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drainage and irrigation and taught the subject to the students under the name of agricultural physics. In 1898 the Legislature of Illinois appropriated money for a building for farm mechanics and since that time a course in farm mechanics has been offered at that institution and instruction given in setting up farm machinery and similar subjects.
The North Dakota Agricultural College has for a number of years maintained a similar course in farm mechanics, and has had the coöperation of farm implement salesmen who come to the college and give talks to the students, explaining the construction of the machines which they sell, by having the machines brought right into the class-room before the students.
The University of Wisconsin has received a state appropriation of $15,000 for a farm engineering building, which is being erected and a department of farm engineering has been put in charge of a man to teach the subject.
The Minnesota College of Agriculture has obtained an appropriation of $5,000 for a building for its course in rural engineering, and the officers of the state fair have granted the college the use of a large pavilion in which machines loaned by the manufacturers are to be housed for instructional purposes.
The Iowa Agricultural College at Ames has, however, made the largest progress in the establishment of a complete course in agricultural engineering. A very substantial building, four stories high, has been erected. The building is constructed of brick, stone and steel, and is fireproof throughout. The cost, including heating and plumbing, furniture and other equipment, is between $65,000 and $70,000.
The course, as outlined, extends over three years, beginning with the sophomore college year. All students in the agricultural courses are required to take one year in farm mechanics, which embraces the study of the elementary principles and practice of tile drainage, road construction, irrigation, farm implements of all kinds, farm motors, such as gasoline engines, traction engines and separators, carpentry, blacksmithing, horseshoeing, mechanical drawing, farm building construction, etc. In no other institution are all these courses brought together under one head. While instruction is usually given in carpentry and blacksmithing in most agricultural colleges, it is usually given in the engineering courses, and it is feared too much attention is given to the manual training style of instruction and not enough attention paid to the actual requirements of farm students. In Iowa these subjects are given the attention which they merit. The boys are not making “play things" but are making neck yokes, whiffletrees, wagon tongues and racks, fence gates, windows, doors, etc. In the blacksmith shop they are ironing the articles made in the wood shop, and are taught how to set wagon tires, sharpen plow lays, rectify horse shoes, shoe horses and do the actual repair work of farm machinery. In the machine operation rooms the students are taught how to set up and adjust binders, mowers, corn harvesters, shredders, drills, etc.
The binder attachments and knotters are stripped to the frame and are rebuilt by the students, after which they are put on the “try off rack” and are put in motion. Straw is put through them and tied into bundles. If, for any reason, the machines do not “tie," the students have to adjust the machines until they work properly.
In the junior and senior years elective and advanced courses are offered. The various subjects of agricultural engineering, drainage, irrigation, machine design and building construction, as well as other subjects, are offered.
Other colleges, such as the Agricultural Colleges of Indiana, New York, Ohio and California, are now organizing courses along similar lines. While several different names have been used in connection with the instruction of the fragments of such a course, such as agricultural physics, farm mechanics, rural engineering, farm engineering, etc., yet a complete course of this kind should naturally be called agricultural engineering.
In each case where instruction of this nature is now carried on in the colleges it has been inaugurated as a branch of instruction in agronomy. While this may answer as a beginning, the importance of the allied branches of rural engineering taken together entitles it to be made an independent department of instruction, having equal rank with agronomy or animal industry as they have been established in a number of institutions. The work done so far is only preliminary to work that may follow in the near future.
The opportunities for professional agricultural engineers are as numerous as in any of the leading professions. With the advent of the large irrigation developments of the west and the large drainage projects of the Mississippi Valley, there will be need of men who are trained in agriculture as well as in engineering lines. Men who understand soil conditions and the best requirements for farm crops and who at the same time know how to plan a system of tile drains and open ditches, or who can plan the distribution of the irrigation water for a given district will be very much in demand.
The westward movement of population has been the cause of taking up for settlement all the land that is available for easy cultivation. What remains has to be redeemed for agricultural purposes by more expensive methods of irrigation. For this purpose there is great need of the agricultural engineer and such men can be trained only in agricultural engineering courses of our land grant colleges.
The good roads movement is spreading rapidly and in many states are now established state highway commissions. There is need of men in this service who have training in road construction and who understand how to construct dirt roads as well as macadam and who know how to operate road machinery to the best advantage.
The manufacture of farm implements and farm motors has assumed such prominent proportions that it is no longer possible for the manufacturers to employ the kind of men which they have had in the past for designers and experimenters. What they need is men trained along agricultural lines who have had experience in farm implement designing; the construction and operation of agricultural implements. In other words, men who understand agricultural requirements and who can design the machines to meet these requirements. Such training can only be obtained in a course in agricultural engineering.
There is a rapid development in the line of farm architecture. As the country is being settled it becomes quite important that farm buildings should be carefully planned, nicely arranged and well constructed.
With the scarcity and high price of lumber, cement and concrete are coming quite extensively into use for farm building purposes. Men who understand how to plan and execute work in farm architecture, are very much in demand. This training can only be obtained in an agricultural engineering course.
Thus it may be seen that the field of agricultural engineering is a broad one. A complete course of agricultural engineering, therefore, should include courses in field engineering, drainage, irrigation and road construction, farm machinery, farm motors, farm architecture and farm implement designing, as well as a good share of research and experimental work. It should also include the agricultural courses in farm crops, soil physics, farm management, with some dairying, animal husbandry and horticulture, as well as the usual cultural and scientific studies included in other college
DISCUSSION. PROFESSOR M. S. KETCHUM: The speaker doubts the propriety of trying to teach more than the elements of drawing, surveying and shop practice in agricultural
The preliminary training in mathematics in an agricultural course is insufficient, and any attempt to teach the designing of machinery will be a farce.
DEAN TURNEAURE: I think an elementary course in mechanics, designed especially for their needs, would be a good thing, and if well taught would assist them