Page images
PDF
EPUB

ment seeks to place in the hands of farmers such information as will enable them to estimate wisely the value of their crops and avoid deception and loss from speculative information spread abroad in the interest of buyers. Through the Bureau of Animal Industry it not only seeks to discover the causes and remedies of animal diseases, but also to maintain measures of control and prevention that will hinder the spread of contagion. Further, the diseases of plants are the subject of study of one division, and injurious insects receive the special attention of another. Also, the introduction of new and valuable economic plants has been a most important feature of Department work, and many improved varieties have resulted from its efforts.

Now, while it is manifestly impossible to express the results of all this work exactly in money returns, yet it is quite possible to do so in some cases, and in others to assure ourselves that they are too farreaching and too great to be easily made the subject of exact reckoning. For instance, no one can venture upon an accurate estimate of the money saved to the country by the suppression and utter eradication of contagious pleuro-pneumonia by the Bureau of Animal Indus-, try, nor of the value of the inspection of animals and meats by which European markets are kept open to these products; yet, as has already been stated, our actual saving, as the result of vessel inspection, is shown very closely by the reduction of the rate of insurance on export animals, which averages in the aggregate over $2,100,000 yearly. In like manner the money returns of the increased yield of sugar per ton of cane, secured through the Division of Chemistry, can be shown by actual calculation, but no one can estimate the value of the introduction of the beet-sugar industry and its gradual extension until the entire consumption of sugar in this country shall be met by a home supply. Still no one doubts, who knows anything about the subject, that any one of the services mentioned will return to the Government in actual money value many times over what the entire cost of the Department has been. Many instances have been supplied of carefully estimated savings effected by the remedies or prevention secured as a result of investigation by the Department both in the case of injurious insects and of plant diseases, but in the main the gains thus effected are quite beyond calculation.

Who, for instance, can estimate the value of the rescue from annihilation of the California orange industry through the introduction of the Australian parasite of the scale insect which was devastating the citrus orchards in that State? Equally beyond accurate estimate is the value of the introduction of the Bahia or navel orange by the former horticulturist of the Department, Mr. William Saunders.

Specific examples of money saved through the warnings of the Weather Bureau are numerous and easily established. In 1894 the

Weather Bureau, by its warnings, saved from the rocks, at the entrance of Chesapeake Bay, the ship Rappahannock, with a cargo worth over $600,000. Furthermore, it is estimated that in the fall of that year 2,305 vessels, valued at $36,283,913, but for the Weather Bureau warnings would have put to sea in approaching storms and heavy losses would have followed.

Frequently throughout the year minor savings, through the services of this Bureau, are reported from all sections of the country, aggregating a sum far in excess of its annual expenditures.

The discovery by the Division of Forestry of the real value of pinetree timber, after the trees had been boxed for turpentine, has been estimated by reliable authorities as worth not less than $2,000,000 to the Southern States.

Secretary Rusk's estimate.—Instances of the money value of services actually rendered by the Department might be enumerated indefinitely. Ample and sufficient grounds exist for the confidence that the new work undertaken from year to year will result in valuable returns in the future similar to those instanced. One-tenth has not been told, but enough has been said, without touching at all on the work of many of the divisions of the Department, to justify to the most skeptical the statement of a former Secretary, the Hon. J. M. Rusk, who, in his annual report for 1891, said:

In concluding the review of the work done under the several divisions of this Department since the date of my last annual report, it gives me pleasure to state, and I say this advisedly, that each one of more than a dozen divisions whose work I have reviewed has returned in actual value to the country during the past year far more than the entire annual appropriation accorded to this Department.

BUREAUS, DIVISIONS, AND OFFICES.

OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY. The Office of the Secretary includes the Assistant Secretary, the Chief Clerk, the Solicitor, the Appointment Clerk, and the Chief of the Supply Division.

The Secretary is charged with the supervision of all public business relating to the agricultural industry. He makes such regulations for interstate traffic in live stock as may be necessary to prevent transmission of contagious diseases, and has charge of all interstate quarantine. He directs the admission or exclusion of live animals from foreign countries, and has charge of quarantine stations for importing cattle. He conducts the inspection and regulates the conditions of shipment of live stock and of meat products in interstate trade and for export. He is also charged with the execution of the pure food law. He exercises advisory supervision over the agricultural experiment stations deriving support from the National Treasury.

The Assistant Secretary performs such duties as may be required by law or prescribed by the Secretary. He also becomes Acting Secretary of Agriculture in the absence of the Secretary.

The Chief Clerk has the general supervision of clerks and employees; is charged with the enforcement of Department regulations, and is superintendent of the buildings.

The Solicitor is the legal adviser of the Secretary, and is charged with the preparation of all legal papers and the supervision of all legal business of the Department.

The Appointment Clerk prepares all papers involved in making appointments, transfers, etc., decides civil-service questions, has charge of correspondence with the Civil Service Commission, and keeps the personal records.

The Supply Division has charge of purchases of supplies and materials paid for from the general funds of the Department.

: WEATHER BUREAU. The Weather Bureau had its origin in the collection and publication of meteorological data by the Smithsonian Institution and several Departments, beginning early in the nineteenth century. The recommendation by Commissioner Newton that daily weather reports by telegraph, under the direction of the Government, be distributed to the country was made in 1864; and this service was authorized by an act

47

5365—No. 3—07—-4

of Congress of February 4, 1870, and was conducted by the Chief Signal Officer of the Army for twenty years. By the act a of October 1, 1890, the Weather Bureau as such was officially recognized, and was transferred to the Department of Agriculture, the general details of its organization being defined in that act. On July 1, 1891, the actual transfer took place.

The Bureau now has 164 fully equipped meteorological stations for weather observation, many of which issue local forecasts, 308 stations specially equipped for the display of danger warnings to mariners, 286 stations for the taking of telegraphic reports of temperature and rainfall in the growing fields, 423 river gaging stations, 107 special river rainfall stations, and over 3,600 stations where voluntary observers make records of temperature and rainfall with standard instruments. Mark W. Harrington was the first chief, and was succeeded on July 1, 1895, by Willis L. Moore, the present chief.

BUREAU OF ANIMAL INDUSTRY. The Bureau of Animal Industry had its origin in investigations of diseases of domestic animals. The first appropriation for this purpose, $10,000, was made in 1878, and the Bureau was established in 1884. Dr. D. E. Salmon, whose vigorous policy of killing all suspected animals led to the suppression of pleuro-pneumonia, was made chief. He held the position till 1905, when he was succeeded by Dr. A. D. Melvin, the present head of the Bureau.

This Bureau now comprises separate branches of work as follows: Inspection, Quarantine, Pathology, Biochemic, Dairy, Zoology, Experiment Station, Editorial, and Animal Husbandry. It makes investigations as to the existence of dangerous communicable diseases of live stock, superintends the measures for their control and extirpation, makes original investigations as to the nature and prevention of such diseases, and reports on the condition and the means of improving the animal industries of the country. It also has charge of the inspection of import and export animals, of the inspection of vessels for the transportation of export cattle, and of the quarantine stations for imported neat cattle, supervises the interstate movement of cattle, and inspects live stock and their products when offered for food consumption; has supervision of manufacture, interstate commerce, and export of renovated butter.

BUREAU OF PLANT INDUSTRY. The Bureau of Plant Industry was formed in 1901 by the Secretary, who brought the work of the Divisions of Agrostology, Botany, Gardens and Grounds, Pomology, and Vegetable Physiology and Pathology under one control, with B. T. Galloway in charge. This step was partly due to the death, in the fall of the previous year, of William Saunders, whose work as horticulturist was at once turned over to Professor Galloway.

a See page 61 for text.

A brief notice of the branches thus consolidated is proper in this place. The Division of Gardens and Grounds originated in the propagating garden, which was started in 1858 while the whole agricultural service of the Government was a section of the Patent Office, in the Department of the Interior. Mr. Saunders, just mentioned, was put in charge in July, 1864, and conducted the work, including the care of the Department grounds and the propagation and distribution of rare and useful plants, till his death, a period of over thirtyeight years. The Division of Botany was established in March, 1869, with C. C. Parry as chief, who was succeeded by Dr. George Vasey. Frederick V. Coville, who continues in charge of the work as a branch of the Bureau of Plant Industry, was appointed chief on March 9, 1893. This Division maintained the United States National Herbarium until July, 1896, when it was turned over to the Smithsonian Institution, still remaining, however, in charge of the Department Botanist. The Division of Pomology was established in 1886 with H. E. Van Deman as chief, who was succeeded by S. B. Heiges. After Mr. Heiges's resignation in 1897, Mr. W. A. Taylor was in charge till the appointment of G. B. Brackett, on August 1, 1897. He still conducts the work as a branch of the Bureau of Plant Industry. The Division of Vegetable Physiology and Pathology originated in 1886 as the section of mycology, in the Division of Botany, in charge of F. Lamson-Scribner, changed in name the next year to the section of vegetable pathology. In 1891 it became a separate division with B. T. Galloway as chief from November 1, 1888, till his appointment as Chief of the Bureau of Plant Industry, when the work passed to the hands of his assistant, A. F. Woods, who is still in charge. The Division of Agrostology was established July 1, 1895, with F. LamsonScribner as chief and continued under his control as part of the Bureau until 1901, when he was succeeded by W. J. Spillman, who continues in charge under the title of Agriculturist in charge of Farm Management Investigations.

The establishment of the Bureau by the Secretary was confirmed by Congress in the agricultural appropriations bill of 1901, and Doctor Galloway has continued in charge as chief till the present time.

The Bureau of Plant Industry studies plant life in all its relations to agriculture. Its work is classified under the general subjects of Pathological Investigations, Physiological Investigations, Taxonomic Investigations, Agronomic Investigations, Horticultural Investigations, and Seed and Plant Introduction Investigations.

« PreviousContinue »