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Subordinate Granges Con'ded.
J. W. Howland, Dartmouth.
J. W. Gifford, South Westport.
M. W. Ide, Dudley.
R. J. Nelligan, Ware.
J. F. Brown, Rowe.
Mrs. H. F. Piper, Ashby.
Annie G. Laflin, Brookfield.
0. G. Hutchins, Orange.
G. S. Ladd, Sturbridge.
C. C. Keep, Monson.
J. T. Lovejoy, Ballardvale.
Geo. H. Hastings, Fitchburg.
A. B. Anderson, Scituate.
C. A. Priest, Littleton.
Laura E. Brightman, Dartmouth.
Anna M. Wrisley, Orange.
FARMERS' LEAGUE OF MASSACHUSETTS.
Geo. M. Whitaker, Boston, Secretary.
F. A. Putnam, Dudley, President,
J. C. Poor, North Andover, Treasurer.
THE STATE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE.
From Bulletin No. 5, Crop Report for September, 1890.
The State Board of Agriculture was established by an Act of the Legislature in 1852, and the first meeting was held at the Council Chamber, Boston, July 22 of the same year, being presided over by His Excellency George S. Boutwell.
The first movement on the part of Massachusetts in modern agricultural progress was the appointment of Henry Colman as State commissioner, in 1836, for the agricultural survey of the State ; and he prepared three excellent volumes on the agriculture of Massachusetts, counties of Essex, Berkshire, Franklin and Middlesex, and one volume on wheat and silk. However, this work was regarded by the Legislature of so little importance that it was suspended in the year 1840.
In 1850 the Legislature created a board of commissioners to report at the next session upon the expediency of establishing agricultural schools or colleges. This commission consisted of Marshall P. Wilder, Edward Hitchcock, Samuel A. Eliot, Thomas E. Payson and Eli Warren, and their report was made to the Legislature at its session in 1851. In this report it was recommended that a State department of agriculture be established, to consist of one member from, and to be elected by, each of the incorporated agricultural societies receiving the bounty of the State.
The preliminary efforts for the establishment of the State Board of Agriculture emanated from a meeting of the trustees of the Norfolk Agricultural Society, held Jan. 28, 1851. It was there voted that “ the president and secretaries be a committee to mature and adopt a plan for a convention of delegates from the various agricultural societies of the Commonwealth, to be holden at some convenient time and place,
the object of which shall be to concert measures for their mutual advantage, and for the promotion of the cause of agricultural education.”
This convention assembled at the State House, in Boston, March 20, 1851. The attendance was large, and the session lasted for several days.
As a result, the joint committee on agriculture of the Legislature reported a bill for the creation of a board of agriculture ; but the further consideration of the subject, after much debate, was referred to the next Legislature.
This being a new measure, its possible failure was apprehended, and it was deemed expedient to establish a Central Board of Agriculture, whose duties should be substantially those which were proposed for a State department; and at the above-mentioned convention this was done.
Its board of officers were Marshall P. Wilder, president; Henry W. Cushman and John W. Lincoln, vice-presidents ; Allen W. Dodge, corresponding secretary ; Edgar Whitaker, recording secretary; with three delegates from each incorporated society receiving the bounty of the Commonwealth.
At a meeting of this Board, Jan. 14, 1852, it was resolved to petition the Legislature in the following resolution :
Resolved, That, inasmuch as agriculture is the chief occupation of her citizens, the Commonwealth, in the organization of its government should be provided with a department of agriculture, with oflices commensurate with the importance of the duties to be discharged and the labors to be performed.
These various efforts finally culminated in the establishment of the present State Department of Agriculture, which succeeded the existing voluntary Central Board.
The act was passed in 1852, and, at a meeting of the newly created Board of Agriculture, Aug. 5, 1852, Rev. Dr. Edward Hitchcock, president of Amherst College, was unanimously elected secretary; but his duties in connection with the college, and declining health, compelled him to decline the appointment, and Jan. 25, 1853, Charles L. Flint, a young lawyer just established in business in New York, was elected, and continued to hold the position until his resignation was accepted, Aug. 25, 1880. On that day John E. Russell of Leicester was elected to succeed Mr. Flint, and at this meeting it was voted that the secretary of the Board be elected annually at the meeting in February, the term of service to be for one year, beginning with the first of July following the election. Mr. Russell continued in office until his resignation in 1887. F. H. Appleton of Peabody was elected to succeed him; but he withdrew his acceptance of the office before entering upon its duties, and on August 23 of the same year the present incumbent, William R. Sessions of Hampden, was elected.
The Board of Agriculture, at the present time, consists of the governor, lieutenant-governor, secretary of the Commonwealth, the president of the agricultural college, one person appointed from and by each agricultural society which receives an annual bounty from the Commonwealth, and three other persons appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the council.
The first four are ex officio members ; the latter serve for terms of three years each. At the present time there are forty-one members, which number will be increased to fortyfive at the annual meeting in February next. The Board is required to meet at the State House, or at the Agricultural College, at least once in each year, and as much oftener as may he deemed expedient; and no member can receive compensation from the Commonwealth except for personal expenses when engaged in the duties of the Board, and to meet these expenses the sum of $1,900 was appropriated
The Board may appoint and prescribe the duties of a secretary, who receives a salary of $2,500 a year; and who, at such times as the Board shall approve, may employ a clerk at a salary of $1,200 a year, and may expend for other clerical services in his office, and for lectures to be given before the Board at its annual or other meetings, a sum not exceeding $800. The secretary is also allowed $500 for traveling and necessary expenses while engaged in the performance of his duties. The Board are also overseers of the Massachusetts Agricultural College, with powers and duties defined and fixed by the governor and council; are empowered to investigate such subjects relating to improvement in agriculture in this Commonwealth as they may think proper,
, and may take, hold in trust, and exercise control over donations or bequests made to them for promoting agricultural education or the general interests of husbandry; may fix the days on which the different agricultural societies shall commence their exhibitions, and may prescribe forms for and regulate the returns required of said societies, and shall furnish to the secretary of each society such blanks as they may deem necessary to secure uniform and reliable statistics; shall annually, by their chairman or secretary, submit to the general court a detailed report of their doings, with such recommendations and suggestions as the interests of agriculture may require.
The Board of Agriculture also acts as a board of forestry ; has two of its members on the board of control of the State Experiment Station ; determines the amount of bounty to which a society is entitled for any year, and may prescribe rules and regulations to societies for uniform modes of ascertaining the product of crops entered for premium.
It is the duty of the secretary of the Board in each year to cause to be made and published for distribution as full an abstract of the returns of the agricultural societies as he may deem useful; and he may also appoint one or more suitable agents to visit, under the direction of the Board, the towns of the Commonwealth, for the purpose of inquiring into the methods and wants of practical husbandry ; of ascertaining the adaptation of agricultural products to soil, climate and markets; of encouraging the establishment of farmers' clubs, agricultural libraries and reading-rooms; and of disseminating useful information in agriculture by means of lectures or otherwise ; and for this latter purpose the sum of $1,400 was appropriated this year.
By the regulations of the Board, an annual business meeting is held at the office of the secretary in Boston, commencing on the Tuesday preceding the first Wednesday in February, and continuing through the following Wednesday, on which day the new members may take their seats, and the meeting be prolonged as business may require. At this meeting an executive committee, consisting of five members, is chosen,