Finally, for results which it is desired to promptly get before the people, the agricultural press is at our disposal, and so far as the entomological work of the department of agriculture is concerned, the periodical bulletin, Insect Life, was established for this purpose. Its columns are open to all station workers, and I would here appeal to the members of the association to help make it, as far as possible, national, by sending brief notes and digests of their work as it progresses. Hitherto we have been unable to make as much effort in this direction as we desired, but in future it is our hope to make the bulletin, as far as possible, a national medium through which the results of work done in all parts of the country may quickly be put on record and distributed, not only to all parts of our own country, but to all parts of the world.
The rapid growth and development of the national department and the multiplication of its divisions have necessitated special modes of publication and rendered the annual report almost an anachronism so far as it pretends to be what it at one time was - a pretty complete report of the scientific and other work of the department. The attempts which I have made through the proper authorities to get Congress to order more pretentious monographic works in quarto volume similar to those issued by other departments of the government have not met with encouragement, and in this direction many of the stations will, let us hope, be able to do better.
Every other subject that might be considered on this occasion must be subordinate to the one great question of co-operation. With the large increase of actual workers in our favorite field, distributed all over the country, the necessity for some co-operation and co-ordination must be apparent to every one. Just how this should be brought about or in what direction we may work toward it, will be for this association in its deliberations to decide. Nor will I venture to anticipate the deliberations and conclusions of the special committee appointed to take the matter into consideration, beyond the statement that there are many directions in which we can adopt plans for mutual benefit. Take, for instance, the introduction and dissemination of parasites. How much greater will be the chance of success in any particular case if we have all the different station entomologists interested in some specific plan to be carried out in co-operation with the national department, which ought to have better facilities of introducing specimens to foreign countries or to different sections of our own country than any of the State stations.
Let us suppose that the fruit growers of one section of the country, comprising several States in area, need the benefit in their warfare against any particularly injurious insect of such natural enemy or enemies as are known to help the fruit growers of some other section. There will certainly be much greater chances of success in the carrying out of any scheme of introduction if all the workers in the one section may be called upon through some central or national body to help in the introduction and disposition of the desired material into the other section. Or, take the case of the boll worm investigation already alluded to. The chances of success would be much greater if the entomologists in all the States interested were to give some attention to such lepidopterous larvae as are found to be affected with contagious diseases and to follow out some specific plan of cultivating and transmitting them to the party or parties with whom the actual trials are intrusted. The argument applies with still greater force to any international efforts. I need hardly multiply instances.
There is, it is true, nothing to prevent any individual station entomologist from requesting co-operation of the other stations, nor is there anything to prevent the national department from doing likewise; but in all organization results are more apt to flow from the power to direct rather than from mere liberty to request or to plead. The station entomologist may be engrossed in some line of research which he deems of more importance to the people of his State, and may resent being called upon to divert his energies; and with no central or national power to decide upon plans of co-operation for the common weal, we are left to voluntary methods, mutually devised, and it is here that this association can, it seems to me, most fully justify its organization. And this brings me to the question of
Immediately connected with the question of co-operation is the relation of the National Department of Agriculture and the State experiment stations. The relation, instead of being vital and authoritative, is, in reality, a subordinate one. Many persons interested in the advancement of agriculture foresaw the advantage of having experiment stations attached to the State agricultural colleges founded under the Morrill act of 1862; but I think that in the minds of most persons the establishment of these stations implied some such connection with the national department as that outlined in an address on Agricultural Advancement in the United States, which I had the honor to deliver in 1879 before the National Agricultural Congress, at Rochester, and in which the following language was used:
"In the light of the past history of the German experimental stations and their work, or of that in our own State of Connecticut, the expediency of purchasing an experimental farm of large dimensions in the vicinity of Washington is very questionable. There can be no doubt, however, of the value of a good experimental station there that shall have its branches in every State of the Union. The results to flow from such stations will not depend upon the number of acres at command, and it will be far wiser and more economical for the commissioner to make each agricultural college that accepted the government endowment auxiliary to the national bureau, so that the experimental farm that is now, or should be, connected with each of these institutions might be at its service and under the general management of the superintendent of the main station. There is reason to believe that the directors of these colleges would cheerfully have them constituted as experimental stations under the direction of the department, and thus help to make it really national - the head of a vast system that should ramify through all parts of the land....