Thursday, July 03, 2014
la-seaman-knapp

Louisiana: Knapp Laid Groundwork for Cooperative Extension

AgFax.Com - Your Online Ag News Source


Seaman Knapp’s legacy goes far beyond the building named after him on LSU’s campus. Through demonstration farms he set up in southwestern Louisiana, Knapp pioneered a system for teaching farmers about modern, research-based techniques, laying the groundwork for Cooperative Extension as it is known today.

Knapp was born in 1833 and grew up on his family’s farm in New York. He studied liberal arts in college and became an instructor and administrator at the Fort Edward Collegiate Institute in New York. In 1866, Knapp moved to a farm in Iowa and worked as a pastor and head of the Iowa State School for the Blind.

 

Knapp suffered an injury and infection that bound him to a wheelchair for eight years. He spent his time reading and became absorbed by agricultural research. An educator at heart, Knapp was interested in how to best train farmers in modern, more effective techniques. In 1876, Knapp began writing articles and giving speeches about progressive methods he tested on his farm, where he raised sheep and pigs.

Knapp’s work led him to Iowa State College of Agriculture in 1879, where he was a professor and set up the first demonstration farm. Inspired by the experiments conducted on the campus farm, Knapp pushed for a bill — later called the Hatch Act of 1887 — that provides federal dollars to create agricultural experiment stations at land-grant colleges.

In the mid-1880s, Knapp relocated to Louisiana. He bought 160 acres of land in southwestern Louisiana, where he founded the town of Vinton. Local farmers relied on traditional methods and tools, offering Knapp a laboratory to test his theories and modernize agriculture in the area. He introduced farmers to upland rice and encouraged them to use the more efficient techniques he developed.

However, many farmers were reluctant to change their ways. Some of those who did struggled with their crops, became discouraged and moved away.

la-seaman-knapp-facebookKnapp, a firm believer in agricultural demonstration, convinced some friends from Iowa to move to Louisiana, establish model farms and help local growers with problems they encountered in the fields. They became the first agriculture extension agents. The rice crop flourished and became the successful major crop it still is today in southwestern Louisiana.

Knapp took this model with him to Texas in the early 1900s, where the boll weevil was wreaking havoc on cotton. Through demonstration, he taught farmers how to protect their crop against the insects and introduced them to alternative crops such as corn and peas.

In 1909, Michigan Congressman James McLaughlin proposed a bill that would give states money to administer extension services like those Knapp modeled through landgrant colleges. There was no role for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in McLaughlin’s bill, which caused debate and eventually the bill’s failure. Knapp died two years later.

This was the Progressive Era, however, and just about every industry was looking for ways to modernize using scientific research.

Three years after Knapp’s death, Sen. Hoke Smith of Georgia and Rep. Frank Lever of South Carolina introduced legislation that partnered the USDA with land-grant universities, creating the Cooperative Extension Service. The federal government appropriates funds matched by states to provide practical, research-based information on agriculture and home economics through county-level extension agents. The Smith-Lever Act became law on May 8, 1914.

(This article was published in the spring 2014 issues of Louisiana Agriculture.)

Tags: , ,


Leave a Reply

Name and Email Address are required fields. Your email will not be published or shared with third parties.

Sunbelt Ag News

    DTN’s Top Ag Stories: Waters of U.S. Rule Creates Stir12-26

    DTN Cotton Open: Ticks Quietly Just Above Unchanged12-26

    U.S. Grain Transportation: Corn Inspections Highest Since October12-26

    U.S. Energy: Gasoline Prices Move with Brent Prices, Not WTI Prices12-26

    Gasoline Prices: Drop Another 15 Cents12-26

    Propane Stocks: Decrease by 0.5M Barrels12-26

    Diesel Prices: Average Drops 14 Cents12-26

    DTN Livestock Open: Cattle Paper to Start Higher12-26

    DTN Grain Open: Markets Closed Overnight12-26

    Timing, Restraint are Keys in Fungicide Efficacy, Data Show — DTN12-26

    Crop Tech: Ag Robot Research; Toxic Weed Benefits; Wheat App — DTN12-26

    Keith Good: Grain Exports from Russia Grind to Halt, Reports Say12-26

    DTN Livestock Midday: Cash Cattle Trade Supports Futures12-24

    DTN Grain Midday: Wheat Plunges, Leads Trade Lower12-24

    DTN’s Top Ag Stories: Resistant Weed Worries Spread12-24

    DTN’s Top Ag Stories: Obama Issues Immigration Order12-24

    DTN’s Top Ag Stories: Brazil, Argentina Produce More Soybeans12-24

    DTN Livestock Close: Short Covering Moves Lean Hogs Higher12-23

    Doane Cotton Close: Prices Drop in Final Minutes of Trade12-23

    DTN Cotton Close: Mixed as March Slips12-23

    AFB Grain-Soybean Close: Wheat, Corn Move Higher, Soybeans End Mixed12-23

    AFB Cotton Close: Market Turns Slightly Lower12-23

    AFB Rice Close: Futures Slightly Higher12-23

    Shurley on Cotton: Crop Insurance, Marketing Advice for 201512-23

    USDA: Weekly National Peanut Prices12-23

    DTN Grain Close: Wheat Advances In Light Trading Session12-23

    DTN Fertilizer Trends: Urea Price Shows Some Weakening12-23

    Iowa Survey: Weed Resistance Seen as Daunting Problem — DTN12-23

    RMA Records Can be Easiest Option for Updating Farm Yields12-23

    Arkansas: Pinnacle Ag Acquires Gillett Grain12-23

    Senate Passes Barge Tax to Fund Waterway Repairs – DTN12-22

    Farm Shops: Small Size Can Still Tackle Big Work Orders – DTN12-22

    It’s Official: Viptera Trait in Corn, DDGs Approved by China — DTN12-22

    Welch on Grain: Corn Acres Projected at 88M in 201512-22

    Welch on Wheat: Prices Respond to Russia Uncertainty12-22

    Louisiana Rice: 6 Producer Meetings Slated for January, February12-22

    Flint on Crops: Memories of Country Christmases Rekindle the Spirit12-22

    DTN Livestock Close: Cattle Futures Rebound With Triple-Digit Gains12-19

    Doane Cotton Close: Another Choppy Week Ends Slightly Ahead12-19

    Mississippi Crop Values to Top $7B for 3rd Straight Year12-19

    Alfalfa: Dupont Pioneer Sells Alfalfa Seed Biz To S&W12-19

    Sunbelt Ag Events

    Rice News

     

    About Us

    AgFax.Com covers agricultural trends and production topics, with an emphasis on news about cotton, rice, peanuts, corn, soybeans, wheat and tree crops, including almonds, pecans, walnuts and pistachios.

      

    This site also serves as the on-line presence of electronic crop and pest reports published by AgFax Media LLC (formerly Looking South Communications).

        

    Click here to subscribe to our free reports.

      

    We provide early warnings and confirmations about pests, diseases and other factors that influence yield. Our goal is to quickly provide farmers and crop advisors with information needed to make better and more profitable decisions.

         

    Our free weekly crop and pest advisories include:

    • AgFax Midsouth Cotton, covering cotton production and news in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Missouri.

    • AgFax Southeast Cotton, covering cotton production and news in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

    • AgFax Southwest Cotton (new for 2013!), covering cotton production and news in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico.

    • AgFax West (formerly MiteFax: SJV Cotton), covering California cotton, alfalfa, tomatoes and other non-permanent crops in California's Central Valley.

    • AgFax Rice covering rice production and news in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas.

    • AgFax Peanuts, covering peanut production in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

    • AgFax Southern Grain: covering soybeans, corn, milo and small grains in Southern states.

    • AgFax Almonds, covering almonds, pistachios, walnuts and other tree crops in California's Central Valley.

    • AgCom 101, providing guidance to ag professionals involved in social media.

    Our newsletters are sponsored by the following companies: FMC Corporation Chemtura Dow AgroSciences.

          

    Mission statement:

    Make it as easy as possible for our community of readers to find and/or receive needed information.

              

    Contact Information:

    AgFax Media. LLC

    142 Westlake Drive Brandon, MS 39047

    601-992-9488 Office 601-992-3503 Fax

    Owen Taylor Debra L. Ferguson Laurie Courtney

          

    Circulation Questions?

    Contact Laurie Courtney