This section is from the book "Scientific American Reference Book. A Manual for the Office, Household and Shop", by Albert A. Hopkins, A. Russell Bond. Also available from Amazon: Scientific American Reference Book.
The Bureau of Animal Industry makes investigations as to the existence of dangerous communicable diseases of live stock; superintends the measures for their extirpation, and makes original investigations as to the nature and prevention of such diseases. It inspects live stock and their products slaughtered for food consumption; has charge of the inspection of import and export animals, of the inspection of vessels for the transportation of export animals, and of the quarantine stations for imported neat cattle, other ruminants, and swine; generally supervises the interstate movement of animals and reports on the condition and means of improving the animal industries of the country. It makes special investigations in regard to dairy subjects, inspects and certifies dairy products for export, and supervises the manufacture and interstate commerce of renovated butter.
The Bureau of Chemistry makes investigations of fertilizers, and agricultural products, and such analyses as pertain in general to the interests of agriculture. It investigates the composition and adulteration of foods and the composition of field products in relation to their nutritive value and to the constituents which they derive from the soil, fertilizers, and the air. It inspects imported food products and excludes from entry those injurious to health. It inspects food products exported to foreign countries where physical and chemical tests are required for such products. It co-operates with the chemists of the agricultural experiment stations in all matters pertaining to the relations of chemistry to agricultural interests. It also cooperates with the other scientific divisions of the Department in all matters relating to chemistry, and conducts investigations of a chemical nature for other Departments of the Government at the request of their respective Secretaries.
The statistician collects information as to crop production and the numbers and status of farm animals, through a corps of county and township correspondents, traveling agents, and other agencies, and obtains similar information from foreign countries through special agents, assisted by consular, agricultural, and commercial authorities. He records, tabulates, and coordinates statistics of agricultural production, distribution, and consumption, the authorized data of governments, institutes, societies, boards of trade, and individual experts; and issues a monthly crop report for the information of producers and consumers.
The division of foreign markets has for its object the extension of the agricultural export trade of the United States. It investigates the requirements of foreign markets, studies the conditions of demand and supply as disclosed by the records of production, importation, and exportation, inquires into the obstacles confronting trade extension, and disseminates through printed reports and otherwise the information collected.
The Office of Experiment Stations represents the Department in its relations to the agricultural colleges and experiment stations, which are now in operation in all the States and Territories, and directly manages the experiment stations in Alaska, Hawaii, and Porto Rico. It seeks to promote the interests of agricultural education and investigation throughout the United States. It collects and disseminates general information regarding the colleges and stations, and publishes accounts of agricultural investigations at home and abroad. It also indicates lines of inquiry, aids in the conduct of co-operative experiments, reports upon the expenditures and work of the stations, and in general furnishes them with such advice and assistance as will best promote the purposes for which they were established. It is also charged with investigations on the nutritive value and economy of human foods and on irrigation and agricultural engineering, which are largely conducted in co-operation with the colleges and stations.
The entomologist obtains and disseminates information regarding injurious insects; investigates insects sent him in order to give appropriate remedies; conducts investigations of this character in different parts of the country, and mounts and arranges specimens for illustrative and museum purposes.
The division of biological survey studies the geographic distribution of animals and plants, and maps the natural life zones of the country; it also investigates the economic relations of birds and mammals, recommends measures for the preservation of beneficial and the destruction of injurious species, and has been charged with carrying into effect the provisions of the Federal law for the importation and protection of birds, contained in the act of Congress of May 25, 1900.
The Bureau of Forestry gives practical assistance to farmers, lumbermen, and others in the conservative handling of forest lands; investigates methods and trees for planting in the treeless West, and gives practical assistance to tree planters; studies commercially valuable trees to determine their special uses in forestry; tests the strength and durability of construction timbers and railroad ties; investigates forest fires, grazing, and other forest problems; and makes plans for practical forestry in the national forest reserves at the request of the Secretary of the Interior.
The Bureau of Plant Industry studies plant life in all its relations to agriculture. It includes vegetable pathological and physiological investigations, botanical investigations and experiments, pomological investigations, grass and forage plant investigations, experimental gardens and grounds, the Arlington experimental farm, Congressional seed distribution, seed and plant introduction, and tea-culture experiments.