This collection consists of a scrapbook of newsclippings highlighting the activities of the Arkansas Profitable Farming Bureau. The scrapbook was created by Henry M. Cottrell (1864-1926), who served as the bureau's agriculturalist from January 1919 until July 1921.
The Arkansas Profitable Farming Bureau (PFB) was established on September 29, 1914, as part of Governor George W. Hays' overall plan to improve the state's industry and economy. After the Little Rock Board of Trade and the Chamber of Commerce consolidated to form the Little Rock Board of Commerce in 1918, the PFB became a branch of the new organization. The bureau played a significant role in a 1919 conflict with the University of Arkansas, as its members sought to fire President John C. Futrall, restaff the College of Agriculture's faculty, and change the college's approach to agricultural research and extension work. In the early 20th century, agriculture was Arkansas's principal economy, but with the exception of a few large cotton plantations, it was an industry based mainly on production from small family farms. A goal of the PFB from its inception was to encourage those farmers to plant more crops that would offer expendable cash. E.J. Bodman, a Pulaski County banker, who chaired the PFB for many years, hoped that the new federally subsidized agricultural extension system would boost the state's economy. This system, created with the 1914 enactment of the Smith-Lever Act and administered via land grant colleges like the University of Arkansas, utilized county agents who taught rural farmers more scientific agricultural methods to increase production. In the fall of 1919, Bodman and the PFB recruited an agricultural expert from Tennessee to serve as the bureau's agriculturalist and promote techniques to reform the state's farming industry. Once hired, Henry M. Cottrell proposed a five-year plan to double agricultural income, which included organizing PFB branches in other towns throughout Arkansas. A campaign soon began, with support from the Arkansas Gazette, to appoint Cottrell as director of the University of Arkansas's agricultural extension division. Futrall refused to appoint Cottrell on the grounds that the extension division was the university's responsibility and not under the authority of an outside organization. However, he did bow to PFB pressure to improve the College of Agriculture by purchasing 423 acres of a working experimental farm near the campus. Futrall ultimately fended off the PFB's attempt to gain de facto control of the university's agricultural program by emerging with a unanimous vote of confidence from the university's board of trustees following a June 21, 1919 meeting, and by later appointing a new dean, Bradford Knapp, who met all the requirements that the PFB wanted, but who was loyal to Futrall and not the bureau.
Document, 8.5" x 11"
Arkansas Profitable Farming Bureau scrapbook, MS.000006
Arkansas State Archives
Arkansas State Archives
Arkansas Profitable Farming Bureau scrapbook, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.
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United States History