “But, Mr. President and Gentlemen, there is in this country an aspiration among the masses at the present time, to rise to something higher than can be attained at a common school. There is a spirit of discontent among laboriog mon, agriculturists and mechanics, all over our country, for some boon by which they may be able to rise higher as men.”
The pertinent question to be here and now considered is not, therefore, how far our sons may be permitted to pursue their studies in our common schools, but to wbat extent they should be afforded an opportunity, in the language of Judge Morrill, to gratify “their aspirations for something higher than can be attained at a common school," so that they may be able to rise higher as men among those engaged in other pursuits, callings, or professione.
The discussion of this subject invites, if it does not necessarily involve, a critical consideration of many important points which have arisen in the practical carrying out of the provisions of the law of Congress for the endowment of colleges. These institutions have been organized and put into operation in most of the States under as many dissimilar dames as there are shades of opinion entertained as to some of the requirements of said Congressional law. And yet while this difference of opinion is conceded to exist, and while some things have been done and others left undone, in open disregard not only of the obvious meaning, bu tthe very letter of the law of Congress, still a most remarkable uvanimity of opinion and of action has prevailed among the experienced—the practical and enlightened educators of the country. This harmony of opinion existed with such men, not only in reference to the true meaning and requirements of said law, but also as to the most efficient means of promoting the primary purposes of those who were most earnest and able in procuring its passage.
On the other band, a popular error seems to have taken deep root in the minds of an essentially different class of educators, not pre-eminently dissinguished for either great ability or ripe experience in expounding laws of any kind. They have assumed that Congressional legislation upon this subject was instituted, prosecuted, and consummated for the exclusive benefit of farmers and mechanics. They have unalterably determined in their own winds precisely what kind of colleges should be established, and with very great self-complacency they have arrived at the conclusion that Congress had wisely embodied their beau-ideal of a college in the Congressional law passed upon that subject. They seem to be entirely oblivious to the well-recognized fact that the character and the meaning of a legislative act are to be determined by the language employed by the enacting power. They do not seem to understand that neither our wishes, our prodilections, nor our judgments, be they wise or unwise, can in any degree add to or take from the true legitimate force of the words employed in a legislative enactment.