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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/235

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FOREIGN AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION.

six; three veterinary schools; and one each, bearing the name of National Agronomic Institute, is a shepherd school, a cheese, and a silkworm school. In the universities are no less than 160 departments and chairs of agriculture for students of profoundest research. All this costs the departments alone over 4,504,050 francs per annum.

In Prussian Germany no less activity is displayed or energy put forth to make the farmer's occupation one of financial profit and scientific status. Statistics for 1897 are at hand in the report of the Prussian Minister of Agriculture. The German system is based on the theory that schools and colleges are the only places where theoretical agriculture can be properly taught. Few of the higher agricultural schools first established were exclusively such. A liberal education could be obtained at most of them without touching the subject of agriculture. Later educators have developed a system which begins by fostering a love for Nature in the minds of the pupils in the kindergarten, and patiently develops that love through all the dozen or more grades of schools until it culminates in the polytechnic school or the degree granted by the university.

Germany is indebted to the learned Professor Thaer for the establishment of its first agricultural school at Möglin in 1807. But more than all is she, in common with all the world, indebted to the famous chemist Baron von Liebig, who, in 1840, announced the scientific truth which underlies all arguments for agricultural education—viz., that no matter how impoverished a soil is naturally, or has become by excessive cropping, its fertility may be restored, maintained, and even increased by providing it with the mineral and organic matter which it lacks.

Prussian agricultural affairs are under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture, Domains, and Forests. The state maintains three grades of schools—higher, middle, and lower—as in other European countries. The most celebrated are the Royal Agricultural High Schools at Berlin and Popplesdorf, two royal academies of forestry, and the university courses in agriculture at Halle, Göttingen, Königsberg, Leipsic, Giessen, and Jena. The state expends something like two hundred thousand dollars annually on agricultural education. In Germany agricultural education has so broadened out as to include training in every technical part of a farmer's work—culture of forests, fruits, flowers, and vines; schools to teach wine, cider, and beer making, machine repairing, engine running, barn construction, and surveying; knowledge of poultry, bees, and silkworm raising; domestic economy, sewing, and accounts for farm women—all in addition to the long scientific