quit a. job till you have won. And be reasonably sure you can master any situation
you tackle." It is a good many years since these words or their substance
came across the desk of G. H. Eckles to a raw country boy who was just, completing
his college course.
question was whether to accept, a, menial job offering small pay but valuable
experience or to take a position which offered a much greater salary but gave
less assurance of depend-ability. In his quiet, sincere way and with his ever-reassuring
friendship the "Chief," as he is fondly known by hundreds of former
students, was giving advice that, is having a lifelong influence upon the individual
whose future was in the balance'. But we do not mention this as an isolated
case. It, is one of hundreds. Some have followed his advice. Others have not.
But in practically every case the ones who have heeded the quiet, unassuming
suggestions of this modest man have found that lie pointed the way to success
herein lies one of the important reasons why that world calls him great and
why his former students as a unit pay such tributes to the "Chief."
It can be saidwithout
fear of challenge that no other individual has started so many men toward the
top rungs of the ladder in the dairy industry. To complete the proof of his
greatness as a "maker of men" we need only to call attention to the
universal tributes paid him individually and collectively by his great group
of former students.
influence of C. H. Eckles on the dairy industry today is immeasurable. Among
all the state colleges of agriculture in the United States the dairy departments
of 14 of them are headed by Eckles' trained men. In 11 others Eckles' trained
men hold positions of major responsibility. In the Dairy Bureau of the United
States Department, of Agriculture a large percentage of the men in positions
of responsibility are Eckles trained. Two of the national dairy cattle, breed
association secretaries fondly call him "Chief."
editors of prominent, farm papers, one publisher, and a number of other successful
men in other phases of farm and dairy publication work owe their start, in the
dairy world to him. A large number of county agents in all sections of the United
States, are proud to give him credit for their early dairy training. And the
number of his former students who are outstandingly successful breeders, dairy
farm managers, creamery and milk plant operators and managers of co-operative
dairy organizations is rapidly growing.
was in 1916 at the National Dairy Show at Springfield, Massachusetts, that a
little group of Eckles' trained men started a movement that is probably without
parallel in the dairy industry. The Eckles Club has grown to a place above that
of almost any other organization in the minds of most of its members. It includes
only those men who have taken advanced degrees under Doctor Eckles or those
who, after completing undergraduate work have achieved satisfactory recognition
in the dairy industry. This group now includes nearly 200 men in most of that
states and many foreign countries.
the path to this position has not been easy. Born on a Marshall County, Iowa,
farm on April 14, 1875 he experienced many of the hardships which were all too
common in the early days on the plains. His father, Charles, came from England
and, after serving as a. captain in the federal army, settled what is still
the home, farm. At the age of 89 he is still living but the farm is now being
operated by another son, Herbert, who is also a graduate of Iowa State College.
In 1922 the senior Eckles was one of the first Iowa farmers to be given honorary
recognition by his state college at, Ames. His mother Elvira who died three
years ago at the age of S3 came from a prominent old New England family.
the age of 16 young Eckles entered Iowa State College. A portion of his expenses
were paid by work around the dairy barn for the munificent sum of 10 cents an
hour. Four years later in 1895 he was graduated and received the appointment
as assistant in 'dairying. By the end of another two years he had earned the
degree of Master of Science. During the years from 1896 to 1901 a leave of absence
from the Iowa State College made possible a period of study as a graduate student
at the University of Wisconsin. On another leave he served one winter as instructor
at the Massachusetts Agricultural College.
1898 he married Alice Smith of Ida Grove, Iowa. There is no question but that
her sympathetic encouragement has had much to do with his success. They have
three children all of whom are now married. Charles is marketing specialist
in dairy and poultry in the Bureau of Agricultural Economics at Washington.
Doris and her husband are living in Minnesota, while the youngest, Ruth, and
her family are in Connecticut.
1901 he, went from Iowa State College to the University of Missouri to organize
the dairy department there. It was a job that would have baffled many men. Started
to work in an old shed which was later used as a slaughter house and with a
hand churn and farm separator for equipment it was his job to solve the dairy
problems of a state which within a quarter of a century would boast of a $100,000.000
yearly dairy revenue. Many men much more than 26 years old would have been stumped.
first few years were devoted to getting acquainted with the job he had undertaken.
He built a herd and systematized the record systems which became so valuable
to him in his later work. He was studying. The first year he attended farmers'
meetings in 8O counties of the state. To use the common expression, "he
had his feet. on that ground," and if there is any one trait that is more
characteristic of Eckles than any other it is that one. He first finds out what
the problem is beyond any reasonable doubt and then strikes straight for the
followed a year abroad. First he studied at the University of Gottingen, Germany,
under Fleischman and later at Berne in Switzerland under vein Frudenreich, another
noted bacteriologist. As a result of this work he published three scientific
papers of an outstanding nature. Furthermore, he came back with a. new vision
for the organization and conduct of a research program.
then his rise in the dairy industry has been nothing short of phenomenal. He
secured what was then a very adequate building and equipment for research work
and gradually began to surround himself with a small but capable group of workers.
was started a research career which brought him a constantly increasing recognition.
His outstanding work had to do with studies of growth and nutritional problems
with dairy cattle. To enumerate the work done by him and his associates is to
a great extent to narrate the progress of experimental work along dairy cattle
lines. In other words Eckles has been an important contributor to most of the
important dairy research since that time. Not long ago the head of the dairy
husbandry department of one of our important state colleges, and a man who has
never been associated with Eckles in any way, made the statement to me that.
almost every problem he or his associates would undertake would lead straight
to some work that Eckles has done.
Anything like a complete list of problems which Eckles has solved and given to that world would be impossible in an article of this nature. They include a very complete study of the difference in feed requirements between high and low-producing animals, influence of age upon milk and fat composition, influence of the plane of nutrition of the cow upon the composition of 'milk and fat, nutrients required to develop the foetus, silo capacities, moisture content of silage, silage molds, and a host of others. As much as fifteen years ago Eckles was carrying on very extensive studies on raising calves on milk substitutes. This problem is attracting much attention in whole-milk sections today and is a vital economic problem to the dairyman. It can safely be said that most, of the information on this problem that has been brought, to light, during the past few years was proven first, by Eckles 10 to 12 years ago. It is his studies and contributions to the knowledge of growth and nutrition in its many different phases that. Eckles is outstanding. All together he is the author or co-author of 88 different, bulletins and scientific papers dealing with as many different scientific problems that he has studied. This is in addition to a vast number of papers of lesser importance and popular articles.
1908 Eckles was receiving invitations to talk before dairy organizations in
other states. A record still on file at, the University of Missouri shows that
by the time another ten years had rolled around he was in almost constant demand.
This. List shows he spoke at state meetings in 22 states.
1909 he declined an offer to become chief of the dairy division in the United
States Department of Agriculture. He has had a number of other offers to head
the dairy departments of some of the leading agricultural colleges in the United
States. Numerous chances to capitalize on his work in a commercial way have
come to him but he has always seen fit to follow his own advice to others: that
is, to master the problem he has set out for himself. Neither will he tell you
of these opportunities in private conversation. Modest, almost: to the point
of timidity, it is the research problems before the industry or "his boys"
out in the industry that he most likes to talk about.
In 1911 he published the book, "Dairy Cattle and Milk Production." which is probably used as a textbook in dairy schools in more than half of the more enlightened countries of the world. Five years later in co-operation with Dr. Warren he published the book, "Dairy Farming," designed for secondary schools.
was in 1918 that the University of Minnesota induced him to accept the place
of chief of the dairy department there, and the next year he made the change.
Here again his soundness showed itself. Minnesota had heard great things of
Eckles and they expected him to accomplish much of the work he has since completed.
Just as he approached the problem at Missouri his first years were spent in
studying the situation in that state.
result is that, he has given Minnesota a definite research program. He has brought,
the levels of graduate work there to such a plane that there are now a large
number of men coming to this institution for doctor's degrees from all parts
of the country and abroad. That Minnesota, appreciates Eckles is" probably
best shown by the wholehearted support, in securing the splendid new dairy building
on the campus known as Haecker Hall. The dairy industry of the state as a whole
backed this important move to give to him the facilities and equipment needed
to solve its dairy problems. And Minnesota has been repaid. The phosphorous
deficiency problem which was almost ruining the livestock industry in considerable
areas of the state has been studied and mastered. Altogether, 63,000 dairymen
in the state have asked for his circular, "Feeding the Dairy Cow."
His work has had an immeasurable effect, upon feeding methods, not, only in
Minnesota and Missouri but, throughout the nation.
fairness to Eckles, we must mention also that his research work has led him
into many lines other than feeding. He has contributed much to that study of
bacteriological and breeding problems. It is the work of his department that
has enabled the creameries of that section to master their butter mold problems
and to save hundreds of thousands of dollars.
have come in great numbers. In 1915 his name was in "Who's Who in America,''
one of the first to gain such distinction thru work in the dairy field. In 1916
he was awarded the degree of doctor of science by Iowa State College. He was
one of the organizers of the American Dairy Science Association and has served
two 2-year terms, as president of that organization. He sponsored its organization
in its present successful form. He is a Fellow in the American Association for
the Advancement of Science. He is a member of Alpha Zeta, a, scholastic fraternity,
and is national president, of Gamma Sigma Delta, another scholastic fraternity.
He is a member of Sigma Xi and the Society of Experimental Biology and Medicine,
and was recently elected an alumni member of Phi Kappa, Phi, another scholastic
Other similar honors might, be mentioned, and they continue to come to him year after year. Still just in the prime of life, there is no question that the list of important research problems which lie has solved for that industry will be greatly enlarged upon. Also it, is reasonable to suppose, that the long list of leaders which he has given to dairying will increase rapidly. But. thru it lie will always be that same quiet, almost, timid, yet studious and thoroughly beloved "Master Mind of Dairying."
E. M. Harmon was for four years a student of Dr. C. H. Eckles at the University of Missouri and is a graduate of that institution: Later on he spent eight years in charge of dairy extension work- in that state. During that time lie served for seven, years as secretary of the State Dairy Association and for two years as chairman of the National Association of Dairy Extension Workers. He is now associate editor of Successful Farming. His close contacts with Dr. Eckles make possible this interesting story.