Friday, December 19, 2014

W.H. Barton's Report on His First Year as County Agent, 1921

From the Rockingham Post-Dispatch, Dec. 22, 1921

Summary of Work Performed and Results Obtained During the Past Year by County Agent W.H. Barton…Good Record

The writer [W.H. Barton] arrived in Rockingham November 30, 1920, and began his work December 1st. The weather and prospects for cooperation of the farmers were alike damp and cold. This, however, was nothing new to an agent who had for 12 years, including the pioneer period of the old “Farm Demonstration Work” in the South, when the farmer often looked upon the county agent as an intruder, and often so expressed himself to the agent, “stuck to his bush” until fruit appeared.

As spring appeared and the weather began to warm up, many farmers did likewise. Some acknowledged their former opposition to the work, but as a whole, the agent was received as well as a businesslike set of farmers should accept new ideas—after being “shown.”


The following are some of the results of the agent’s activities, either alone or in cooperation with farmers and others:

Visits made, 1,496

Miles traveled, 7,808

Calls on agent for information, 1,045

Meetings held, 18

Attendance at meetings, 2,116

Letters written, 879

News article published, 101

Circular letters sent out, 250

Bulletins distributed on request, 375

Visits to schools relating to work, 24

Boy club members exhibiting at county fair, 21

Winnings made by these boys, 21

A Jersey Cattle Association was organized and three bull blocks established. Upward of 5,000 acres of velvet beans were planted, versus about 100 in 1920. The dairy herds of the county finished under tuberculin test and all herds were declared free of this dreaded disease.

142,500 feet of terraces run (a few for each man) and six terracing machines made and farmers taught to use them. 70 demonstrations planted to Hairy Vetch versus none last year, and 20 demonstrations in sweet clover planted. 151 orchard pruning demonstrations made, and scores of insect pests and plant diseases pointed out in orchard and garden and remedies prescribed.

Upward of 1,200 bales of cotton classed and stapled by securing the cooperation of a government grader. Approximately 50 per cent of the cotton of the county was signed up for cooperative marketing, and five weeks spent in a like organization work in Anson, Union, and Moore counties. Cooperated with the County Fair Association in making the fair “the best ever held in the county.”

Some of the above doubtless would have resulted without the activities of a county agent. Indeed, all might have, and they might not. Draw your own conclusions. Without cooperation, he could have done nothing, and without cooperation, he can do nothing in the future. Cooperation with nature first and then among ourselves is the only policy that will save agriculture, save business, save the general public, boll weevil or no boll weevil. We are on the threshold of a new age in which are dawning new ideas, new ideals, new customs, and new conditions. Will it be a better or a worse age? Much, we think, will depend upon the attitude of all toward cooperation in its broadest sense.

            --W.H. Barton

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