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as institutions for research and to improve their operational efficiency. Energetic from the time of its organizational meeting in April 1906, ESCOP during the following 5 years conducted in annual stages a major appraisal of the station enterprise.

The panel of veteran directors, using a directness of approach that no Federal official could have attempted, conducted its review with a most serious purpose. Did the stations, ESCOP inquired, exhibit a comprehensive readiness to conduct the research stipulated by the Adams Act, expected by the project system, and urged by ESCOP itself? The tone of ESCOP's conclusion revealed that the new committee detected a need for substantial improvement. "It must be

“ said,” ESCOP reported after its preliminary survey in 1906, “that there are indications of a certain unreadiness for research of the true type. The difficulty is in a sense a fundamental one, but grows to a considerable extent out of a habit of mind. Many of our station workers see only the immediate duty of the station to the local farmers of today. They forget,” ESCOP declared with the firmness that would characterize its later evaluations submitted to the Association, "that the station has a duty to all phases of agriculture in a broad sense, in order that its labors may lead to much more permanent and widespread benefit" (13).


The Committee determinedly pressed ahead with its appraising function. In 1908 it defined the role of the stations in the 20th century; it announced a set of administrative principles which buttressed and elaborated the True standard; and it re-emphasized the continuing significance of the cardinal theme in the lengthening experience of the State stations, namely, the encouragement of the scientific initiative of the individual investigator. The Committee after careful deliberation concluded that the goal of continuous scientific productivity required the nationwide station establishment to observe faithfully the following tenets of administration (14, pp. 2, 3):

1. The station exists primarily for research in the interest of the public service. If, however, this research is to be made effective there must be administration as well as investigation.

2. The unit of work is the individual, and nothing should come between him and his research. That organization is best, therefore, which most accurately defines the field of each station worker, protects him in his investigations within that field, insures funds and equipment for the pursuit of research, and in the end secures results that are useful to the public that pays the bills.

3. ... [The] function (of administration) is correlation as between internal interests on the one hand and as between these and the external or public interests upon the other. In theory all administration means delay and some necessary interference with individual initiative. ... In the interests of [scientific] work, therefore, the less administration the better, if only the proper ends are attained, but workers must recognize the necessity of something like organization, which means administration.

4. The chief function of admnistration in respect to a piece of investigation may be enumerated as follows:

(a) To help to determine in advance whether the proposed research is profitable and altogether advisable from the standpoint of the public, whose representative for the time being the administrative officer must be.

(b) To assist in determining what lines of experimentation are calculated to throw profitable light upon the problem.

(c) To help to determine whether the work is best carried on by one individual representing a single line of inquiry, or by two or more working in conjunction,

(d) The experiment once decided upon, however, and funds provided, administration is over until results are due, when it begins again and does not cease till reports are published and circulated. The less administration

during the progress of the work the better for all interests. Thus the ESCOP appraisal of 1908 candidly and concisely considered a dilemmalike problem confronting all station personnel as the scale of operations deepened and widened in the post-Adams years. Scientific productivity in the public interest required, on the one hand, the stimulation of individual initiative and, therefore, the preservation of the greatest possible freedom of action for the individual researcher. The successful and efficient management of the stations required no less urgently, on the other hand, a more detailed structure of administration. How, then, to develop and maintain a well-disciplined institution which, not suffering from the ills of “too much administration," conducted consistently the kinds of research simultaneously fulfilling public needs and meeting the approval of the men of science? This never-ending problem with its manifold issues continued to preoccupy ESCOP in the following years and decades as successive panels of committeemen sought never-ending improvement.

The Committee in 1908 announced its formula for achieving the continuity of effort which underlay scientific productivity. Each station should provide "suitable facilities for work"; each should "retain experienced and well-trained men ... completely freed from all responsibility with routine classroom teaching”; each should concentrate on "a few lines of research”; each should adhere closely to thoroughly considered, definite, and well-planned projects" (14, pp. 7-10). A station which astutely observed these fundamentals could, in ESCOP's judgment, attain the "two ideals of administrative efficiency and sympathetic helpfulness without interference" (14, p. 3). The measure of success in maintaining this balance would, moreover, be evident at all times in the esprit de corps of the station staff.

This restatement of the practical ideals of the station movement demonstrated conclusively that ESCOP, representing influential sentiment in the States, concurred with the views of Dr. True, representing the Federal Government, concerning the subsequent course of station organization and policy. This fundamental agreement gave to the station establishment a vital cohesiveness; it assured the success of the project system; and it set substantial precedents for the harmonious collaboration which to the present, has characterized the close relationship between ESCOP and the Washington office.

The Committee on Organization and Policy in later years firmly exercised its established function of evaluating the effectiveness of the research process at the State institutions. The Committee in 1927 re-emphasized, for the benefit of a new generation of station men, the unchanging duty of each station to initiate new research, to plan it thoroughly, and to execute it efficiently and economically. The project leaders and the administrative officers shared the responsibility, ESCOP declared, to draft with the greatest care their new proposals for research and to ascertain that each project concentrated on a concrete phase of a problem looking to specific] conclusions. . .” In particular, ESCOP cautioned, the director and the research leaders at each station must guard against initiating projects so broad in scope that the investigators could not within reasonable time reach decisive findings. Not only must the research leader bear full responsibility for competent handřing of the project from beginning to end, but he must formulate, as a necessary step in securing approval of the station management, a statement "which pictures for administrative officers, other investigators, and co-workers the merits of the project, its objective, procedures, in proposed investigation as to technique and methods, the probable period of time and its reasonableness, and the funds required and their adequacy for the proposed work" (3)

This insistent reminder, prompted by the rapid broadening of station activity into the new areas of investigation authorized by the Purnell Act of 1925, reasserted the validity of the administrative standards fashioned from the earlier experience of the station movement. Continued success in scientific productivity required, in short, that the researchers and the administrators faithfully carry out the exacting fundamentals of the project system. The demonstrated merit of the project system, and ESCÓP's unflagging interest through the years in maintaining that approach to the conduct of research, have combined to keep the project system functioning vigorously to the present.

The perennial problem of maintaining and improving the stations' scientific productivity encountered a serious obstacle in the thirties, the decade of prolonged economic depression. Budgetary retrenchment threatened to inflict severe damage on the nonspectacular research effort, which operated at a disadvantage in the incessant competition with other types of tax-supported activity. The long-continued skimpiness of funds demonstrated conclusively that station men must establish procedures for presenting their financial needs directly to the appropriate Federal authorities. Accordingly, ESCOP sought the solution to this major difficulty. Opportunity appeared in 1940.

The Federal Bureau of the Budget, engaged in the late thirties in

broad program of revising its methods for handling the annual budget requests, assigned to its Agricultural Section the duty of study, ing the pattern of activity, supported at Federal expense, conducted under the auspices of the land-grant colleges and the Department of Agriculture. "The Bureau, aware of its own lack of contact with the institutions spending the Congressional appropriations, wished to send a panel of its agents to a typical station; there the visitors intended to gain a firsthand familiarity with that station's operational features and its use of Federal funds. Director Robert E. Buchanan of Iowa, the alert chairman of ESCOP, volunteered his station for the appraisal desired by the Bureau.


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“We went into much detail concerning the organization and significance of research projects,” Director Buchanan later recounted when he described the Ames conference. “The Bureau men were particularly interested in knowing how these projects originated. We pointed out that in many cases they came or were developed as a result of inquiries sent to our Extension Service concerning problems demanding immediate study. In other cases they involved careful

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studies in fundamental science. . . . We outlined, for example, our

. relationship with certain advisory committees from various agricultural groups." The outspoken responsiveness of the station men led the Bureau appraisers to explore other aspects of station work. “We discussed the problems that arose in the Station due to differences in wording of the several laws authorizing grants-in-aid, such as the Hatch Act, the Purnell Act, the Adams Act, etc.,” Dr. Buchanan explained. “We outlined the relationship of the . Station and its staff to the Experiment Station Section of the Land-Grant College Association and to the Office of Experiment Stations.” Reminding his visitors of a persistent theme in the station movement, Buchanan "stressed the need for much autonomy on the part of the Office of Experiment Stations." With a conviction reminiscent of W. H. Jordan's presentation to the House Committee in 1905, the Iowa director asserted, “We vigorously and I believe successfully combated the concept that Congressional Grants-in-aid made the State Stations arms of the Federal Government."

Dr. Buchanan then capitalized on the opening which the frank exchanges offered. “We discussed the techniques of requesting appropriations from the Congress and the techniques of appearance before Congressional Committees, etc. One of the important results of the conference," he concluded, "was a quite informal agreement that there was no reason why [ESCOP] should not, on occasion, have direct access to the men in the Bureau of the Budget (Agricultural Section) for discussion of some of their special problems.” 2 Thereupon ESCOP deftly exploited, under Buchanan's chairmanship, the opportunity afforded by the Ames conference. The Committee at the convention of 1940 requested, and the executive body of the Association granted to it, the authority "to present the point of view of the Stations to the Budget Bureau with reference to agricultural appropriations” and, when directed by the Executive Committee of the Association, “to make such appearances as may be necessary at hearings before the Senate and House" (4).

The difficulties of assuring sufficient financial support did not disappear despite the easing of the long-continued depression. The sharpening of the war crisis in 1941, followed by the years of crucial involvement in World War II, compelled a maximum of governmental expenditure on the defense effort and diverted Congressional attention from the necessity of maintaining, without diminution, the tax-supported program of agricultural research. The Congressional insistence on domestic budgetary cutbacks imperiled important programs at numerous stations. “Wholly without precedent in the history of the Stations," declared Director C. E. F. Guterman of Cornell in 1942, “the Congress in the past two years has failed to appropriate the final increment for research authorized by the Bankhead-Jones Act, and in addition," he observed with alarm, "attempts have been made to reduce the funds from the present level” (6). Thus the stringency of wartime conditions negated the benefits which ESCOP had hoped to gain by its policy-making in 1940.

Meanwhile the Budget Bureau, intent on simplifying fiscal procedures, urged in 1941 that ESCOP draft a bill consolidating the

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* Letter of Jan. 11, 1960, from Director Emeritus R. E. Buchanan, Iowa State University, to Director H. C. Knoblauch, State Experiment Stations Division, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.

several statutes that since 1887 had authorized the Federal grant payments to the station system. The Committee, equally as intent as the Budget Bureau in streamlining fiscal procedures, prepared such a measure. Nevertheless, ESCOP acutely sensed the dangers implicit in substituting an act of consolidation for the historic practice of separate grants. Would not a single, lump-sum appropriation invite a practice of Federal budget-cutting which, if followed in the post war years, would prove detrimental not only to the station enterprise but also to the public interest ? Would not a new bill, no matter how carefully drawn to preserve the values of the station system, run the additional risks of amendment and alteration during the course of its Congressional career? Might not such a measure, if changed by Congress for any reason, weaken the capacity of the station movement to accomplish the mission that station men had championed for nearly a century? These basic considerations prompted ESCOP in the early forties to disapprove the proposal for a consolidated act. ESCOP and the Station Section successfully urged the Association to defer action during the war years, and secured the Association's approval of the following recommendations (5):

(a) That an informal discussion or hearing with appropriate members of the Bureau of the Budget be requested, at which hearing there should be presented a clear picture of the approach of the Land-Grant Colleges in making as objective an analysis as possible of the proposal to consolidate the Federal Acts, and that there be a careful review of the advantages and disadvantages of such consolidation.

(b) That the Bureau of the Budget be informed that in the opinion of the Land-Grant College Association the disadvantages of consolidation sufficiently outweigh the advantages to make the consolidation even under the most favorable conditions inexpedient and inadvisable.

(c) That if the Bureau of the Budget concludes that, notwithstanding the objections on the part of the Land-Grant Colleges, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and that a Bill is to be introduced into Congress effectuating the consolidation, the Land-Grant College Association should assist actively in the preparation of a Bill retaining the essentials of appropriate legislation as these have been determined. Further, the Association should retain complete freedom of action, and oppose vigorously any amendment or change of the bill in any manner regarded as disadvantageous.

The question of consolidated legislation re-emerged in 1945. The Director of the Budget Bureau in July of that year requested that the Secretary of Agriculture support the proposal for consolidation. Nevertheless the Station Committee, unwilling to jeopardize station interests, reasserted in 1946 its policy of indefinite postponement. This position suspended for several years the movement for statutory codification.

Early in 1949, however, the Station Committee, having taken in the meantime the precaution of exploring Congressional

sentiment, considered at length the advantages of consolidation. ESCOP reviewed in detail the matter of budget justification for Section 9 as well as Section 10 and Title II of Research and Marketing Act funds. Under the existing administrative and budget arrangement, Section 9 funds for the State experiment stations were considered as a separate item by appropriations subcommittees, which required that justification be presented for all projects to be supported with these funds. This justification was in addition to that presented for funds under all the other Federal acts. Problems of separate justification again raised the question of the need for consolidation of funds to the State stations so that a single justification could be made. ESCOP knew,


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