To the Farmers of Polk County
J.R. Sams, County Agent
My stay of 1 ½ years in your county has so endeared the grand little county from every standpoint to my heart that I feel away from home when I leave it for a few days. It is my duty to be here (Extension Service training, N.C. State University, Raleigh) for a few days and then will be back with the people I have learned to love so dearly. I am here to see if I can take back something new or better than I have been trying to give you; but it is hard to get away from the old truths of Agriculture. It is like the old Gospel of the Christian religion. The older the better. Now I want just a few words with you to ourselves.
I don’t want any outsiders to hear what I am going to say. I want us to get ahead of all the rest. Now here is our secret. The truth of the matter is that Polk county can be made the best place on the earth to live and we must pin back our ears and roll up our sleeves and make it so—and here is all we have to do to make it so. Listen! We have the same problems to work out that other people down in Alabama have, and that the people down here have, and the very first thing for us and for them is to stop land from washing off towards the ocean every rain that comes we can do that by getting busy right now and cover all gullies and bare places on the farm with brush and weeds while they are green—now is the time of year to do this—RIGHT NOW—and don’t forget nor neglect to do it. I have asked you before to do it; but I fear I’ll go back and find that all have not obeyed me. Then, when we stop all soil from washing away, the next thing is to build up our soil till it will make better crops. To do this we must grow legume crops, such as soy beans, cow peas, velvet beans, crimson clover, bur, red and sweet clover, vetch, etc., and grasses and sod crops to prevent the washing away of our soil.
Now this is not a hard thing to do. The hardest thing in the whole thing is to just make up your minds and be determined to begin it and to keep right on till the thing is accomplished. Then when all the land is saved from washing away and the soil is built up that fine clovers and grasses will grow everywhere, then the thing to do will be to fence off all the land that is steep and set to permanent pasture and put good cattle and sheep on it, and put that part of the farm that is level enough, by proper crop rotation not to wash, in corn, cotton and other cultivated crops, and see how much easier and better the living will come—and then your title will hold your land.
Now, whatever you do, don’t say a word about this little business we have on hand; just get busy. If you talk about it the secret might get out and the farmers over in Rutherford county or down in South Carolina might get busy and beat us—which we must not allow. Now every intelligent farmer in the county knows that these things ought to be done, and that which ought to be done can be done, and what can be done let every farmer in the county do his bit to aid in doing it.