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The appropriation that is required in order to give the work the proper impetus, that is necessary to start it along right lines, is very nominal and could not be applied in a more beneficial direction than is asked for in this bill.
I am not prepared with statistics to furnish any great degree of enlightenment, but I presume such intelligence will be furnished by those who have looked carefully into the question and have given it greater thought and greater study than I have been able to do. But I am glad to be able to express a word in support of this bill and I am sure when it is given full consideration by Congress that they will see the great necessity of extending Federal support for the protection of maternity, infancy, and the assistance of hygiene for those mothers who are situated in rural districts, and all others that come under the provisions of this bill and are entitled to the assistance and support that this bill provides.
STATEMENT OF MR. BRADFORD KNAPP, STATES RELATIONS
SERVICE, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.
Mr. KNAPP. Mr. Chairman, I understand you called me here this morning in order to have me explain what success had been obtained by a similar cooperation between a Federal department and the States for the development of work not only among the farmers but the farm women.
I might say that prior to 1910 the United States Department of Agriculture, while it did a great deal of investigating, did very little work with the women in rural sections, except the publication of bulletins. In 1910, in the Southern States, we began in a very small way an effort to reach the farm women. And knowing very well that that must depend upon a most intimate sympathy and understanding, on the part of the worker, with the women in the country and with the girls, we began in a very small way what we call our canning-club work and gradually extended from that into a very comprehensive work with women. At first, this was financed by the local people themselves and the department in a very small way. In 1914, on May 8, the President signed what you gentlemen probably know as the Smith-Lever Agricultural Extension Act. This act provides for an appropriation, the first year, of $480,000, divided among the States, $10,000 to each State, which the State does not have to offset. It was increased then by sums of $600,000 the first year and increased after that by half a million dollars, and is increasing yearly. But the additional increments must be met by similar appropriation either from the State or from some source within the State. Ultimately, the Smith-Lever total appropriation from the Federal Treasury will be $4,680,000, which must be offset by appropriations from the States or from counties or other sources within the States of $4,100,000.
I may say to you that the act was accepted by every State legislature in the United States, and that up to the present time each increased appropriation or allotment has been met by the States. The total will not be reached until the year 1922-23. The money is distributed among the States, above the $10,000, in proportion to the rural population.
Under that act we have held to the extension system in cooperation with the State, the agricultural colleges of the States, and the counties. In the counties, getting right close to the people, we have what are called the county agricultural agents and what we call the county home demonstration agents; that is, women who are experienced and highly trained in home economics to come in close contact with the people in the county. They have to travel around over the county to meet the needs as best they can.
You might be interested in this map, if you have time to look at it, showing the spread of this work and what it was in January 1, 1919. The yellow spots in the northern territory indicate where the work is not fully organized and one woman is covering a county. I might say to you the reason of the large development in the South is that on account of the relatively low salaries offered, which deterred an earlier beginning, the work did not begin in the Northern States until the beginning of the war in Europe. It was already developed in the South, and we have developed it rapidly to cover all the territory in the South; but being a newer work in the North, it was not developed until after the war began.
In case you desire to ask me any questions regarding the methods of handling our work, I would be glad to answer them.
Mr. NOLAN. Have you any field agents ?
Mr. KNAPP. Yes. There are at the present time 1,400 women employed, located in the counties.
Mr. NOLAN. Paid by the Government?
Mr. KNAPP. They are paid only a portion of their salaries by the Government.
Mr. NOLAN. And part by the State?
Mr. KNAPP. Part by the State and part by the county where the work is being done. I know of many counties where more than two-thirds of their salary is paid by the local people from the county government itself. I might say, beyond the offset to the SmithLever fund, at the present time there are about $4,000,000 put up from county and other sources to extend this work. Of course, that offsets money appropriated directly by Congress.
Mr. NOLAN. How do you account for the lack of participation by the Northern, Middle West, and Western States ?
Mr. KNAPP. The newness of the work.
Mr. NOLAN. As against the activity of the Southern States, it seems to be pretty fully covered there.
Mr. KNAPP. The newness of the work is the main thing. As fast as they get acquainted with it in the North they go ahead, and a number of them just started to put it in last year, 1917.
Mr. Almon. It commenced in the Southern States first?
Mr. KNAPP. It began in the Southern States first, and then in 1917, in the Northern States.
Mr. NOLAN. Then it is not because of lack of participation and cooperation ?
Mr. KNAPP. Not at all. And in three months that map will show a very great difference. The women are interested, but sometimes the home demonstration agents make failures; the agent will go in with the wrong attitudo in a county where the women are very proud of the fact they know how to make bread, and she will go in and try to teach them. What they want to do is to answer the needs of the people and to aid them in what they want to know, how to cure meat or protect eggs, and real problems of that sort; and the work succeeds where the problem touches the interest of the people and not the things they know best how to do. In our work in the South, we have come in close contact with the health problem among the rural people; problems of eradicating flies from the home and keeping out the mosquitoes are some of the things we have had to teach. Some of the first lessons the country women get are lessons in sanitation, teaching them how to can so that the stuff will not spoil but will keep They get the whole subject of bacteriology put to them in a very practical way, and they learn that they must sterilize the cans and all other implements they handle. In that way they get their first lesson in real sanitation.
Mr. Almon. Do I understand you are making these suggestions to show what has been done between the National Government in cooperation with the States in that line of work, as tending to support the theory of this bill, that this work provided for by this bill could be carried on to advantage by means of similar cooperation between the Government and the States?
Mr. KNAPP. That is all, just for the purpose of showing what the effect of the support by Congress has been.
Mr. ALMON. From your knowledge of the character of work of which you have supervision, are you of opinion that this cooperation between the national Government and the States, for the line of work intended to be cared for by this bill, would probably meet with the same success?
Mr. KNAPP. Unquestionably. I am not here
Mr. ALMON. I understand you do not claim to be an expert on this character of work?
Mr. KNAPP. Not at all. And further, I will say I have not had an opportunity to examine the different bills, but the essential thing I am saying is that cooperation between the Federal Government and State activities sharing in the expense within the State, that that cooperative management of the work in the States has brought very great success. And it is bringing success in the administration of the Federal Road Law, as you may know.
Mr. ALMON. Yes.
Mr. KNAPP. I am simply here to testify to the success and the fact that you can approach the rural people with the cooperating machinery of this kind and accomplish the purpose that you have in mind. And I am quite certain that the purposes sought by this bill, which are necessary, can be accomplished by the cooperative machinery.
Miss RANKIN. How do the States respond to this demand for appropriation by the States?
Mr. KNAPP. În the majority of all the States at the pretent time, the appropriation to offset the Smith-Lever fund is made by the legislature in a lump sum to the agricultural college. There are a few States where the taxation situation is such that the State is somewhat poor and where their annual budget is pretty close to the maximum taxing power that they have in the State, where they appropriate some of the money and the rest of it is appropriated bythe counties. That does exist in quite a number of the States, I should say probably about one-fourth of the States.
Mr. ALMON. Mr. Chairman, I want to say that I have some personal knowledge of the work that is being done by this department, over which Dr. Knapp presides, and it has been a great success in Alabama and other Southern States where the work was first introduced, and great credit is due to Dr. Knapp for the continuation of this splendid and most efficient service that was inaugurated by his very able and distinguished father, who was really the originator, in a measure, of this extension work.
STATEMENT OF MRS. HELEN MCCLEARY.
Mrs. McCLEARY. I am present at the request of Dr. Lee:Frankel, of the Public Health Association of America, and at the request of Dr. Josephine E. Baker, of the Society for the Prevention of Infant Mortality. Both of these doctors have big meetings in New York to-day and could not be present, and they have asked me to go on record for them that no action be taken on this bill until the members of those two organizations can be heard. As I understand, they do not wish to oppose the bill, but they wish to present some amendments. The way they understand, the bill now provides for the development and organization of the work without in any way considering the State organizations, and there are some States which have organizations at the present time that might do a big work, and in other States they desire to suggest amendments where they can cooperate and coordinate the work.