Raising Livestock

Woman with chicks and henhouse

Poultry Raising in Macon County, Alabama
George Washington Carver. (1912). Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute Experiment Station. Bulletin Number 23.

At a typical conference, held in 1899 at Hampton College in Virginia, Carver acknowledged the bleak financial situation facing black farmers in the South, noting that the ‘average southern farm has little more to offer than about thirty-seven percent of a cotton crop selling at four and a half cents a pound and costing five and six to produce.’ However, he added that ‘we have a perfect foundation for an ideal country [including] natural advantages of which we may justly feel proud.’ What was holding poor farmers back, he contended, was their ignorance of ecological relationships, or as he put it, the ‘mutual relationship of the animal, mineral and vegetable kingdoms, and how utterly impossible it is for one to exist in a highly organized state without the other.’ Thus, the problems, as he saw it, was a lack of agricultural education (and a failure on the farmers’ part to apply those things they had already learned through events such as the one at which he was speaking.) Of course, he did offer ‘practical’ suggestions, most of which (in this particular case) had to do with increasing, ‘both in quantity and quality, all of our farm animals.’ ‘We should…sacrifice,’ he suggested, ‘a goodly number of the worthless puppies that are in evidence in too many dooryards, and put two or three sheep in their places.’

Hersey, M. (2006). "Hints and suggestions to farmers: George Washington Carver and rural conservation in the South." Environmental History, 11(2), p. 248. Retrieved from: https://www.jstor.org/stable/3986231.

Carver offered practical suggestions for the best, most economical ways to raise livestock, including poultry, hogs, and cattle in several Experiment Station Bulletins. His specific focus was on the sources of feed and methods farmers should use to nourish their animals. This effort to develop and expand the range of agricultural production for the black farmers of the south to animals is the central subject for the Experiment Station Bulletins in this section.

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