The School Of Agriculture
Report Of The Dean Of Agriculture
To the President of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute:
No important changes in organization or staff have been made during the past year. A satisfactory enrolment of agricultural students has been maintained and every effort has been made to improve the character of work in both classroom and laboratory. The new Dairy Husbandry Building is completed and will furnish ample facilities for classroom, laboratory, and other activities for not only the dairy husbandry department but the agricultural education and poultry husbandry departments as well. The space vacated by these several departments is needed for the normal expansion of other departments and when available will relieve, to a considerable extent, the overcrowded conditions in classrooms and laboratories.
During the past session, several departments in the agricultural division have offered unit short courses to farmers and others interested in special phases of the agricultural industry. The dairy, agronomy, zoology, and poultry departments have conducted such courses. The short course offered to practising veterinarians has been held for the last two years and has been attended by the majority of practising veterinarians in Virginia. The other courses have been well attended. These courses should be continued and additional units added for industries not now represented.
One of the newer activities of the agricultural division is the soil survey work mentioned in the last annual report. This work is now well under way, and though primarily an experiment station activity, it will greatly strengthen the teaching of soils at this institution.
During the past year a curriculum has been added in rural sociology. It remains to be seen just what the demand is for this instruction but there are indications that a considerable number of students will elect rural sociology. There is a need for trained men in this subject in Virginia.
It is gratifying to know that, in the face of the present economic depression, most of our agricultural students will be able to secure employment upon graduation, and that there is a public recognition of the fact that the situation calls for an increased number of trained leaders to cope with the conditions now confronting the agricultural industry.
The present interest in graduate work in agriculture is very encouraging. Every effort should be made to strengthen and broaden this phase of our work and encouragement should be given to the exceptional student to secure advanced training in the different branches of agriculture.
While it is difficult, in the present economic situation, to provide the necessary revenue for broadening our educational program in agriculture, yet these very conditions are making unusual demands upon the institution. It is imperative, therefore, that there be no retrenchment at this time in the instruction offered for the type of service that is being rendered by this division of the institution.
The greatest need at the present is for departmental equipment. This statement applies particularly to teaching, for many departments are greatly handicapped due to the lack of teaching facilities. There is an insistent demand for the development of new courses, such as farm forestry, fruit product work, floriculture, and specialized branches of landscape gardening. These subjects should be cared for just as soon as our resources permit.
H. L. PRICE, Dean of Agriculture.