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- Community Civics and Rural Life - 40/88 -

The Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture.

A description of your state forests (if any).

Forestry in your own state, public and private.

Losses from forest fires in your state.

The life of a forest ranger.

The use of the farm woodlot in your locality.

The extent and effects of soil erosion in your locality or state. Measures taken to prevent it.

The feasibility of "gully clubs" in your locality.

The mineral resources of your state. Uses in war and peace.

Game laws of your state.



Series A: Lesson 13, The United States Food Administration. Lesson 14, Substitute Foods.

Series B: Lesson 5, Saving the soil. Lesson 6, Making dyes from coal tar. Lesson 9, How men made heat to work. Lesson 13, The Department of the Interior.

Series C: Lesson 4, Petroleum and its uses. Lesson 5, Conservation as exemplified by irrigation projects. Lesson 6, Checking waste in the production and use of coal. Lesson 10, Iron and steel. Lesson 14, The United States Fuel Administration. Lesson 16, The Commercial Economy Board of the Council of National Defense.

Reports of your State Agricultural College and Experiment Station, and of your State Geologist and other officers having to do with the natural resources of your state.

Annual Reports of the Secretary of the Interior. That for 1915 (pp. 1-30) contains an interesting review of our natural resources and their use; also (pp. 151-209) a comprehensive and interesting discussion of our mineral resources and their development. That for 1918 contains an account of the plan for land reclamation by and for soldiers.

Publications of the Geological Survey, the Bureau of Mines, and the Reclamation Service (all in the Department of the Interior), and of the Bureau of Fisheries (Department of Commerce).

Publications of the Forestry Service (Department of Agriculture).

Among the numerous publications of the Department of Agriculture may be mentioned:

Farmers' Bulletin 340(Declaration of Governors for the conservation of natural resources).

The National Forests and the farmer, YEAR BOOK 1914, 65-88.

Importance of developing our natural resources of potash, YEAR BOOK 1916, pp. 301-310.

Agriculture and Government reclamation projects, YEAR BOOK 1916, 177-198.

Farms, forests, and erosion, YEAR BOOK 1916, 107-134.

The farm woodlot problem, YEAR BOOK 1914, 439-456.

Economy of farm drainage, YEAR BOOK 1914, 245-256.

Economic waste from soil erosion, YEAR BOOK 1913, 207-220.

Unprofitable acres, YEAR BOOK 1915, 147-154.

Consult "Guide to United States Government Publications," U.S. Bureau of Education Bulletin, 1918, No. 2; also, "The Federal Executive Departments as Sources of Information," U.S. Bureau of Education Bulletin, 1919, No. 74.

Report of the National Conservation Commission (1909), Senate Document 676, 60th Congress, 2nd Session.




There is nothing more discouraging than to have the product of one's labor swept away by disaster. The farmer who has every prospect of a bumper crop after a hard season's work may have his hope dashed by smut in his grain, or by a visitation of grasshoppers, or by storm and flood. Cholera may carry off his hogs, or hoof-and-mouth disease his cattle. Rats and other rodents may eat his grain. Fire may destroy his barn or his home. The thief may steal his pocketbook or his automobile. His investments may prove unfortunate, or be swept away by somebody's bad management or fraud. Some thoughtless boys or deliberate vandals may ruin in a few minutes a beautiful lawn or trees that have taken years to grow and have involved great expense and effort.


The individual's loss is also a loss to the community. It is reported by the Department of Agriculture that nearly $800,000,000 damage was done to crops by insects in a single year. Animal diseases cause a direct loss to our country estimated at $212,000,000 annually. Hog cholera alone costs $75,000,000 a year. Smut destroys more than $50,000,000 a year in cereals. Food and feed products to the value of $150,000,000 a year are destroyed by prairie dogs, ground squirrels, and other rodents. It is said that prairie dogs often take half the pasturage of western cattle ranges. It is estimated that the killing of wolves, coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, and lynxes saved more than $2,000,000 worth of livestock in 1918. Floods have destroyed $100,000,000 in property in the Mississippi Valley alone.

The loss from fire in the United States is said to equal the value of our total product of gold, silver, copper, and petroleum.

The buildings consumed by fire in 1914, if placed on lots of 65 feet frontage, would line both sides of a street extending from New York to Chicago. A person journeying along this street of desolation would pass in every thousand feet a ruin from which an injured person was taken. At every three fourths of a mile in this journey he would encounter the charred remains of a human being who has been burned to death. [Footnote: "The Fire Tax and Waste of Structural Materials in the United States," Bulletin 814, U. S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior.]


Protection against loss of property is one of the chief services performed for us by our government. We have already noted in Chapter XII what a great deal of work both the national and state governments are doing to prevent loss of crops and of livestock from disease, insects, and other causes. What this may mean to the individual farmer and to the country is suggested by the case of a farmer who had hundreds of acres of corn destroyed in some manner unknown to him. A single visit from a representative of the Department of Agriculture showed him the cause of the trouble, the corn rootworm, and how it could be eradicated by a simple rotation of crops. The farmer said that this knowledge would save him $10,000 a year.


The state and national governments spend a great deal of money in equipping experimental laboratories and employing scientists to seek out these enemies of the farmer and of the nation, to find methods of destroying them or counteracting their effects, and to advise the farmer how he may protect himself and his neighbors. While the government provides leadership in these matters, it depends upon the cooperation of the people to get results, as we have seen in so many cases. A farmer may destroy all the rats, or ground squirrels, or prairie dogs on his place, but the trouble will be repeated unless there is community cooperation. The same thing is true of animal and plant diseases, insect enemies, and so on.

Investigate and report on:

Further facts regarding losses to farmers of the United States due to insect and bird enemies, predatory animals, animal and plant diseases.

Similar losses in your own state.

Estimated losses of individual farmers in your locality from any of these causes.

The value of insect-eating birds as property savers.

Campaigns against rabbits and prairie dogs in the West.

Bounties on wolves and other predatory animals in your state.

The work of your state experiment station to prevent loss of property.


Some kinds of protection require effort beyond the powers of individual citizens, or even of combined citizen action. This is the case with flood protection. Millions of dollars in property have been destroyed, thousands of lives lost, and untold suffering caused by the periodic recurrence of floods in certain sections of

Community Civics and Rural Life - 40/88

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