National Geographic : 1911 Jul
From Yearbook, Department of Agriculture, 1909 HOW TO MAKE A FARMER: THE BOY WHO GREW THE CORN SHOWN IS STANDING IN HIS DEMONSTRATION PATCH BOYS' AND GIRLS' AGRICULTURAL CLUBS T HERE have been few develop ments in recent years of greater educational interest and value than the work done by associations of boys and girls in agricultural and domestic-art undertakings. As a rule these have had their beginning in some form of com petitive contest for special occasions or awards. Thus we find clubs for corn growing, cotton growing, potato grow ing, fruit growing, poultry growing, live stock study, bird study, home culture, and high-school improvement. All of these have been more or less agricultural in their general character. To any who are unacquainted with the nature of such clubs, it may be explained that a corn-growing club is an association of boys, who enter into a competition to determine which can grow the most or the best corn on a certain area of ground under definite rules of planting, cultiva tion, and exhibit of their product. A cotton-growing club would undertake a similar competition in producing the best yield of cotton under prescribed condi tions. For girls these contests have fre- quently taken the form of bread making, sewing, or joint contests with boys in gardening or poultry raising. The members of such clubs have been led to observe more closely; to recognize good and bad qualities in the products they have grown, and in the insects, fungi, and other various conditions af fecting their work. They have learned something of the value of labor, the cost of production, and the keeping of simple accounts with different farm and house hold affairs; they have been encouraged to read good literature, and have learned some of the sources of good agricultural literature. They have learned the value of organ ized effort, of co-operation, and of com promise; and the social instinct has been developed in them-a matter of great importance in rural districts, where the isolated condition of the people has long been a great hindrance to progress. The influence upon the communities at large-the parents as well as the chil dren-has been wholesome. Beginning with an awakening interest in one thing better seed corn, for example-communi ties have rapidly extended their interests to other features of rural improvement.