Image from page 320 of "The story of agriculture in the United States" (1916)
Publisher: Boston, New York [etc.] D. C. Heath and co
Contributing Library: The Library of Congress
Digitizing Sponsor: Sloan Foundation
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ent abroad to find theenemies of various diseases, several of which were men-tioned in a previous chapter (p. 298). On the bordersof our country the governments agents stand ready toinspect all importations of plants, lest diseases should bebrought in. One branch of this Bureaus work — that of explora-tion and plant introduction — is the natural outgrowthof the governments first efforts to aid agriculture. Itwill be remembered that, in 1836, officers residing abroadwere asked to send home the seeds of plants that mightprove to be adapted to this country. Now the govern-ment is not satisfied with this simple and haphazard wayof obtaining new plants. Instead, it sends experts tothe four corners of the globe to find such plants. More-over, these exploring agents are not sent aimlessly, buteach with a special mission, to find particular plants theneed for which has already been felt in some part ofthe United States. Of course, incidentally, many other THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE 311
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Durum Wheat plants are also procured. Most interesting have beenthe adventures of these explorers; some have enduredsevere hardships, even risking their lives, and have hadto exercise the greatest skill in order to accompHshtheir difficult tasks. For in some foreign countries, andamong some uncivil-ized peoples, their workis looked upon withsuspicion, and obsta-cles are placed in theirway. One of the first ofthese plant explorers.Prof. N. E. Hanson,was sent to Europe and Asia to obtain plants thatwould flourish in the dry soils and cold climate of ourFar West. The alfalfa originally grown in this countryhad been bred in southern Europe and brought byway of Mexico to Southern California; it would not en-dure all cUmates. As a result of importation, we nowhave alfalfa that is drought proof. In the same way,durum, or macaroni, wheat was secured from Russia andSiberia. This is so exactly suited to the great wheatgrowing regions of the Northwest that within five yearsafter its introduction
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