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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/789

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THE WHEAT PROBLEM AGAIN.

13.4 bushels per acre from 143,000 square miles of land will be met by the cultivation of not exceeding 700,000 square miles out of 2,000,000 available.

I should not venture to question the conclusions emanating from the Department of Agriculture, or the deductions of so eminent a scientist as Sir William Crookes, had I not taken the usual precaution of a business man in studying a business question. I went to the men who know the subject as well as the figures on which statistics are to be compiled.

Being supplied by the Popular Science Monthly with one hundred proofs of the first nine and a half pages of the December article in which the terms of the problem are stated, I sent those proofs to the chiefs of the experiment stations and to the secretaries of agriculture in all the States from which any considerable product of wheat is now or may be hereafter derived; also to many makers of wheat harvesters; to the secretaries of Chambers of Commerce, and to several economic students in the wheat-growing States. This preliminary study was accompanied by the following circular of inquiry:

 

Boston, Mass., October 5, 1898.

To the Chiefs of the Agricultural Experiment Stations and others in Authority:

Calling your attention to the inclosed advance sheets of an article which will by and by appear in the Popular Science Monthly, I beg to put to you certain questions.

If the matter interests you, will you kindly fill up the blanks below and let me have your replies within the present month of October, to the end that I may compile them and give a digest of the results? I shall state in the article that I am indebted to you and others for the information submitted.

Area of the State of . . . . . . . . . . square miles.

1. What proportion of this area do you believe to be arable land of fair quality, including pasture that might be put under the plow?

Answer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . square miles.

2. What proportion is now in forest or mountain sections which may not be available for agriculture for a long period?

Answer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . square miles.

3. What has been done or may be done by irrigation?

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