The Farmers Institute Train
On this date in 1912, the Wahpeton Times announced that the Farmers Institute Train was scheduled to arrive at the Northern Pacific depot the following day. Sponsored by the North Dakota Agricultural College, the train was described as a farm institute on wheels. It was scheduled to stop at 42 towns in 16 days.
Founded in 1890, NDAC was established as North Dakota’s land grand college. The college was at the forefront of agricultural research. But it was difficult for residents across the state to take advantage of that research. The train was intended to resolve that problem, bringing the school’s research to rural residents.
Professor T.A. Hoverstad was in charge of the project. It included livestock exhibits of poultry, sheep, horses, cattle, and pigs. One car was devoted to dairy, while another was focused on veterinary care. Other exhibits involved soil, seeds, chemistry, and horticulture. Planners were aware that women would be in attendance, so the train also included subjects of interest to the farm wife. In all, 22 lecturers would be available to share their knowledge.
Each car housed a different topic. The horticulture car displayed fruit and shade trees along with charts indicating which tree grew best in different conditions. The home economics car would include needlework, electric irons, and modern cooking utensils. Visitors would be educated about crop rotation, building a modern chicken coop, and maintaining moisture by using mulch.
Other towns were equally enthusiastic about the Farmers Institute Train. The Jamestown Weekly of the same date urged local residents to take advantage of a wonderful – and free – opportunity when the train arrived on June 15th. It was suggested that anyone attending should bring a notebook to record the valuable information.
The Farmers Institute Train was scheduled to visit every area of the state. Due to the many stops, each visit would not be long, and attendees would have to choose between lectures given at the same time. Nonetheless, it was a golden opportunity to learn directly from the experts.
Dakota Datebook written by Carole Butcher
Wahpeton Times. “Wahpeton Gets Institute Train.” Wahpeton ND. 13 June 1912. Page 1.
Jamestown Weekly. “Farmers Institute on Wheels.” Jamestown ND. 13 June 1912. Page 6.