Whitford Pens Third Purdue Agricultural History Book

November 20, 2013  

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - Fred Whitford, Purdue Extension specialist and coordinator of Purdue pesticide programs in the College of Agriculture, has penned his third agricultural history book, For the Good of the Farmer, recently launched through Purdue University Press

The book chronicles the groundbreaking work of John Harrison Skinner (1874-1942), a pioneering educator and administrator who transformed the study of agriculture at Purdue University during the first decades of the 20th century.

Skinner was the first dean of Purdue's College of Agriculture (1907-39). He grew the program from one building and 150 acres to 10 buildings and 1,000 acres during his tenure as dean.

"John H. Skinner was a farmer, a teacher, a researcher, a politician, a tireless promoter, and, most of all, a visionary who never lost his focus on the Indiana farmer," said Jay Akridge, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture at Purdue.

Skinner understood from his own background as a grain and stock farmer that growers could no longer rely on traditional methods in adapting to a rapidly changing technological and economic environment, in which tractors were replacing horses and new crops such as alfalfa and soy were transforming the arable landscape. Farmers needed education, and only by hiring the best and brightest faculty could Purdue give them the competitive edge that they needed.           

Sources:  Jay Akridge, akridge@purdue.edu 

Charles A. Watkinson, director, Purdue University Press, 765-494-8251, cwatkinson@purdue.edu 

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