Farmers' Institutes.The development of the farmers' institute is due in a great measure to the Morrill land grant bill of 1862, though the foundation had been laid in the various agricultural societies that had been organized prior to the passage of the bill. Little was accomplished, however, until after the Civil war. The object of the institute is to bring together the workers and investigators in the science of agriculture on the one hand, and the actual farmers on the other, in order that the practical knowledge gained by the former may be imparted to and applied by the latter. Farmers' institutes are generally held in connection with or under the auspices of the state agricultural college or some experiment station.
Kansas was one of the first states to hold a farmers' institute in connection with the agricultural college. That was in the winter of 1869, and the institute was attended by about 40 persons. The following year about 400 were in attendance. For several years the progress in organizing county and district institutes was comparatively slow, but in time the progressive element among the farmers learned that much useful and valuable information could be gained by association with those who studied agriculture from a scientific point of view. The act of March 13, 1903, provided that "whenever any county farmers' institute shall have elected a president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer and adopted a constitution and by-laws for its government, it shall be the duty of the county commissioners of such county to appropriate annually the sum of $50, or so much thereof as may be necessary, to defray the expenses of a two-days institute," etc.
This gave an impetus to the movement, and within a few years institutes were organized in all parts of the state. On March 4, 1909, Gov. Stubbs approved an act limiting the appropriation to one dollar for each bona fide member who is a resident farmer, and authorized the commissioners to appropriate $15 for a one-day institute (not a county institute), not more than six such institutes to be held in any one county. This act repealed the law of 1903. All county institutes are required by law to hold a two-day meeting each year, while local institutes are required to hold only a one-day meeting. Fall circuits are established, and no county institutes are held until after the local institutes. At the institutesboth local and countyexhibits of bread, canned fruit and agricultural products are generally made, and subjects relating to farming are discussed. In Aug., 1910, there were 282 farmers' institute organizations in the state, with a membership of over 10,000. A year later there were 340 organizationsmore than were reported in any other statewith 680 active officers, and a corresponding increase in the general membership.Pages 631-632 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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