Thursday, May 31, 2012

In Bladen County, Community Leaders Teach Their Neighbors, 1945

By F.H. Jeter, Extension Editor, N.C. State College, Raleigh, as published in the Wilmington Star on May 28, 1945

In most counties, a splendid organization of neighborhood leaders has been perfected. These are men and women who have been selected by their neighbors to carry on the educational work affecting local people. Through their county home and farm agents, they get educational material pertaining to important farm movements, and pass this on to the people of the neighborhood. In return the people tell their leaders of their needs and this is sent back up the line until it reaches the agricultural authorities of the state and nation. It’s a very good arrangement and it works.

It works especially well in Bladen County where Mrs. Lillie L. Hester has been home agent for so many years that she could well be called a veteran. She and the farm agent, R.B. Harper, are doing excellent work. Mrs. Hester says that one reason why the work in the rural home has been so outstanding is because she has the aid of the women neighborhood leaders in addition to the fine leadership supplied by her home demonstration clubs. She also has an able assistant, Jean Craven, daughter of a former farm agent and one of the pioneers in Extension.

Mrs. Hester says that the neighborhood leaders cut across the home demonstration clubs and reach people both in and out of the clubs. They attend to the affairs of their local groups and try to carry to them all the good things that they know about.

For instance, out in Bladenboro, Route 2, is Mrs. Luther Bryan, who lives in a small community of 30 families. There is no home demonstration club out there, but last year Mrs. Bryan made four different visits to all of the families to share information on food production, fat salvage, gardens and other matters. Mrs. Bryan found time to do this although there are two small children in the family and she naturally helps her husband in handling their 20 acres of cultivated land. She has taught the use of the pressure canner in the neighborhood in addition to canning 360 quarts for feeding her own family. The Bryans live in a modest brick home with a well-sodded grass lawn beautified with shrubs. To one side is the garden and flowerbeds, and to the rear are the poultry yards and the service area, including the barns and outhouses.

Over in another neighborhood, a few miles away on the same rural route, are the June Singletarys, man and wife, both neighborhood leaders and outstanding in their contributions. They also have two children, and they cultivate 120 acres of land, grow some 800 to 1,000 Hampshire Red chickens, own seven brood sows, plant grain and tobacco, and produce corn on 50 acres for feed. The Singletarys have a beautiful old country home surrounded by boxwoods which look as if they were set shortly after North Carolina was first settled. To one side is a lovely lake surrounded by giant oaks from which hang the long tendrils of Spanish moss. These two people are noted for their neighborhood efforts with better varieties of crops, poultry growing, gardening, canning, and rural electrification.

The same is true of Mrs. T.A. Butler of near Bladenboro and Mrs. Warren Gooden of Clarkton. Mrs. Gooden has done remarkable work in teaching better gardening and canning. Last year, she personally canned over 700 quarts of food for winter, including 40 quarts of fresh meat. She sells between 1,000 and 1,200 broilers each year and gives away plants and cuttings of all kinds.

Mrs. Hobson Sanderlin of Council is another of the noted and charming Bladen leaders. There are four neighborhoods in the Carvers Creek community, each with four leaders, and these have united into an organization of which Mrs. Sanderlin is secretary and C.L. Braddy is president. The people meet together at the nearby grammar school for canning lessons, for demonstrations in renovating old furniture, for studying shrubs and flowers, for garden work, and for holding suppers or engaging in any other activity which seeks to promote the welfare of the community.

Mrs. Sanderlin wrote an Easter pageant calling for a cast of some 100 people and this has been so popular that it has been presented now for six years. Even the Negro people of the community help with the pageant by supplying a well-trained choir of 50 voices. There is no one building in the community large enough to hold the crowd, and only the first comers can find seats.

Mrs. Fatima Andrews is another leader living in the Kelly neighborhood, and has been very effective in teaching her people how to can fish and fruit for winter food.

The whole idea moves along over the county in wonderful harmony. Mrs. Hester says, “I wouldn’t even try to be a home agent in this large county were it not for these splendid women who help me every day. They make the job easy.”

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Anson County Farmers Raising Turkeys, 1945

By F.H. Jeter, Extension Editor, N.C. State College, Raleigh, as published in the Wilmington Star, May 21, 1945

Thirty-five thousand farm poults ranging in age from 2 to 9 weeks are developing in the various brood shelters of Anson County to provide a succulent dish for many a North Carolina home come Thanksgiving and Christmas. The poults are scattered mostly among 30 growers in the White Store section, where turkey growing was started and encouraged years ago by Farm Agent Jimmy Cameron and Home Agent Mrs. Rosalind Redfearn.

Some of the poults are in ramshackle buildings covered with tar paper or in cheaply constructed houses made largely of slabs from nearby sawmills. But these are not the rule. At the other end of the scale is the elaborate brick broiler house owned by J. Leonard Tice of Marshville, Route 1, or the cinder block house owned by his kinsman, H.D. Tice.

It is a treat to visit these turkey growers in company with Jimmy Cameron and see what great hopes and fears are encompassed within the bodies of the delicate and foolish little birds.

Jimmy, let it be known here, is a successful turkey grower in his own right. He grows out about 1,000 of the birds each season on his own dairy farm near Polkton on Brown Creek. About all he has to do with them is to know that they are there when he leaves at early dawn or returns after dark. The real work is done by is energetic son, who not only plays godfather to the 1,000 turkeys but also to some 5,000 broilers and baby chicks and a herd of 40 fine Jersey heifers. Labor being what it is, young “Judge” Cameron never manages to find an idle minute except in the middle hours of the night and at odd times Sundays. Lately when there was some questions as to whether he would be more useful on this farm or in his army—the army folks told him quite candidly that he would have a much easier time in the ranks.

But County Agent Cameron does know this dairy and poultry game from the practical standpoint, and when he goes out to visit among the turkey growers, he talks as one of them.

Near Peachland, J.T. Caudle has 2,800 of the little broadbreasted bronze poults now 9 weeks of age and just ready for the range. Mr. Caudle says he would have moved them to the open ground some days ago except that it had been rainy and cold through that section for about four or five weeks. His five well-constructed brooder houses are equipped with the ever-present, wire-floored sun porch and there are about 450 birds to each house.

“My turkeys are engaged now,” he said, “but don’t think it is all velvet when the time comes to sell them. These little one here are costing me right at $40 a day for feed alone.”

Mr. Caudle has 166 acres in his farm and is growing 55 acres in grain to provide feed for the voracious appetites for his birds. Last year, he and his father and brother sold about $25,000 worth of turkeys.

Then there is young L. Huntley Jr., also of near Peachland, who has between 1,900 and 2,000 birds. Last year he sold 1,006 finished turkeys and bought the 103 acres of land on which he and Mrs. Hundley have set up their lovely little farmstead. Mr. Huntley has a killing and dressing plant ready for the next marketing season.

His sister Mattie Lou Huntley, lives on the home farm some miles away and there she and her older sister, Pauline, are raising about 1,000 birds. Miss Huntley said they sold $4,700 worth last year and saved some of the best for a breeding flock. Right now she sells eggs from which she clears about $50 a week. All of the poults on the Huntley farm were hatched from eggs produced on the farm.

The first brooding work done in this section was by Mrs. W.D. Gulledge who had a flock of 75 breeding birds about 15 years ago. She was convinced at the time that the turkey “business” would soon by overdone because so many wanted to keep a turkey hen or two.

Since that time, H.P. Tice has been keeping a breeding flock of 500 birds and last winter he built a nice cinder block laying house for the pens. This house, 100 feet long and 30 feet wide, is lighted, has roosting and nesting places. Mr. Tice planted a grazing crop in front of the house and kept his lights on all night long. He says that last January alone, he sold enough eggs to pay the total cost of the house.

It should be kept in mind that the eggs sell for about 50 cents down to 30 cents, each depending on the breed and the season. Right now, with the demand for poults at about a standstill, the eggs sell for 20 cents, wholesale.

Mr. Cameron says that some of the more progressive Negro farmers in Anson County have caught the fever and are growing turkeys. Martin Chambers has grown out 1,000 birds in a very economical way and has now turned them on range. He has been offered $2,000 for his birds as they stand but he says that he will get twice that this fall.

The whole turkey raising business in Anson County is built on quality. The growers have been buying new breeding toms from the State College poultry department each season and they have learned about good feeding, sanitation and a full finish. The poults are kept warm and comfortable until they are ready for the range and then they are moved out where there is fresh ground and plenty of grazing. They need constant attention even when on range. The growers plant Biloxi soybeans for the summer grazing and say the birds move down through a field of the beans like a horde of destroyers consuming the beans as they go. When they have finished a field, the beans first grazed are ready for them again and over they go for the second time. Along with the turkeys has come less cotton, more feed crops, and a more fertile land. The whole idea has resulted in more food for hungry consumers.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Preparing for War, 1940-1942

From Knowledge Is Power, a history of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, N.C. State University, written Dr. William L. Carpenter, head of the Department of Agricultural Sciences, and Dr. Dean W. Colvard, Dean of the School of Agriculure. The rest of this chapter is online at

Wartime activities started considerably ahead of the Japanese invasion of United States territory in December, 1941. In the United States a military draft went into effect in October, 1940. Young men were called up for a one-year period of military service. "I'll be back in a year little darling," was a popular song that fall.

Special Programs

"Farm Folk of North Carolina," stated the extension annual report, "answered the rumblings of war in 1940 with a preparedness program which included: Livestock expansion to counteract loss of world markets for other commodities; cooperation in agricultural adjustment; conservation and planning programs; canning for home security; and mattress-making for comfort and for physical and mental strength."

In 1941 agents in eight southeastern counties near Fort Bragg became involved in army maneuvers. Their assignment was to contact farmers, explain the situation, and help secure maneuver rights on their farms. Some 18,217 landowners granted rights on 2,556,000 acres of land. That fall 400,000 troops trained across the fields and among the longleaf pines.

To conduct a program of "Citizenship Training for Democracy" was another assignment handed to the extension service in 1941. This assignment was carried out through 952 discussion groups; at 570 patriotic programs, pageants, and ceremonies; and at 8,927 meetings of farmers, home demonstration and 4-H clubs, local leaders, and discussion groups.

In April, 1941, came word on a state food and feed production drive, with extension assigned a key role. It was called the "Food and Feed for Family Living" campaign.

Despite previous efforts to encourage food production, the 1940 Census of Population revealed that of the 278,000 farms in the state, 31,000 had no garden, 86,000 were without hogs, 33,000 were without a chicken of any kind, and no cows were being milked on 98,000 farms.

In October came a national campaign, with the announcement that an old campaigner, dressed in a natty new outfit, was making his rounds of every North Carolina farm home.

Often turned away, when he was known as "Live-at-Home," his rejuvenated appearance together with more power and political and economic crisis at hand, will gain him entrance into practically every home.
Now labeled "Food-for-Freedom," a campaign has been launched which will enlist the aid of farm families the country over in meeting the increasing needs of both people of the United States and Great Britain.l

The government was asking for increased production of milk, eggs, beef and veal, lamb and mutton, corn, oats, barley, rye, hay, soybeans, peanuts for oil, and vegetables. State and county goals were established and "Extension agents led AAA committeemen in a house-to-house canvass of every farm, and the result was that every goal, with the exception of that for peanut-production-for-oil, was overpledged."

The nation's farmers were called on to produce the greatest amount of food, feed, fibers, and other vital farm materials ever taken from the land. They were called on to feed the nation and, to some extent, the people of its allies.

"As the nation slips rapidly into high gear in its all-out production effort, a clear plan is slowly coming to the front for farm people's part in the war," declared the editor of Extension Farm-News in January, 1942. "Food, fats, feed, and fiber" were the extension goals for 1942. The weather was good and acreage and yields were up. All livestock showed an increase over the year before, with milk production 21 percent greater than in 1941.

Director I.O. Schaub designated February 9 to 14, 1942, as "Victory Garden Week" in North Carolina. Throughout the war, gardens sprang up on fa!ms, along roadsides, on vacant city lots, and in front yards. For 1944 the value of home gardens in the state was estimated at $68 million.

A drive to collect iron and steel scrap came along just after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and was renewed several times during the war. By the end of the war, extension-led scrap drives had contributed millions of pounds of scrap metal, rubber, paper, and fats and grease to the war effort.

In 1943 the extension service was assigned operation of the farm labor program. Fred Sloan, promoted from district agent to state program leader in 1941, headed up this activity. It consisted of urging farmers to cooperate with each other and share their labor and machinery, recruiting migrants, and putting prisoners of war to work on the farms. In 1943,1,500 Italian prisoners harvested peanuts on 541 farms in eight North Carolina counties.

To make the labor more efficient, farmers were urged to keep their machinery in good repair, and special machinery dinics were held.

At a five-state regional conference on May 8, 1942, in Asheville, extension was given the assignment of acquainting rural people with President Roosevelt's seven-point program to control the cost of living, to be completed by June 7.

Extension's job will be to see that every rural citizen fully understands the philosophy of the program and the dangers of inflation. We will be expected to explain to farm people the situation with respect to rising prices; how the control of living costs affects them personally and limits the cost of the war; and the ways that the cost of living may be stabilized through bond-buying, taxes, price regulation, rationing, and by other measures.2

District conferences of county farm and home agents were held between May 13 and 22. The next two weeks were allotted for the completion of the educational setup in the counties and neighborhoods.

A new concept -- neighborhood leaders -- was put to use.3 Development of the concept started in September, 1941. By the end of the war, a total of 55,000 volunteer leaders had served in the state. The idea was to have one leader for every 10 farm families, or a leader within walking distance of every farm in the state. Two percent of the leaders were appointed, 55 percent were selected by farm people at county and community meetings, and 43 percent were actually elected. They were credited with leadership in the scrap metal, garden, farm machinery repair, and 4-H enrollment campaigns.

The experiment station also went "all out" in an effort to find the facts and design the specifications that would make the maximum contribution to food production in the war effort. Ninety percent of the projects were revised to answer some wartime problem. L.D. Baver, station director from 1941 to 1947 (Chapter 12), likened the farmer to the soldier and the experiment station to the designers of guns and other weapons of war. "The job of farming in war time, like the job of war itself, consists in making the most effective use of all available means -- labor, machinery, fertilizer, facts."4
  1. "Food for Freedom Campaign," Extension Farm-News, November, 1941, p. 1. For other stories detailing extension responsibilities and activities, see Extension Farm-News from November 1941 through the war years, and the extension annual reports for 1941-1945.
  2. "Extension Given Big War-Time Job," Extension Farm-News, May 1941, p. 1.
  3. "Study of Two Counties Reveals Effectiveness of Neighborhood Plan," Extension Farm-News, June, 1942, p. 1; and "Final Tabulation Shows 27,281 Good Neighbors," Extension Farm-News, August, 1942, p. 1.
  4. "Your Experiment Station Goes To War," Research and Farming, N.C. Agricultural Experiment Station annual report, 1942, pp. 11-13. See also "Agriculture and the War," 1943 annual report, pp. 9-11.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Farmer's Day in Mecklenburg County, 1954

From Charlotte: Spearhead of the New South! Published September, 1954, by the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce

By C.W. Gilcrist, president of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce
There was a time when rural and urban America were poles apart. They had a different conception of living, and their interests were widely divergent. Today this is no longer true.

We have seen the time when many young men left the farms for the more lucrative opportunities in the city. Today our agricultural colleges are graduating young men who operate the farms with the same scientific “know-how” as is evidenced in the chemical laboratory and the county house of trade. The modern farmer must of necessity be a business man. The stock market and the produce exchange are watched with the same interest by farmer and city dweller alike.

Charlotte and Mecklenburg have long been synonymous in interest and beliefs. As individuals we still see too little of each other.

A simple formula will help all of us, at least once a year getting together, breaking bread, learning a little, having fun. This is the purpose of Farmer’s Day to be held at the fairgrounds on September 15th. Make your plans now to attend. You will find it a rewarding experience.

To be congratulated are Zeb C. Strawn, chairman of the 1954 Farmer’s Day, and the various committees which have worked faithfully and well in arranging this year’s event.

The fairgrounds were secured and programs printed through the efforts of B.A. Lowrance. Henry G. Newson and George Hobson were responsible for the invitations.

The farm demonstrations were arranged through Mrs. Rub Hatcher’s committee of Charlie Marcotte, M.S. Burdette, R.C. Hartley and F.O. Godley.

Allen Ashcraft made arrangements for the bar-b-que luncheon and other refreshments. Walter J. Kline and J.L. Spivey will officiate as a welcoming committee and direct traffic on the 15th.

Gilbert Brauch, agricultural committee chairman, Sam Castleman, John D. Edmond, and Kenneth O. Hobbs are responsible for the all-important financial arrangements for the event.

To these committeemen and other members of the Agricultural Committee, the Chamber of Commerce wishes to express its sincere appreciation for their fine work.

12:30     Invocation, Rev. J.C. Jones, Newell Baptist Church
              Old-Fashioned Barbecue, Prepared by J.W. Oehler Jr.

1:15        Special Entertainment, Arthur Smith & His Crackerjacks

1:30        Introduction of special guests
                                Zeb C. Strawn, Master of Ceremonies
                                Frank H. Jeter, Agricultural Editor, N.C. State College, Speaker

2:15        Farm Machinery Demonstration, Mrs. Rube Hatcher, Project Chairman, and George Hobson, County Farm Agent
                Home Improvement Demonstration, Miss Helen John Wright, County Home Demonstration Agent

3:30        Final Drawing for Prizes

Thursday, May 17, 2012

New Chemicals Help Crop and Dairy Farms, 1946

“Carolina Farm Comment” by F.H. Jeter, Extension Editor, N.C. State College, Raleigh, as published May 13, 1946, in the Wilmington Star

So many new chemicals are being prepared for use on the farm these days that it is hard for one to keep up with all of them. All sorts of preparations are being developing for the killing of weeds, for instance. Only last week, Farm Agent A.V. Thomas conducted a demonstration using chemicals to control sandspurs in a Jones County pasture.

The tests were made on E.E. Bell’s farm where the sandspurs had covered a small area. The results are not yet apparent but, if these chemicals are like others which have appeared on the farm market, they presumably make the weeds grow until they are exhausted and then die. That seems a strange way to kill a plant, but that’s the way it is.

This new chemical, Fermate, used to prevent blue mold in tobacco plant beds seems to have done a satisfactory job. Robeson County farmers say the blue mold situation has cleared up nicely in that county. Every man who used the Fermate to control the disease this year will use it again next season. They also found that while nearly every bed sprayed with the Fermate had a little of the blue mold, it was only a light infestation, and the plants recovered quickly. The spray really controlled the trouble until the plants were ready to be set.

That seems to be the experience of most tobacco growers. The Fermate is not an absolute preventive, but it does keep the blue mold under control and so well checked that the plants are able to grow out of it without too much damage. The material is worth the price just for this good effect alone. Many of those who had trouble with the disease, in spite of spraying, perhaps did not use the material exactly as it should have been used, because many growers had to apply the spray with make-shift apparatus. It was nearly impossible to get the spraying equipment needed. Tobacco growers say they hope they shall be able to get such equipment next year.

It seems a shame, they say, that farmers are compelled to lose so much now because they cannot get tractors, plows, combines, and other equipment that they so badly need, all because selfish interests are holding up the production of coal and manufactured products to their own personal advantage.

Jonas Fields of Seven Springs in Wayne County has just completed the work with another chemical which he used last fall in controlling weeds in his tobacco bed. He used Cyanamid to do this and secured excellent results. All spring, while his neighbors were laboriously picking or pulling the weeds from their plant beds with their hands, Mr. Fields had practically no weeds. But he did not follow the manufacturers’ recommendations in using the chemical. Instead, he just let it remain on the top of the soil until it came time for him to plant his tobacco seed. Then he prepared the plant bed in the usual manner.

He secured such good results that a number of top men, officials of the manufacturing company, went down to Wayne County to see for themselves. They told Farm Agent C.S. Mintz that they were very much impressed with Mr. Fields’ results. There is no doubt that this cyanamid does control the weeds. Joe Anthony, over in Wilson County, says there is no comparison as to the amount of hand labor needed where the material is used and where it is, there are no weeds. Wilson tobacco growers are progressive and they try out every good thing coming their way. Their use of the cyanamid each fall on tobacco plant beds has increased rapidly.

Still another new chemical is being tried out by eastern Carolina tobacco growers this year. This is our old friend copper sulphate or bluestone. Some growers have added a little of this bluestone to their tobacco fertilizers, particularly to dark soils, to get the effect of the copper as a fertilizing element. Preliminary tests show that the copper does add to the yield and vigor of the plant on such dark soils, but it also affects the taste of the tobacco.

Two Wayne County growers will try one acre each with the copper suphate added to their fertilizer this year, but the material is not being recommended by Experiment Station research men.

A.M. Frazelle of Richlands, Route 1, in Onslow County, used Cyanamid on 400 yards of tobacco bed last fall to control weeds, and has had practically no weeds at all this spring, reports Charley Clark, farm agent. Right next to this treated bed, however; is another bed of 400 yards which had so many weeds that there have been practically no tobacco plants available for setting.

It cost Mr. Frazelle just about $150 to have his weeds picked from his tobacco beds not treated with the cyanamid, and, nothing where they were treated. He has invited all of his neighbors over to see the difference, an no one need ask what he plans to do this coming fall as he again selects the sites for his plant beds.

Mr. Frazelle also used the Fermate solution to spray his plant beds this spring, treating them twice each week. There was little or no blue mold on the treated beds. Those not treated were severely attacked by the disease. It seems, therefore, that all of us must learn to know and live with these new chemicals as they come along if we are to stay in the farming business.

Dairymen are getting ready to use the new DDT spray to keep flies under control this summer. Charles Turner, who owns the Vine Knoll Dairy near Reidsville in Rockingham County, has just applied his first spray of DDT to the walls and windows of his milk house; and, when J.E. Foil went out there the other afternoon, not a fly could be found on the premises. In fact, such excellent control was secured that Mr. Foil has asked all the other dairymen of Rockingham County to visit Mr. Turner’s dairy and see the results for themselves.

Down in Hyde County, R.B. Stotesbury is spraying one-half of his apple orchard with a DDT solution and comparing it with his regular spray material. D.M. Swink, a neighbor, is using the material to spray his pecan grove so as to control the nut chose bearer, an insect which has been causing him considerable losses each season. J.P. Woodward, farm agent in Hyde County, says this spraying is really experimental work and is being done in cooperation with Dr. Clyde Smith, associate entomologist of the North Carolina Experiment Station.

Dr. Smith, by the way, has prepared a rather interesting little multilithed pamphlet on the practical use of DDT on North Carolina farms; and, if you would like to have a copy, let me know and I shall be glad to send one to you free of charge. Just drop a line to Frank Jeter, editor, North Carolina State College, and your copy will come immediately.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Home Demonstration Women Traveling to Ceylon, 1956

From the May 1956 issue of Extension Farm-News

Six North Carolina rural women will be delegates to the annual meeting of Associated Country Women of the World next winter. The meeting will be held in Ceylon.

Miss Ruth Current, state home demonstration agent, made the announcement.

The six Tar Heel women scheduled to attend the Ceylon meeting are Mrs. J.C. Berryhill, Charlotte, Route 8; Mrs. E.P. Gibson, Laurel Hill, Route 1; Mrs. Charles W. Gough, Hamptonville; Mrs. L.B. Pate, New Bern, Route 2; Mrs. Ralph Proffit, Bald Creek; and Mrs. Robert Starling, Greenville, Route 3. Miss Current expects to accompany the North Carolina delegation to the meeting and the group will be away from this country approximately a month.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Forced Air Removed Feed Flavors in Milk, 1948

If you are old enough, you will remember flavor changes in milk in the spring and fall, when cows switched from pasture to silage. You probably also remember the off-taste that occurred when the cows found wild onions in the spring. The following is from Research and Farming, the 1948 annual report of the North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station, published by N.C. State College, Raleigh

Several different types of food flavors can be removed from milk by blowing air through it, according to W.M. Roberts, F.M. Haig, and M.L. Shumaker, who have completed several trials of the new method.

The process consists of heating the off-flavored milk to 150 degrees F., and blowing filtered air through it until the flavor is removed. This usually requires from 20 to 60 minutes, depending on the intensity of the off-flavor. 
It is necessary to spray milk by circulation into the vat so that the foam which forms can be dispersed. After the flavor is removed, the milk is homogenized at 2,500 to 3,000 pounds per square inch pressure and cooled.

Practically all volatile feed flavors are eliminated by this treatment. The milk has normal keeping qualities. From 3 to 8 per cent of the water is lost by evaporation.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Rural Patients Pay More for Health Care, 1948

From Research and Farming, the 1948 annual report of the North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station, N.C. State College, Raleigh

In a sample survey of 500 rural families of eastern North Carolina, C. Horace Hamilton and staff of the Department of Rural Sociology found that 27 per cent of the families lived more than 10 miles from a doctor and more than 20 miles from a hospital.

The families living at these distances from doctors and hospitals had about the same amount of illness as other families. The survey also showed that they use hospitals and doctors to about the same extent. However, there were two important differences:

1)      The isolated families did not and frequently could not get medical service in their homes; and
2)      If they did get a doctor make the trip, the expense was greater.

Night Calls Higher
The cost of getting a doctor in the country varied with the distance the patient lived from town. The average fee for one call at the doctor’s office was found to be $2.80. The average fee for a home call in the day was $7.12, and for a home call at night, $9.35. On the average, the cost of a call to a patient’s home at night was 31 per cent greater than a daytime call at the same distance.

On the average the cost of a home call in the country started at $2.55 for no distance and increased at the rate of $.66 for each mile the rural family lived from the doctor. This relationship may be tabled as follows:

Cost of Doctor’s Visit to Patient’s Home by Miles Traveled
Miles Traveled
Average Cost

The initial cost of $2.55 for a home visit with no miles traveled was about the same as the charge for an office visit.

Few Night Calls Result
As a result of the high cost of home calls, especially at night, there are very few such calls. Also there is an increasing tendency for doctors to ask patients to come to their office or to the hospital. This not only saves the doctor’s time but also makes it possible to use laboratory and X-ray equipment which cannot be taken into the country.

Added to this trend in medical service is the fact that more doctors are leaving the small country towns and are located at centers large enough for hospitals. In view of this trend, the development of a rural ambulance service and good rural roads become even more necessary.

Friday, May 11, 2012

North Carolinians Remaining in High School, 1930-1955

From the 1957 Annual Report of the School of Agriculture, N.C. State College, Raleigh

Considering the trend toward longer school enrollment, it was found that in North Carolina, 90.6 per cent of  14- and 15-year-olds were enrolled in school in 1950. This compared with 83.5 per cent in 1940 and 79.1 per cent in 1930.

In the 15- to 16-year age group, the percentages enrolled were 65.9 in 1950, 55.4 in 1940 and 49.3 in 1930.
This trend was borne out by studying median school grade by age for North Carolina males. In the 55- to 64-years-of-age group in 1940 the median school grade was 6.1. By 1950 this had risen only to 6.6. On the other hand, the median school grade for the 25- to 29-year-age group was 7.7 in 1940 and had climbed to 9.2 by 1950.

It was also found in studying North Carolina enrollment trends that only 33 per cent of the students who had started to school 11 years earlier entered the 11th grade in 1940. By 1955 this had climbed to 60 per cent.
In considering these trends and in the light of the historic roll which N.C. State College has played in fostering the growth of understanding among all the people of the state, the staff members of the School of Agriculture believe it is imperative that our instructional programs of the future reflect the needs of our changing society.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Agriculture in North Carolina, 1865-1939

From NORTH CAROLINA: A Guide to the Old North State; published by the North Carolina Department of Conservation and Development, 1939. The entire book is online at

The War between the States stimulated the production of foodstuffs, but from 1865 to 1900 the North Carolina farmer became steadily poorer. Cotton dropped from a dollar a pound in 1865 to 25 cents a pound in 1868. In the next three decades it dropped 12 cents, to 7 cents, and finally, in 1894, it fell below 5 cents a pound.

The farmer, buying at high prices and selling near the level of production, was forced to run on a credit basis. The merchant financed the farmer, taking a lien on the crops. In return for the risk he took, the merchant demanded a price that averaged higher than the cash price, so that the farmer paid as much as 40 percent annual interest and sometimes more. The farmer was consequently driven to plant money crops—cotton and tobacco—at the expense of food crops. He was in the hopeless position of trying to pay for his food and his food supplies out of the proceeds of his money crop.

The rise of farm tenancy, more than any other factor, forced single-crop farming in North Carolina. The War between the States had broken the existing plantations into small farms, and changed the relationship between landowners and laborers. Landowners, deprived of slave labor, had either to rent their land for cash, pay wages, or let the land to tenants on shares.

Since both the landowners and the landless Negroes and whites who furnished the labor had practically no money, sharecropping was the logical development. Under this system the landowner furnished the tenant with team, implements, and seed, and received from the tenant one-half to two-thirds of the staple crops after harvest. He also advanced provisions for the tenant family, and received payment in either cash o crops.

There was opposition to sharecropping at the outset. The Reconstructed Farmer, edited at Tarboro, believed that:
What demoralizes the labor of our country more than anything else is farming on shares…. The manner in which share laborers are managed is a curse to the country, for in many instances they are put off on land . . . that will not support them the first year, no matter how good the cultivation of the crop may be . . . .

North Carolina farmers were moved by the same desperation that was driving farmers all over the country to organize. Already the Farmers’ Alliance Cooperative Union had swept the Southwest. In North Carolina the Grange had appeared in 1873, attained a membership of about 10,000 in 1875, and then declined.

In 1887 the Farmers’ Alliance was organized in the state under the leadership of Leonidas Polk. A practical farmer himself, Polk had begun publication of the Progressive Farmer at Winston in 1866, and had moved the weekly to Raleigh when he became State Commissioner of Agriculture. The Alliance spread until in 1890 local chapters had been formed in every county but one, and the total membership was more than 90,000.

The Alliance drew the farmers together for education and entertainment. There were discussions of agricultural problems, institutes to spread the knowledge of scientific farming, agricultural clubs, and fairs. The farmers actively supported the reorganization of the State Department of Agriculture, the establishment at Raleigh of the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, and of the State Normal and Industrial College for Women at Greensboro.

Through a state agency set up by the Alliance, farmers were able to purchase directly from the manufacturer implements, fertilizers, and even food supplies at a saving of from 10 to 60 percent. The small capital, which was raised by selling shares to farmers, made long-time credit impossible, and most of the farmers were tied fast by the crop-lien system and could not take advantage of the saving offered them. Merchants fought the inexperienced cooperatives, until the panic of 1893 finally put an end to them.

As conditions grew steadily worse, the farmers organized as the Populist Party. Joining with the Republicans, this party succeeded in bringing about the election of a Fusionist ticket in 1896.

Since 1900 the number of farms in the state has continued to increase, partly as a result of the great improvement in roads, partly because much potential farm land remained unused. One million six hundred thousand people live on North Carolina farms, the second largest farm population of the 48 states. In 1930 there were almost twice as many persons classified as farmers as there were persons classified as urban dwellers, and of the total population 50.5 percent lived on farms. Though the average size of farms is small, the average cash return per farm in 1930 was high—almost a thousand dollars. In the value of farm products the state in 1937 ranked second to Texas among the Southern states, and fifth in the United States.
Agriculture is not limited to any particular section, although the central and southeastern portions, comprising some 22,000 square miles, are particularly favored and contain some of the richest farm land in eastern America.

In the southern part of the coastal plain, diversified farming is increasing. Remarkable success has been achieved by individuals and groups through intensive truck farming and flower growing. Of increasing importance is the strawberry crop, valued at approximately $2 million a year. Large productive farms in the region ship quantities of early truck to outside markets and also produce cotton, corn, tobacco, soybeans, and sweet and Irish potatoes.

Tobacco, cotton, and corn are the chief crops of the state, and tobacco now brings to North Carolina farmers a greater revenue than any other crop. Tobacco is raised in the central Coastal Plain, the Piedmont, along the South Carolina border, and in the mountains, where burley is the variety produced. In 1937 the crop was valued at more than $141 million. In 1919, with cotton at 35 cents a pound, the total crop of the state was valued at $130 million; in 1935, the low price of 11.5 cents per pound, the total crop value was approximately $41 million.

The Sandhill section produces millions of bushels of peaches for northern and eastern markets. Dewberries, grown in great quantities in this section, are noted for their size and flavor.

Farming is more diversified in the Piedmont, where a large urban population in the industrial centers provides a good market. The chief products are grain, fruits, vegetables, tobacco, and cotton. The Piedmont has a high percentage of farm owners and a more balanced farm program, but it, like the Coastal Plain, suffers from a deficiency in livestock and dairy products.

The Mountain Region is an area of diversified farming on a domestic scale. With the exception of potatoes, cabbage, and tobacco, products grown for sale represent only a small part of the total agricultural produce. Tobacco is the only money crop of any importance. Other crops are corn, wheat, a little buckwheat, oats, rye, sorghum, late varieties of Irish potatoes, and hay. Beef cattle and sheep are raised in considerable numbers, and the region is particularly adapted to poultry raising and dairying. Cheese making is an important industry in the northwestern counties. Fertile valleys, especially those in the thermal belt, are particularly suited to fruit growing and truck farming.

Many farm families in the Mountain Region derive an income from the cultivation and gathering of drug plants, especially ginseng and golden seal. There is some income from the sale of ornamental leaves and shrubbery, and a trend toward the cultivation of mountain shrubbery for commercial purposes.

Corn, one of the great crops of North Carolina before the coming of the white man, is produced in every county. In 1935 the value of the crop to the state was a little more than $32 million.

Although North Carolina is still deficient in livestock, in 1935 there were 684,266 head of cattle, an increase of nearly 30 percent over the previous five years. In the same year, 2.5 million pounds of dairy butter, 26 million pounds of farm butter, and 30 million gallons of fluid milk were produced. There were 362,104 horses and mules, 947,143 swine, 8,806,000 chickens, and 90,708 turkeys on North Carolina farms.

Between 1932 and 1935 the gross income of North Carolina farmers rose to slightly over $300 million, more than doubling in three years. These figures indicate, among other things, the increasing interest the farmers are taking in a balanced farm program and the conservation of soil.

One of the most serious economic and social problems with which North Carolina has to deal is farm tenancy. Almost half the farms in the state are operated by tenants who have little chance for farm ownership. Most of these tenants live on the Coastal Plain, where the large cotton and tobacco crops are produced. They frequently move from farm to farm, and are drawn to the factories by the promise of ready money.

Extensive programs in reclamation, conservation, and rehabilitation are being carried on in North Carolina by State and Federal agencies. Experimental farms and nurseries are conducted by the State in the Coastal, Piedmont, and Mountain sections and many of the counties maintain farm agents and home demonstration agents. The State College Extension Service is conducting a program to encourage balanced farming, increased livestock production, and more scientific utilization of the land. The first 4-H club was organized in 1909 in Hertford County. There are now (1939) 1,500 such clubs in the state with a total membership of 43,000.

The Farm Security Administration of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has organized subsistence homestead projects at Scuppernong Farms, on the border of Lake Phelps in Tyrrell and Washington Counties, and at Penderlea, in Pender County. Projects for demonstration in soil conservation, especially erosion control, were established in numerous sections of the state by Federal Government agencies during the 1930s.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

North Carolina's Producing Poultry for Out-of-State Markets, 1957

From the 1957 Annual Report of the School of Agriculture, N.C. State College, Raleigh

Poultry has grown from a backyard enterprise to the State’s number two income producer in the past 25 years.
In 1934, we produced less than one million broilers. We produced more than 104 million in 1957. Half of this gain of more than 100 million birds was made in the past five years. Production in 1953 was less than 51 million broilers.

Income from broilers during this period has climbed from less than a half million dollars annually in 1934 to $58 million in 1957. In many areas broiler income has become a very vital part of the community’s total economy.

Egg production has more than trebled in the past 20 years. As late as 1941 we imported half as many eggs as we produced. Not until 1956 did our total egg production more than equal our consumption. In 1957, our production of more than five million cases of eggs was 585,374 cases more than estimated consumption.
Turkey production as more than doubled in the past six years. Last year’s estimated production of about 1,800,000 head was nearly 40 per cent more than for 1956.

Thus, our poultry industry has grown to the point where we are no longer producing only for ourselves. Now we must reach for out-of-state markets. In so doing, poultry can bring extra dollars into North Carolina.

This means that we must tailor future production increases to what these markets want and need. Unless we can satisfy consumers in the metropolitan, high-income areas—our new markets—we will not be able to hold them.

Throughout this period, Extension has promoted and grown with the poultry industry. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Farmers Tour, Raleigh, 1946

By Frank H. Jeter, Extension Editor, N.C. State College, Raleigh, as published May 9, 1946, in a Greensboro newspaper.

Thousands of acres of medium to poor land throughout the piedmont section of North Carolina can be made to yield good grazing crops through proper fertilization and seeding, as shown by farm demonstrations conducted in Wake County under the direction of County Agent Lloyd T. Weeks.

Last week about 40 farmers visited six temporary pastures, eight permanent pastures, seven farms growing alfalfa, two farms with hay driers, one model calf barn, and one farm that grew purebred hogs, all in a full day’s trip through Wake County that lasted for 11 hours.

The first stop was at the farm of Theo L. Jones, Raleigh, Route 4, where growers saw 20 cows on 14 acres of temporary pasture on land that was in broom sedge and briars three years ago. Believe it or not, the animals cannot begin to take care of all the grazing on the field this spring.

Jones put 2 tons of lime per acre, 300 pounds of 3-12-6, an application of stable manure, and some phosphate during the three-year period. His seeding of the present grazing crop was 15 pounds of white clover, 15 pounds of rye grass, and 2 bushels of barley and oats per acre.

He had a second field of one acre of temporary grazing for two Percheron horses and a third field of one acre for his Hereford bull, with a good wire fence around it. The bull gets the majority of his feed durin the year from his one acre of permanent pasture.

Farm Manager C.A. Keisler showed an excellent dairy barn at Kildare Farm near Cary with a curing of about 18 tons of pea-green alfalfa hay from 25 acres on a mechanical hay drier. The crop was current. The complete cost of the hay drier was about $700 when put in last year, and it cured out 80 tons of hay. Each crop of hay was piled on top of the other for curing, and it went up to the roof of the large barn, the last curing taking the shortest length of time. Keisler said that heat from the roof was probably responsible for this.

The visiting farmers also saw a temporary pasture on Kildare Farm that was taking care of better than three cows per acre. It had received manure, 1 ½ tons of lime per acre, and 500 pounds of 2-12-6 with a seeding of 15 pounds of rye grass and 15 pounds of crimson clover. Keisler plans to increase his rate of seeding to 20 pounds of clover and 30 pounds of rye grass per acre next year so as to establish a still thicker sod and get more days of grazing. He topdressed with nitrogen in late February and up to last week had obtained 46 days of grazing. “With plenty of grazing and good alfalfa hay our milk production jumped from 75 gallons a day up to a total of almost 125 gallons a day,” he explained.

“That was just about my experience,” chimed in Blanny Franks, who lives about 7 miles southwest of Raleigh. The grazing crop on the Kildare Farm was seeded September 1.

Also on Kildare was a native pasture of blue grass and white clover that has never been seeded. There was also considerable low hop clover. During the two years it had received 700 pounds of 20 per cent superphosphate, 2 ½ tons of lime, two applications of manure, and 200 pounds of 2-12-6 per acre. All of the growth was from native grasses.

Another pasture of this same general type was seen during the afternoon on the farm of Irvin Jackson of Raleigh, Route 1.

John L. Sears, Morrisville tobacco grower, told how a permanent pasture and increased hay crops had paid off in reduced feed costs for work stock and his milk and beef cattle. S.S. Yancey of Varina showed how alfalfa planting had saved a sadly worn field on his Holly Springs farm, and another Varina farm-owner, J.W. Adcock explained how he had used nitrates and fertilizer to grow alfalfa on sandy soil.

After a brief stop for lunch, the group inspected a permanent pasture of John H. Pope’s farm near Garner, looking over temporary and permanent pastures and a day drier on the farm of Obie Haithcock at Route 5, Raleigh, and examined temporary and permanent pastures and an alfalfa stand at the W.V. Green farm at Neuse.

Moving on to Wake Forest, the tour took in two farms operated by W.W. Holding, to look over first and second year alfalfa and a temporary pasture and cinder brick calf barn.

At Wendell, C.H. Horton showed the group a permanent pasture he had built up out of a cleared timber tract and a field of alfalfa. In Zebulon, where the tour ended, the group looked over P.M. Horton’s temporary hog pastures and one of the county’s leading herds of pure bred Poland China swine.

When 21 farmers were questioned during the lunch hour, 11 reported that they were growing alfalfa; 14 hybrid corn; and 17 permanent pastures. They said that they were getting most of their information on improved farm practices from the county agents, farm magazines, and other farmers.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

John Goodman, Elizabeth Tuttle, J.I. Wagoner Honored by USDA, 1953

From Extension Farm-News, May 1953

Three North Carolina Extension workers have been chosen to receive Department of Agriculture Superior Service Awards—the second highest departmental honor that USDA employees can receive.

John W. Goodman, assistant Extension director; Mrs. Elizabeth L. Tuttle, Forsyth County home demonstration agent; and J.I. Wagoner, Guilford County farm agent, were scheduled to receive the awards from Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson at the Sylvan Theatre on the Washington Monument grounds May 19.

Last year 15 Extension workers from 13 states received Superior Service awards; 120 persons from throughout the USDA were so honored. The awards consist of a silver medal, a certificate, and a silver lapel emblem.

Since 1935, Goodman has been charged with helping obtain money for North Carolina Extension expenditures and then seeing that it is carefully and equally distributed. A letter of nomination for the award states, “The Extension Service owes a debt to Mr. Goodman for the long hours he has spent each biennium in preparing a budget for consideration by the State Legislature….”

Goodman, a native of Cumberland, Va., and a graduate of VPI, came to North Carolina as a count agent in Avery on August 1, 1919. He later served Extension as Western District agent.

Mrs. Tuttle has been home agent in Forsyth since 1931 when there were 14 home demonstration clubs with 273 members and three 4-H Clubs with 76 girls enrolled in the county. Today there are 32 home demonstration clubs with a membership of more than 900, and 20 4-H Clubs with 950 girls enrolled.

In 1948, the Winston-Salem Journal-Sentinal newspapers named her the city’s outstanding woman in community work. That year she also received a distinguished service award from the National Home Demonstration Agents Association. She has held office and served as an active member in an impressive number of service organizations, both rural and urban. In 1950-51 she was president of the State Home Demonstration Agents Association.

Mrs. Tuttle served as home economics teacher at the Walnut Cove High School, 1925-26, and at Walkertown, 1926-31.

Wagoner, a 1919 graduate of State College, became Guilford County farm agent in 1924. Within a year he organized the first county board of agriculture in the State’s history. The board is still functioning and many counties have patterned similar organizations after this one. He is the father of the Guilford Dairy Heard Improvement Association which now has 1,214 cows under the program. He helped organize the Guilford Dairy Cooperative in 1931; the cooperative does a $3 million business each year.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

German Prisoners of War Harvesting Crops in N.C., 1944

By F.H. Jeter, Extension Editor, N.C. State College, Raleigh, as published in the Wilmington Star on May 22, 1944

They looked little like supermen when I saw them stripped to the waist in the warm spring sunshine and engaged in such ordinary pastoral occupations as harvesting truck crops.

Did one not notice the noncommissioned officer of the United states Army standing in bored but alert attention in the background, he would never know that these blond boys out there in the field were former German soldiers filled with a lust to kill and arrogant in a false assumption of superior qualities which they did not possess.

They looked as if they were accepting an entirely new situation, and they were doing first-class work, although the observer could not but feel that the apparent meekness was only temporary.

There are 277 German prisoners of war with 38 of them being noncommissioned officers located in the N.Y.A. camp on the Carolina Beach Highway near Wilmington. These men are under the supervision of Lieutenant R.H. Hazel of Greenwood, South Carolina, commanding officer of the camp, as assisted by Lieutenant J.T. Hayes, administrative officer. The Commandant has a group of 55 men, mostly noncommissioned officers, to help him in handling the prisoners.

The prisoners are sent out in details in the number and as the farmers ask for them. With each group goes a leader, usually one of the German noncommissioned officers, and an interpreter. Occasionally, the two jobs head up in one person. But each detail is in the charge of its own leader. A farmer, employing the detail for the day, gives his orders through this leader.

I saw one detail working on the 90-acre truck farm belonging to A.G. Seitter. Out in the field the men cut the lettuce according to instructions and brought it in hampers to the end of the rows where it was repacked. The leader looked on and talked with the various ones in their native German language. Back at the end of the rows on the farm road where the hampers were packed, stood an armed corporal of the United States Army, alert and poised but with little to say. It was his job to see that no prisoner escaped.

As I went about over the camp and saw the clean kitchen with the same food for the prisoners as that provided for the American soldiers in charge, I wondered if our boys captured by the Germans were faring as well.

Being a prisoner is a hard existence at best, but having the opportunity for work out in the open fields, with good food and clean bedding helps to make such an existence more bearable. I was allowed to peep into the refrigerators, to see the cooked rations going out to the men in the field, to visit their quarters, to see their canteen, and to visit their infirmary. They should be happy at having this opportunity to work for the farmers of North Carolina.

Friday, May 4, 2012

McEachern's Work Praised, 1944

By F.H. Jeter, Extension Editor, N.C. State College, Raleigh, as published in the Wilmington Star on May 20, 1944

East Carolina is a great crop country. The sandy loam soils of the area are easily worked. They can be improved through the use of legumes and they respond well to applications of fertilizers and limestone.

High acre yields of hay crops, both summer and winter, may be secured and for that reason the great coastal plain area of North Carolina should be a place where livestock can be produced economically and profitably.

As a matter of fact, the section is noted for its production of finished hogs for market but dairying and beef cattle production has developed more slowly. With the knowledge becoming more general about how to establish pasture sods and how to graze farm woodlands in a combination beef and timber producing enterprise, however, these cattle growing ventures are becoming more frequent and some of the fine herds of both beef and dairy cows are to be found in the area.

In some parts of the east, growers have found that their young animals, particularly, do not develop properly. Every livestock man knows that he cannot get very far in livestock farming unless he produces the great bulk of his feed on the home farm. This must be in the form of pasture, hay, grazing crops, or silage. To a less extent, the grain feed is produced. Sometimes when an eastern livestock man depends entirely upon his home-grown supplies for the roughage for his cattle, he runs into difficulties. It seems that something is lacking in, the sandy soils of that area and the more sand in the soil, the more acute is the situation.

This is exactly what A.O. McEachern of Wilmington, Route 2, found out was happening to him. Mr. McEachern runs one of the best dairies to be found in eastern North Carolina. In fact, he may be classed as a pioneer dairyman for that section, and he has developed a fine herd of Holstein cattle as a definite contribution to North Carolina’s livestock progress.

The North Carolina State College honored Mr. McEachern a few years ago with a certificate of meritorious service to the agriculture of the State because of his success in establishing this outstanding herd of dairy cattle and in his other leadership work among farmers of his section. His farm consists of about 1,000 acres located along the Carolina Beach highway out from Wilmington in New Hanover County. Only about 330 acres are in the open, cultivated land and most of this land is almost all sand. These 330 acres, however, maintain an average of 100 head of purebred registered Holstein cows and about 80 head of young animals.

The other began with purebreds back in 1923 and after he had secured his foundation stock, he never bought another Holstein cow. He added purebred sires from time to time from some of the best herds of America. But to visit this farm and to see the well-kept premises, the excellent pastures, the acres of grazing crops, and the great herd of cattle one would never believe that Mr. McEachern had ever experienced any trouble with his herd.

For several years after he began his herd, the dairyman continued to grow truck crops and to buy practically all of the feed for his cows.

“As long as I did this,” he said, “I had no trouble. The cows would produce their young and the calves would grow off nicely to reach a strong, well-developed size in the usual time of two or three years. My feed was coming, of course, from all parts of the United States and if something was lacking in that which came from one place, perhaps it was compensated for in that which came from another place. I decided, however, to devote my main attention to my herd, to quit the trucking business, and to use the land to grow my own feedstuffs.”

It was then that Mr. McEachern began to run into trouble. For instance, he tried to grow alfalfa but never had much success with it until L.G. Willis, soil chemist and research man in charge of the Soils Laboratory maintained in New Hanover County by the State College Experiment Station, found out that about 25 pounds of borax should be added per acre to the soil.

The dairyman used two tons of ground limestone per acre, 400 pounds of 5-7-5 fertilizer, and about 600 pounds of basic slag, along with the 25 pounds of borax at planting time in the fall and he has one of the prettiest fields of alfalfa, to be found in the state. He says now that he plans to grow about 100 acres as a result of the facts he has learned.

“Mr. Alec” as he is known locally has been quick to adopt all the new facts about how to handle his soil. When he saw that his animals were not developing as they should be tried salt licks in an effort to get needed minerals into them. He fed them more than was good for his profits but still he failed to get the results.

Following the tests and trials made on his land by the soils chemist, he began to get immediate results. The soil was first limed and the cows got the limestone into their system through the feed. Manganese and boron were added. Some cobalt came into the feed through the use of basic slag. Then a little copper was added. The results of putting these minerals into the soil were good. The cows began to breed easier, and the calves were increased in size by 33 and one-third per cent. Their bones were stronger and they had a better developed framework.

“Before, I began adding minerals to the feed through the soil. I couldn’t get a cow up to any size before she was five years old,” Mr. Alec said. “I did that by putting the feed to her until the cost was greater than the profit.”

Before I left his farm, Mr. McEachern showed me a group of 11 heifers about two years old. They were grazing contentedly on a good pasture and would weigh an average of about 1,200 to 1,300 pounds each. I agreed then with his statement, “I have just about whipped this sand.”

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Farmers' Reports From Across the State, May 1956

From the “Around the State” column in the May 1956 issue of Extension Farm-News, published by N.C. State College, Raleigh, NC

Ralph Green, grade A dairyman of the Beaver Dam community, says he’s heard of “cherry” milk, “strawberry” milk, and various other flavors of milk. But he’d never run into “cedar” milk until recently. Cleveland County Assistant Agent Jack G. Krause says that Green cut down a cedar tree and left the limbs lying in his drylot. The next day he had a can of milk rejected. And when he smelled the milk, he swears there was a distinct cedar flavor.

David Sharpe of Reidsville, Route 4, proved that he could raise 11 orphaned pigs, but at the expense of his waistline. Rockingham County Assistant Agent A.F. Wood says that Sharpe, in warming milk for the pigs every four hours, would fix himself a snack at the same time. As the pigs gained strength and weight, so did Sharpe. He put on seven pounds in six weeks.

Most people prefer their fried chicken well-done, but T.G. Avent, Nashville farmer, just wants to singe his. Avent was determined to have a garden and chickens, too, but he wasn’t having much luck until he put an electric wire around his garden and connected it to the house current. One trip to the wire seems to teach the birds a lesson they never forget. The “precooked” chickens steer clear of the garden from there on out, P.P. Thompson, assistant Negro farm agent in Nash County, reports.

If you keep cows for sentimental reasons rather than milk production, don’t get into the DHIA testing program. That’s the advice of Gaston County Assistant Agent Thomas A. Taylor. Paul Howe of Gastonia, Route 3, has been in the DHIA program for only about three months. Yet, he has culled two of his favorite cows. “And I thought they were doing pretty well until the records showed differently,” Howe lamented.

Johnnie Parker of Elm City, Route 3, doesn’t take any chances on getting caught short of vegetables. Wilson County Negro Agent W.G. Pierce explains that Parker always has two vegetable gardens, one near the house and one back of the field.

Mrs. D.F. Bauert, farm wife of Person County, has a “bear by the tail,” it seems. Assistant Agent T.N. Hobgood Jr. says that Mrs. Bauert admits she might have talked too fast when she told her husband that she would gather, prepare, and sell produce if he would raise it. Bauert is steadily increasing his vegetable planting and Mrs. Bauert is as busy as that proverbial one-armed paper hanger.

A female mule owned by Bruce Foy of Trenton, Route 2, will never be able to have an offspring of her won but she has a strong maternal instinct, nevertheless. County Agent J.R. Franck explains that one of Foye’s prize Hereford cows dropped a fine calf recently, and the mule proceeded to adopt it. So possessive was the mule that the calf’s mother couldn’t even get close enough to feed it. Foy finally had to separate the mule from the calf.

It pays to let burley tobacco get good and ripe. Ed Pennington of the Nathans Creek section proved this to his satisfaction last year. Ashe County Assistant Agent James Z. Daniel says that Pennington was afraid of a help shortage last year and cut half of his six-tenths allotment while the tobacco was still green. He kept records and found that the green tobacco weighed 43 pounds less per tenth. So he figures it cost him $23.37 per tenth by cutting too green.

Fred Parker and his mother, Mrs. W.K. Parker, have brought a new strain of chicks into Gates County, Alvin C. Newsome, assistant county agent, reports. The chicks are De Kalb 309. The Parkers selected them because they lay brown-shelled eggs and are white birds. The Portsmouth market, which the Parkers sell to, prefer brown-shelled eggs. Newsome says the De Kalb pullets are known as excellent producers.

Will Elliott of the Warrensville community believes in keeping things neat. Ashe County Assistant Agent James Z. Daniel says that Elliott picks up rocks from his fields and stacks them in neat, rectangular piles, with a minimum of waste space and no growth of weeds or briars at the edges. Daniel says this is a reflection of Elliott’s care of his entire farm.

W.L. Carter of Chadbourn, Route 2, has taken much of the work out of feeding his dairy herd. Columbus County Assistant Agent Victor H. Lytton says that this fall Carter built a trench-type silo from rough lumber and poles, and the cows have free access to the silage. Carter uses two feed racks which are moved forward as the cows eat the silage. He doesn’t have touch the feed.

Seven Bladen County Negro farmers who are cooperating in the Farm and Home Development program saved a total of $865 on their fertilizer bill this year. The saving is based on a comparison of last year’s costs with this year’s costs and came about because of soil tests, according to F.E. Leathers, assistant Negro county agent in Bladen.

Murphy Sample of Elizabeth City, Route 1, has put together some pulleys and belts to make a drain cutter. He says the machine works well except that the wheel isn’t wide enough. “As soon as I get a bigger wheel, it’ll work fine.”

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Most Farm Women Spend Third of Time Cleaning, 1956

Extension Farm-News, May 1956

The average North Carolina farm woman spends about a third of her time cleaning floors, dishes, clothes and the bath tub.

But according to Mamie Whisnant, Extension home management specialist, any woman can cut down on her cleaning time. Suitable tools and cleaning supplies will do much to make her job easier.

For cleaning painted walls, use a soft-haired, long-handled brush or broom covered with a clean soft cloth. Use light, overlapping stokes. Wash with a soft cloth or sponge using light suds of neutral soap. Wash from the bottom up to avoid streaking. And use as little water as possible. Was only a small area at a time. Rinse well and dry with clean cloths. Miss Whisnant adds that you may find certain commercial wall cleaners effective.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Average Farm Family in Wake County Lacks Amenities Related to Health, 1949

Less than 50 percent of Wake County farm families had central heating, telephones, private bath and toilet, running water, sanitary sewage disposal, kitchen sink, and adequate rat control in 1949, and African-American families were significantly worse off than white families. The following was published in the 1949 Research and Farming Annual Report by the Agricultural Experiment Station at N.C. State College, Raleigh. C.H. Hamilton, who conducted the research, was head of the Department of Rural Sociology at the time.

Numerous surveys have shown that the rural people of North Carolina have more illness and get less medical care than do urban people. A 1949 survey in Wake County confirmed this fact and further indicated that the health problems of rural people are due, in part, to a poorer home environment.

In this survey, directed by C. Horace Hamilton, one out of every 50 households in Wake County was surveyed. The health environment of each family was measured by means of a 23-point scale. The score was based on housing, sanitation and home conveniences such as heating and plumbing which are most closely related to maintenance of good health.

Using the scale on a percentage basis with 23 points equal to 100 per cent, the average score for Wake County families was found to be 74 per cent. As many be seen from the accompanying table, the health environment scores for rural farm families was only 58 per cent, while that for the urban (Raleigh) families was about 83 per cent. Differences by race and tenure groups ranged from a high of about 95 per cent for urban white home owner families to a low of only 35 per cent for rural non-farm Negro renter families.
Hamilton reports the following as the most serious deficiencies in the health improvement of rural farm families in Wake County:

--almost nine families out of 10 had no central heating system,
--eight out of 10 had no telephone,
--68 per cent did not have running water,
--almost three-fourths had no private bath and toilet,
--67 per cent had no sanitary sewage disposal,
--two-thirds had no kitchen sink,
--56 per cent did not have rats and insects under control,
--45 per cent did not have a mechanical refrigerator,
--45 per cent had no safe water supply, and
--28 percent did not average one bedroom for each two people.

Even with net incomes averaging less than $1,500, Wake County farm families were spending a higher percentage of their incomes for medical services than were families with higher incomes. For instance, rural farm tenants with a median family income of only $1,147 were averaging $107 or 9.3 per cent of the income for medical care. Rural farm owners with a median family income of $2,444 were paying $282, or 7.4 per cent, for medical care.

Voluntary health insurance has not yet become effective among farm families of Wake County, Hamilton reports. Only 28.7 per cent of Raleigh families carried insurance.

As a result of low incomes and lack of health insurance, the farm people of Wake County receive less than half as much dental service and eye examinations and less than a thir4d as many health examinations as do urban people.

Health Environment Percentage Scores of Wake County Families By Residence, Color, and Tenure
Color and Tenure

Rural Nonfarm
Rural Farm
White Families
Negro Families