Chuckatuck Agricultural Club

The following data is taken from an extract from the proceedings of “Chuckatuck Agricultural Club” communicated for the Farmers Register.  “The “club” met on Wednesday 9th day of January, A.D. 1839 at the Masonic  Hall in Chuckatuck, at 10o’clock A.M.”  This particular meeting was to discuss some issues concerning the growing of agricultural crops and suggesting that some form of competition in agriculture as well as other pursuits in life will improve the product and profit.  With this in mind each of the members were to set aside certain parcels of land (as reasonable) and by using their own seed, manure and cultivation methods report the results of their efforts at the regular meeting in November of that year.  This was to be done for corn using both good and poor land parcels.  They were to do the same for rutabagas and turnips with the report being made at the same time.  The rationale for this is as quoted here “that the members of this society will give increased attention and diligence to the improvement of their lands and stock, the developments of science, and to any and every thing that may have a tendency to advance their interest in a pecuniary, moral and social point of view.”  A committee was formed and appointed to memorialize the general assembly of Virginia on the subject of agriculture, to ask for aid and assistance as necessary.  Those appointed were Doct. John French, John Crocker, John C. Crump, Dr. Crawley Finney, and Robert Lawrence, esps.  On Thursday the 11th of March the club met again and set the prizes for the aforementioned competition.  Best crop twenty dollars, best pen of hogs ten dollars, best milk cow and calf five dollars, best yoke of oxen five dollars and the cheapest and best construction manure cart five dollars.

The reason for this memoralize of the General assembly was to get help from the assembly to improve the quality and productivity of the land which would benefit everyone in the end.  Writers Note:  We suspect that the massive growing of tobacco and lack of rotation of crops had driven the nutrient value of the farms to an all time low.  This quote for the article will solidify their concerns.  “Your memorialists will not presume to dictate to your honorable body the measures to be adopted to accomplish the object they have in view, but will venture to suggest that, inasmuch as all scientific and practical improvements in agriculture contribute to the public benefit, it justly becomes the subject of legislative enactments, and a portion of the public treasurer may justly be appropriated for its encouragement; a measure, which if successful, would add to the wealth and resources of the state—–.”  This would be the beginning of farm subsidies.