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Hampton Negro Conference. Number III. July 1899.

1899VA-State-Hampton_Proceedings (55).pdf

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54

grapple with life's responsibilities; and the average southern farm has little more to offer than about thirty-seven percent of a cotton crop selling at four and a half cents a pound and costing five or six to produce, together with the proverbial mule, primitive implements, and frequently a vast territory of barren and furrowed hillsides and wasted valleys. With this prospect staring them in the face, is it any wonder that the youth of our land seek some occupation other than that of farming?

Yet we have a perfect foundation for an ideal country; we have natural advantages of which we may feel justly proud. Our soils are by nature rich and responsive, and our climate is so varied that the most fastidious may be suited. With a little effort we can have green forage for our stock the entire year, and we can raise with ease all the vegetables of the temperate, and many of those of the tropic regions. In truth the colder sections of the country should depend even more largely than they do upon our farms for their supply of early vegetables and fruits. This ideal will be realized in proportion to the rapidity with which we convert our unskilled and non-productive labor into that which is skilled and productive. I see no logical reasons why, with proper education and proper economy, we cannot in time make more butter and raise more valuable stock. In our by-products of the cotton seed,and in our wealth of leguminous plants we have the cheapest and best food in the world for the production of the best quality of butter and cheese; as to beef, pork and mutton we could enter into the keenest and sharpest competition with other states.

There are certain things I should like to suggest. We should greatly increase, both in quantity and in quality, all of our farm animals; we should sacrifice the razor back hog, the long horned steer, and the scrub cow, which last animal requires the same food and care as a thoroughbred cow, and in return gives two or three quarts of two percent milk per day. We should also sacrifice a goodly number of the worthless puppies that are in evidence in two many dooryards, and put two or three sheep in their places.

It is pleasant to note that in many sections of our country agriculture in the primary grades is part of the compulsory curriculum. Nature study leaflets are being issued, and carefully planned courses of study are rapidly gaining place in many of our best colleges and academies, familiarizing the people with the commonest things about them, of which fully two-thirds are surprisingly ignorant. They know nothing about the mutual

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