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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/173

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UNITED STATES' WHEAT-GROWING CAPACITY.

good wheat land; wheat is fast becoming a cash crop, displacing cotton—the capacity of a considerable part of the land at the beginning being forty bushels to the acre, which, being much better than five-cent cotton, is leading the farmers to take advantage of existing prices."

Time has not sufficed since my questions were sent out for replies to reach me from Oregon, Washington, and Montana, where the potential in wheat production is probably equal to that of Minnesota, North and South Dakota combined.

Sir William Crookes makes reference to the future necessity of providing fertilizers, a matter to which the closest attention is now being given by the cultivation of renovating crops. But regard must be given to the fact that we have the most complete and adequate supply of phosphate of lime and phosphate of potash in the vast deposits of bone or mineral phosphates of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Florida, while again we may look to nitrate of soda as a very inexpensive source of nitrogen, of which the most adequate supply can be assured at very low cost. Known methods are also being applied to saving the enormous waste of nitrogen from our coke ovens and iron furnaces.

I almost feel it right to apologize to Sir William Crookes for the presentation of these facts. My function is that of the practical business man who deals with these economic problems wholly from that point of view, and not from the high standard of a complete mastery of the physical sciences.

As I have stated, I happen to have dealt with this question several times at meetings of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, and in other ways in Great Britain as. well as in this country. I deem it of the utmost importance at the present time that the interdependence of the English-speaking people should be brought into view in the mast conspicuous manner. In their relative production and conditions the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the United States are the complement of each other. Their mutual relation or interdependence is now being recognized, and it can not be long before many of the legal obstructions to mutual service will be removed. The people of this country are now passing through a stage in their economic education closely corresponding to that through which Great Britain passed between 1840 and 1856 under the wise leadership of Sir Robert Peel, Richard Cobden, and William E. Gladstone. We move more quickly, not only in acts but in ideas, than we did fifty years ago. The revolution of ideas which has followed the revolution of institutions in the Southern States has made the people of this country into one homogeneous nation. A revolution of ideas in regard to the conditions of interna-