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LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
BUREAU OF EDUCATION,
Washington, January 12, 1916. Sir: The extension of agricultural education in this country and the desire to make instruction in agriculture at the same time more practical and also more cultural give special interest to accounts of the organization, courses of study, and methods of instruction in agricultural schools in other countries. I therefore recommend that the accompanying brief account of secondary agricultural schools in Russia be published as a bulletin of the Bureau of Education. This account has been prepared by W. S. Jesien, translator of Slavic languages in this bureau. Respectfully submitted.
P. P. CLAXTON,
Commissioner. The SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.
SECONDARY AGRICULTURAL SCHOOLS IN RUSSIA.
In a country where 80 per cent of the people are engaged in farming it is but natural to expect that the agricultural schools should play an important part in the general system of education. The methods of farming employed by the Russian peasant are very primitive, and one of the gravest concerns of the Russian Government is the low productivity of farming, owing to the crude methods of cultivation generally in use.
The Russian peasant, contrary to what might be expected from the enormous area and sparse population of the Empire, is generally a small farmer. All the farming land in European Russia is already either in private hands or under Government reservation, and the only part open to settlement is in distant Siberia, famous for blinding snowstorms, howling wolves, and fierce Mongolian tribes, but comprising very fertile areas.
In order to subsist on his small farm the peasant must employ the modern methods of intensive farming. The urgency of this question is emphasized by terrible famines that affect one or several agricultural districts of Russia almost every year.
To promote the adoption of modern methods of farming by the peasants the Government, aided by provincial authorities, communal organizations, and educational societies, exercises ever increasing activity. Agricultural banks, offering the small farmers an easy and low interest credit, have been established in all the farming districts. Agricultural machines are rented to the peasants, and grain elevators and agricultural stores are supplied in all parts of the country.
Experimental fields where the peasants can observe the results obtained by better methods of cultivation are maintained in numerous districts of the Empire, and agricultural experts are stationed throughout the country to advise the peasants in all matters pertaining to cultivation. Popular lectures on agriculture and related subjects are also arranged in villages, and the lecturers often travel over a wide stretch of country. As a distinctive factor in the technical development of agriculture in Russia should be mentioned the large