Library & Archives
Monmouth County. Board of Agriculture
Records, 1884 - 1972
Processed by Andrew W. Martin
Edited by Kathleen Stavec
Monmouth County Historical Association
70 Court Street
Freehold, New Jersey 07728
The Monmouth County Board of Agriculture is the official agency for agricultural improvement and organization in Monmouth County, New Jersey. In its present form it conducts all agricutltural extension work in the county, as wello as serving as a liasion between the national and state Bureaus of Agriculture. It is recognized by those bodies through its affiliation with the Extension Division of the State College of Agriculture (Rutgers University). It is a chartered body, and by agreement it is responsible for its own agenda and membership (which is open to anyone interested in farming or related industries). It functions through an elected Executive Committee acting in an advisory capacity to the County Agent, who is selected by the State Board. The Monmouth County Board of Agriculture maintains offices at 20 Court Street in Freehold, New Jersey.
The Board can trace its origins to the short-lived Monmouth Agricultural Society of 1838, a loose and informal association which gave way in 1854 to the Monmouth Agricultural Society. These organizations had no official charter or status; they were community groups which meant to encourage progressive farming techniques and increase social interaction among the county's farmers.
By the last decades of the nineteenth century, the rural community was feeling the effects of political under-representation and of economic stagnation. They came increasingly to look upon unity of voice in politics, and for scientific planting and breeding, as twin solutions to the agricultural plight. Several of the more progressive farmers (many of whom had been involved in the Agricultural Society or national movements like the Grange) came together in 1884 to found the Monmouth County Board of Agriculture.
By 1887 it had become quasi-official, in that they were empowered to appoint delegates to the State Board of Agriculture, but it did not yet serve any administrative function and could in no way be taken for a sort of executive council for the agricultural community at large. It was instead a group of less than 100 fully active members who met four times a year to discuss particular problems such as crop blight, the condition of rural roads, and revolutions in planting techniques. In its first decades the Board was most active in three spheres: the promotion of experiments incultivation; lectures on pest control, geology, and botany; and prpagandizing the Populist politics of most of the farmers. Within ten years the Board was in its heyday as an independent action group, and they were seeking concrete improvements such as marketing cooperatives, creameries, and regulative power over county facilities (for example, to halt the spread of hog cholera).
The years following the Spanish War brought about a decline in the Board and its activities. The deaths of many of the founding members (including Hal Allaire, David Vanderveer, and John Denise) as well as the continuing rural depression, combined to drive the membership into apathy. Attendance fell off, and the business of the meetings shifted from lively debates on the necessity for united political action to stereoptican shows and summer picnics. Between 1910 and 1914 the Board was losing influence in state affairs, and it was becoming apparent that independent community action would have to be allied with an integrated state farming policy if there was to be any real progress.
In April of 1914, New Jersey organized a program of Farm Demonstration work, but it was wisely put to the discretion of the County Board of Agriculture as to how Monmouth should be restructured to fit in with the new state-wide system. The almost defunct Board voted in favor of joining the Demonstration program. Under State Leader JH Hankinson and Monmouth County Demonstrator William B. Duryee, the new Board would be drawn from one representative from each community, and the group would meet four times annually to counsel the demonstrator (later, the County Agent). The Board thus became the official arm of the New Jersey Board of Agriculture. This is an arrangement peculiar to New Jersey, and it proved a most effective way of letting local progressive farmers share the burdens of improvement with the State Agent.
Throughout the First World War and into the nineteen-twenties, the Board saw a sort of renaissance, taking on new and experimental responsibilities. The Board became the sponsor of the Home Demonstration program, which was designed to sponsor energy, thrift and efficiency among farm women. It was run by a woman agent and included courses in dressmaking, millinery, and nutrition. Byt 1921 there was a third agent to handle "club work" among children - the predecessor of the modern 4-H.
The real psychological turning point was in 1928 when the records first speak of farming as a business or an industry, rather than the more personal and limiting "calling" or profession. An industry implies the cooperation and concerted action of every step of the process of production; and throughout the difficult nineteen thirties and into the period of World War II the Board encouraged the development of cooperatives in everything from breeding to marketing to electrification.
Thus ahs the Board continued down to the present: bound to the New Jersey Cooperative Extension service by periodic Memoranda of Understanding, and in charge of organization and progressive demonstration, home economics, and children's club work. The various affiliated organizations and sub-groups (Farmers' Cooperative Market, the Dairy Herd Improvement Association, etc.) are generally overseen by the Executive Committee of the Board, are run on a joint-stock principle, and directed by the County Agent or his appointees. With the full backing of the State Board, the guaranteed cooperation of Rutgers Agricultural College, and affiliation with USDA, the Monmouth County Board of Agriculture remains the instrument of scientific farming and the improvement of rural life as it has been for over a century.
DESCRIPTION OF COLLECTION
This collection of the records of the Monmouth County Board of Agriculture contains the complete material relating to five different corporate organizations which have been some constituent parts of the Board:
The Monmouth County Board of Agriculture The original, indenpendend Board founded in 1884. (records from 1884 to 1914)
The Monmouth County Board of Agriculture The restructured Board under the state Agricultural Extension Service headed by the County Agent (records from 1914 to 1972)
The Executive Committee The administrative arm of the Board acting in an advisory capacity to the County Agent (records from 1962 to 1972)
The Dairy Herd Improvement Association A subscription service for dairy farmers to provide veterinary assistance for lactation measurement, disease testing, etc. (financial records from 1965 to 1971)
The Monmouth County Cooperative Breeding Association A subscription service for the breeding of livestock which promoted the efficient mating of the best animals, artificial insemination, and the improvement of the strain of each farmer's herd (records from 1944 to 1967 when the Association was dissolved)
The collection includes the minutes of the meetings from 1884 to 1972; complete organizational records including membership lists, committee reports, and project analyses; financial and legal records such as bills, receipts, insurance records and contracts; and correspondence relating to operations and financial matters. Included also are 56 bound volumes of monthly newsletters (three volumes, 1915 to 1924) and annual reports of the County Agent (1914 to 1968) which provide the best descriptions of the Board's day-to-day activities as well as many outstanding photographs. The printed material includes a copy of Smith's Computer (a widely-used agricultural slide-rule), a geological survey of the soils types in the County from 1927, and a booklet entitled "Upper Freehold Township" from 1935, which is an interesting and comprehensive look at the economy, government, and social organization of Western Monmouth in the 1930s. By virtue of its completeness, the collection is a valuable resource for those studying the agricultural history of New Jersey.
It is also an excellent general resource for students of social history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; the proceedings of the Board and its programs record the evolution of rural society and the effects that technology, wars, and financial depressions have upon an agricultural community.
The Monmouth County Board of Agriculture collection is arranged as far as is practical in the original order in which it was stored in the files of the Board. The collection is arranged according to corporation (Executive Committee, Herd Improvement Association., etc.). Then it is arranged by subject matter and type of document within series, and then chronologically by date.
Includes all minutes, rosters, membership lists, annual reports, resolutions, committee reports, historical documents, executive documents (as by the County Agent, his appointees, or other administrative bodies), or organization documents.
2. Financial Records
Of the Cooperative Breeding Association and Herd Improvement Association only. Includes cancelled checks, payment stubs, receipts, balance sheets, check registers, financial reports, IRS forms and tax information, and bills.
3. Legal Records
Includes insurance policies and contracts. For incorporation documents and affiliated organizations, see Series 1 and Series 4.
a). General and miscellaneous correspondence
b) Correspondence relating to State Affiliations. Includes correspondence with Rutgers Agricultural College, correspondence with the Agricultural Boards of other counties, documents reporting the proceedings of meetings of the State Board of Agriculture, and correspondence with the USDA.
c) Correspondence of the Dairy Herd Improvement Association which deals with financial matters.
5. Printed Materials
Includes books, manuals, printed pads, maps, and advertisements. Newsletters and circulars which contain announcements of meetings, or printed invitations, are included in Series 1 as organizational records. Printed cards and mailings are generally listed in Series 4a as correspondence.
Size of Collection: 1,539 pieces in 13 boxes, in addition to the bound volumes
Box / Folder / Contents
1 / 1 / Monmouth County Board of Agriculture. Minutes of founding meetings (1884 Aug - 1889 Mar)
1 / 2 / Monmouth County Board of Agriculture. Minutes of bi-monthly meetings (1889 Nov - 1915 Nov)
1 / 3 / Roster of Presidents of the Board (1884 - 1923)
1 / 3 / Ballot of Officers of the Board (from 1901)
1 / 3 / Invitation (1911 Feb 28)
1 / 3 / Director's Certificate (undated; 1900?)
1 / 3 / Resolution on death of John Denise (1912 Mar 8)
2 / 1 / Minutes, monthly meetings (1969 Nov - 1972 Oct). 63 items
2 / 2 / Minutes, monthly meetings (1966 Jan - 1967 Oct). 24 items
2 / 3 / Minutes, monthly meetings (1964 - 1965). 24 items
2 / 4 / Minutes, monthly meetings (1961 Dec; 1962; 1963 Nov - Dec). 12 items
2 / 5 / Minutes, annual meetings (1967 - 1972). 6 items
2 / 6 / Minutes, annual meetings (1962 - 1966). 6 items
3 / 1 / Correspondence (1969 Sept - 1970 Nov). 71 items
3 / 2 / Correspondence (1968 Nov - 1969 Aug). 87 items
3 / 3 / Correspondence (1967 Oct - 1968 Oct). 47 items
3 / 4 / Correspondence (1966 Jan - 1967 Oct). 65 items
3 / 5 / Correspondence (1964 - 1965). 31 items
3 / 6 / Correspondence (1962). 5 items
4 / 1 / Correspondence, State Affiliations (1967 - 1970). 21 items
4 / 2 / Correspondence, State Affiliations (1966 Jan - 1967 Sept). 28 items
4 / 3 / Correspondence, State Affiliations (1964 - 1965). 40 items
4 / 4 / Correspondence, State Affiliations (1962). 13 items
COOPERATIVE BREEDERS' ASSOCIATION
5 / 1 / Membership Agreements, Herd numbers 300-399 plus numbers 46, 36, 39 (1950 - 1955; 1965)
5 / 2 / Membership Agreements, Herd numbers 200 - 299 (1948 - 1950)
5 / 3 / Membership Agreements, Herd numbers 100 - 199 (1947 - 1948)
5 / 3 / memorandum on dissolution (undated)
5 / 4 / Membership Agreemtns, Herd numbers 1 - 99 (1947 - 1963); 2 lists of changes to herd numbers
5 / 5 / Membership Lists (1950 - 1967; one undated). 8 items
5 / 6 /Correspondence (1947 - 1957). 29 items
5 / 7 / Contracts, insurance items (1947 - 1960). 9 items
5 / 8 / Veterinary Technician's reports (1947 - 1966). 19 items
5 / 9 / Organizational records: by laws, regulations, and minutes (1944 - 1964). 20 items
5 / 10 / Correspondence: circulars and newsletters (1946 - 1959). 14 items
6 / 1 / Papers on the dissolution of the corporation (1967, 1968, 1972). 8 items
6 / 2 / Refunds to subscribers upon dissolution of the corporation (1967). 200 items
6 / 3 / Meeting invitations and replies (1966)
6 / - / Insemination receipt pad (no date)
DAIRY HERD IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION
7 / 1 / Papers on the general organization of the Association (1927 - 1971). 29 items
7 / 2 / Roll of names (1968 April 30)
7 / 3 / Ledger for the payment of the tester; ledger of expenses (1969). 1 item
7 / 4 / Bills to the New Jersey State Hospital at Marlboro; Bills to the State Home for Boys at Jamesburg (1970). 75 items
7 / 5 / Insurance policies (1968 - 1971)
7 / 6 / Federal tax deposit forms (1968 - 1971). 51 items
8 / 1 / Summary of Annual Report (1962 April - 1963 April)
8 / 2 / Miscellaneous correspondence (1962). 22 items
8 / 3 / Lactation listings on computer sheets (1957-1958; 1960-1961). 8 items
8 / 4 / Social Security / IRS forms; check registers; financial declarations and statements (1949 - 1954). 16 items
8 / 5 / General tax correspondence (1950 - 1970). 8 items
8 / 6 / Social Security / IRS forms (1955; 1957 - 1960). 5 items
8 / 7 / Financial correspondence - orders and receipts (1963 - 1971)
8 / 8 / Financial correspondence (1958 - 1964)
8 / - / Check registers (1958 - 1963; 1967 - 1971)
8 / - / Bank receipts and canceled checks from Monmouth County National Bank (Red Bank, NJ) (1966 - 1968)
8 / - / Membership ledger (1965 April 1)
9 / 1 / Bills from Rutgers / IBM (1958 - 1964). 8 items
9 / 2 / Bills from Rutgers (1965 - 1971). 7 items
9 / 3 / Billing rosters (1963 - 1965). 3 items
9 / 4 / Financial statements - bank receipts, balance sheets (1964 - 1965). 29 items
9 / 5 / Correspondence with employment secretary (1969 - 1970). 14 items
9 / 6 / Financial records (1953 - 1966). 16 items
9 / 7 / Financial records - bank receipts, bills (1965). 24 items
9 / 8 / Financial records - bank receipts, bills (1966). 26 items
10 / 1 / Financial records - bills, statements, balances (1967). 22 items
10 / 2 / Financial records (1968). 32 items
10 / 3 / Financial records (1968 - 1969). 28 items
10 / 4 / Financial records (1970). 16 items
10 / 5 / Yearly herd summaries (statistical tables complete for 1959 - 1964)
10 / 6 / USDA Affiliations - rules, manuals, memoranda of understanding (1959; n.d.). 6 items
10 / 7 / Printed correspondence from affiliated groups: "Better Dairying" (NJ Cooperative Extension Service), 22 issues, 1964 Dec - 1966 Jan
10 / 7 / Printed correspondence from affiliated groups: "Record Book" (National Cooperative Dairy Herd Improvement Program), 3 issues (1965)
10 / 7 / Printed correspondence from affiliated groups: Monthly summariles, Burlington Co. (Rutgers and USDA). 6 items (1965 Aug - Dec)
10 / 8 / Published materials: Unified Rules for Official Testing (1950)
10 / 8 / Published materials: DHIA Program (USDA Farmer's Bulletin #1974)
10 / 8 / Published materials: Handbook for Extension Workers (USDA Agricultural Handbook #248; 1963)
10 / 8 / Published materials: Monthy Herd Record (Central Processing, Rutgers. n.d.)
10 / 8 / Published materials: New York DHI Cooperative, Inc. (advertisement, 1962)
10 / 8 / Published materials: IBM Workshop (Rutgers, n.d.); attached is from Cornell Dairy Records Processing Library (1962 June)
11 / 1 / Bank receipts and cancelled checks (1969 - 1971)
11 / 2 / Bank receipts and cancelled checks (1966 April - 1968 July)
11 / 3 / Cancelled checks (1963 - 1965)
12 / 1 / Cancelled checks (1961 - 1962)
12 / 2 / Cancelled checks (1960)
12 / 3 / Cancelled checks (1957 - 1959)
12 / 4 / Cancelled checks (1929 - 1935; 1951 - 1953; 1956)
MONMOUTH COUNTY BOARD OF AGRICULTURE (Miscellaneous)
13 / - / Upper Freehold Township: A Survey of Life, Resources and Government of a NJ Rural Township, with a Program for Improvement (Trenton; NJDA, 1935 Sept). Volume includes committee reports on roads, education, property tax levels, essays on social structure and economic life. Soil types and acerages reviewed.
13 / - / Soil Survey of the Freehold Area, N.J. (USDA Publication Series 1927 #33). Includes the area of north-east Monmouth County. A geologic survey including climate and a description of the character of agriculture in central NJ. Full color map of soil types and geological features. 3 items, 2 of them in original unopened envelopes.
13 / - / Smith's Computer "Watch the Decimal!" (Kansas City; J. Frank Smith, 1943). The revised edition, in 10th reprinting since 1906. With directions for use, and tables for computing the amount of butter fat in cream and comparative grain tables.
- / - / The collection includes 56 bound volumes which are placed after the boxes. These annual reports, issued by the County Agent and including the yearly program summaries, minutes of meetings, and news, are considered to be Series 1 documents.
This page last updated 14 July 2008.