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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/793

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769
THE WHEAT PROBLEM AGAIN.

old practice of maltreating-land, and to the renovation of soils that had been partially exhausted. Governor Henry A. Wise, of Virginia, long since condemned the old methods of Southern agriculture by telling his hearers, "The niggers skinned the land and the white men skinned the niggers." We are changing all that by new and progressive methods. I hope that in this recognition of the work of the experiment stations I shall have made some return for the attention which has been given to my inquiry by so many of my correspondents that the space assigned me forbids a list of my authorities being given by name.

When the suggestion is made from the Department of Agriculture that all that science has yet accomplished has been to stop a tendency to a lessened production from the land now under the plow, and when it is even suggested that in 1930 the present meager average of crops per acre may still exist, it seems to me that little credit is given to the good work already accomplished in the short period in which the separate Department of Agriculture has been represented in the Cabinet, especially in the last five or six years, while the suggestion itself shows very little consideration of the great work of the experiment stations.

Unless it can be proved that my correspondents and myself have entered into a conspiracy to mislead the public in dealing with the potential of this country in wheat production, nearly all the deductions from the figures of the past must be considered mere statistical rubbish. These statistics cover sections and States in which wheat should never be grown or attempted in competition with the true wheat soils and climate. As well might misplaced iron furnaces, built to boom city lots where there are no favorable conditions for the production of iron, be included in an average and held up as a standard of our potential in iron and steel production.

In my efforts to discover the rule of progress in the arts and occupations of the people of this country, it has become plain that in ratio to the application of science and invention to every art the quantity of product is increased, the number of workmen is relatively' diminished, the price of the product tends to diminish, while the wages or earnings of those who do the work are augmented. I have investigated many branches of industry, and find evidence conclusive to my own mind that such is the law of industrial development. This rule is subject to temporary variations under the restriction of statutes. In my own judgment, the so-called protective principle or policy of interference with commerce by imposing fines on foreign imports has retarded the progress of the specially protected arts, and has in some measure obstructed the diversity of manufactures; but the opposite policy of absolutely free trade in