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

    Texas Rice: Section 18 Requires More Work Than You Might Think – Mo Way3-27

    Farmland Partners Buys 15,000 Row Crop Acres In Carolinas, Virginia3-27

    Rice Market: Export Pace Continues Strong, Still Not Much Planting3-27

    Rose on Cotton: Don’t Miss an Opportunity. Get Short Terms in Place.3-27

    Video: 8 Need-to-know Things About Southern Grain3-27

    Cover Crops: What’s the Cost? Online Tool Helps Figure it Out.3-27

    DTN Livestock Close: Hogs Cautious Ahead of Reports3-27

    ARC-PLC Deadline Extension: 77% of Farmers Have Made a Decision – DTN3-27

    Soybeans: What Inputs Can You Cut Back? 5 Main Choices. – DTN3-27

    Cleveland On Cotton: “December has 70-cents-plus written all over it.”3-27

    Texas: Feral Hog, Predator Management Workshop, Rocksprings, April 243-27

    Weekly Cotton Market Review – USDA3-27

    DTN Cotton Close: Light Volume with Outside Support3-27

    DTN Grain Close: Market Concerns Over Tuesday’s Reports3-27

    Video: 13 Best Practices to Manage Tarnished Plant Bugs3-27

    Peanut Stocks: Utilization Up 7% Over Last Year3-27

    USDA: Peanut Price Highlights3-27

    Soybeans: How Has Chinese Demand Impacted the Market? – farmdoc3-27

    Oklahoma City Farm Show, April 3-53-27

    Texas: Hale and Swisher Crops Conference, Plainview, April 143-27

    Louisiana: Soybean Board Awards LSU $1.9M for Soy Research3-27

    DTN Livestock Midday: Cattle Complex Gains Strength3-27

    DTN Grain Midday: Market Indices Higher3-27

    Base Acres and ARC-PLC Deadline Extended to April 7 – No Surprise Here.3-27

    Mississippi: Students Learn Soil Management, Conservation by Getting Down in the Dirt3-27

    Estate Planning: Farmers Gift the Farm to Their Rural Community – DTN3-27

    Southern Corn: Wide Delays Continue, How Late Can You Go? – AgFax3-27

    Corn Maybe Has More Bullish Potential Than Beans Ahead Of USDA Projections3-27

    DTN Cotton Open: Little Change on Thin Volume3-27

    Georgia: Wheat Leaf Rust Detected, May Want to Check the Field3-27

    DTN Livestock Open: Limited Feedlot Offerings3-27

    DTN Grain Open: Pressure By Rally in the U.S. Dollar Index3-27

    Death Tax: South Dakota Congressman Pushes Repeal, Tells Her Story – Video3-26

    Environmental Group Questions USDA’s Science Integrity – DTN3-26

    Making Money With Manure, Advantages of Composting and Additives – DTN3-26

    Chumrau on Wheat: Where More Rain is Needed to Make the HRW Crop3-26

    Texas Wheat: Concho, McCulloch Counties Wheat Tour, Millersview, April 303-26

    Sorghum: Why It’s South China’s Hottest Import Grain – DTN3-26

    ELS Cotton Competitive Payment Rate Is Zero3-26

    Moving Grain: Ohio River Barge Traffic Improves3-26

    Video: Summary of U.S. Drought Monitor in One Minute3-26

    Drought Monitor: Warm, Dry Weather Further Depletes Snowpacks3-26

    Wheat Yields: What to Expect? A Historical Perspective – farmdoc3-26

    Oklahoma: Ag Pesticide Disposal, Purcell, April 223-26

    Residential Propane, Heating Oil: Prices Decrease3-26

    Diesel: Prices Decrease3-26

    Gasoline: Prices Up Slightly3-26

    U.S. Energy: Gasoline Specifications Change and So Does the Price3-26

    Midwest Soybean Plantings Up If Weather Delays Continue – DTN3-26

    New Swine Census Expected to be Full of “Oopsies” – DTN3-26

    Grain TV: Increased Ethanol Production3-25

    Michigan: 31 Counties Designated Natural Disaster Areas3-25

    Oklahoma: Payne County Designated Natural Disaster Area3-25

    Marketing: Are You Really Getting the Best Price for Your Crop? – farmdoc3-25

    Spray Drift: Checking Wind Speed Isn’t Enough – DTN3-25

    Irrigation – Moisture Sensors Pay Dividends, Says This Consultant (Podcast)3-25

    Illinois Soybean Farmers Asked to Complete Online Survey3-25

    Grain TV: Improved Crop Conditions in Southern Plains3-24

    AFB Grain-Soybean Close: Dollar Support Gives Way3-24

    AFB Cotton Close: Dec. Holds Above 643-24

    AFB Rice Close: Unable to Hold Daily Highs3-24

    Welch on Wheat: Crop Conditions Continue to Improve3-24

    California Tree Crops: 12 Quick Things To Know This Week (Video)3-24

    Welch on Grain: Fewer Corn Acres, More Soybeans Expected in USDA Reports3-24

    Peanuts: Southern Growers Conference Set For July 23-253-24

    Farm Bill: USDA Seeks to Limit Payments to Non-Farmers3-24

    Planting: 11 Maintenance Steps for Your Planter3-24

    Crop Production Forecast: Needing a Clearer Crystal Ball – USDA Blog3-24

    USDA: Weekly National Peanut Prices3-24

    Non-Family Farm Managers: Proof Required for Program Payments, 2016 – DTN3-24

    DTN Fertilizer Trends: Price Stability Could Be an Illusion3-24

    Avian Flu Prevention is the Best Form of Poultry Protection – DTN3-24

    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

    Owen Taylor Debra L. Ferguson Laurie Courtney

          

    Circulation Questions?

    Contact Laurie Courtney +