Wednesday, January 28, 2015


August 5, 1890

   Peter H. Parker of Coventryville has received from Governor Hill the appointment of Assistant State Dairy Commissioner.

I did some research on the purpose of the State Dairy Commissioner and found the following:


   The office of Commissioner of Agriculture was created in 1893.  This officer is appointed by the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.  The term of office is for two years and he receives an annual salary of $3,000.  He is especially charged with the protection and advancement of the dairy interests of the State.  A large appropriation is annually made by the Legislature for his use, and he employs lawyers for the prosecution of persons who sell oleomargarine for butter, or who sell fraudulently any other imitation dairy product.”

   Peter H. Parker, of Coventryville, was one of ten Assistant Commissioners appointed in 1890 to assist the New York State Dairy Commissioner with his required tasks.  In addition to Mr. Parker, four cheese instructors and one department chemist were also appointed.

   On September 30, 1892, the State Dairy Commissioner submitted his written report to the New York State Legislature and it was signed by Josiah K. Brown, Commissioner.

   Here is the entire report that was filed by Peter H. Parker for his work as assistant to the commissioner.

“Report of Peter H. Parker.

Hon Josiah K. Brown, New York State Dairy Commissioner, Albany, N. Y.:

Sir.--I have the honor to submit my second annual report as assistant dairy commissioner for the sixth division, comprising of the counties of Broome, Chenango, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga, Tioga and Tompkins.

The Sixth Division

   The sixth division is one of the first in importance among the great dairy sections of this State.  Not only are its dairymen engaged in the manufacture of large quantities of butter and cheese, but over 1,000,000 cans of forty quarts each, are yearly shipped to swell the milk supply of the city of New York; nor must we forget that the flourishing inland cities of Syracuse and Binghamton draw almost their entire supply from this division, and also that scores of villages that dot its valleys receive their supply from the same source; and in the last six months the city of Philadelphia has been receiving, over the Lehigh Valley railroad, a portion of its milk from this division, and, altogether, it is safe to estimate that we yearly ship, directly to the consumer, nearly 2,000,000 cans of milk.

   The whole number of milk cows in this division at the present time is estimated at 250,000.  At the estimated value, by the Secretary of Agriculture in 1890, of twenty-eight dollars per head, the total value of these cows would be $7,000,000.

   The great milk-shipping railroad – the Delaware and Lackawanna, the Ontario and Western, the Delaware and Hudson, and Erie – pass through this division, and nearly 4,000 cans of milk are shipped daily along the lines of these roads to New York; nearly one-fourth of the milk supply of that city is furnished by the seven counties of this division.

   The above statistics, which have been compiled with great care, will show the importance of this division as a great center of the milk-shipping business; and such has been the development of this industry in the last six or eight years, that I may venture to assert at no distant day (owing in a great measure to its railroad facilities) almost the entire milk production of this division will be required by the great cities within its reach.

The Work

   The labor of controlling the quality of the great amount of milk produced in this divison for manufacturing and shipping purposes has been performed to the best of my ability with the small force of experts at my command.  There are a few factories we have been unable to reach, and a large number which have been visited but once during the year; but, while we have not been able to stop all adulterations or catch all the rogues, we find, as a result of our work a better quality of milk, which is steadily increasing, and that the influence of the Dairy Commission is being felt in every portion of this division; and I wish to state at this time, that I believe that this improvement is due to the police supervision of the Commission.  I have reached this unavoidable conclusion, from a close observation of the results of the work of the small but earnest force of men under my direction; the utmost watchfulness and vigilance is required at all times and places to prevent adulterations, not only by the producer but by the shipper, for such is the cupidity and dishonesty of unprincipled producers and dealers, that the only safety to the consumers of dairy products in this State is in the faithful discharge of the duties of the employes of the Dairy Commission.

   I am aware that it has been claimed that, with all the appropriations made for the work of the Dairy Commission, ‘it has brought no substantial benefit or increased prices to farmers.’  I think the claimant must have forgotten that the law which created the Dairy Commission, says: ‘It is for the purpose of preventing deception in the sale of dairy products, and to preserve the public health.’  This is the work laid out for the Commission and it can do nothing else.  However, it is an established fact that this ‘police supervision’ has stopped seven-eights of the adulterations of the dairy products in the State, and, by its power alone, holds in check a certain class that seeks to palm off upon the people its adulterated products.  Is anyone prepared to say that the price of pure dairy products is no better than the price of adulterated products?  If not, we must admit that the Dairy Commission has been of some benefit.

   The truth is, experiment stations and the Dairy Commission follow different lines of work, in the main.  The experiment station ‘is for the purpose of educating and informing the farmers of the details and economies of their industry.’  It is the teacher--by its experiments it becomes a great and necessary educator in the different branches of farming.  But, while it may teach the farmer how to produce better milk, better butter and better cheese, it cannot compel him to make honest products; nor can it guard the people of the State against adulterated dairy products.  This is the distinctive work of the Dairy commission—to stand between the producer and the consumer—and the Dairy commission with its police supervision obeys and enforces the law.  Remove this police supervision from any section of the State and adulterations will increase.  Blot out the wise statutes that created the Dairy Commission and in less than one year the State would be filled with oleomargarine and deluged with adulterated milk.  Could an experiment station, with all its force and all its power, stem such a tide?  No!  But the Dairy Commission, with its intelligent police supervision, could and would.

   The experiment station and the Dairy Commission were organized to accomplish great and good results.  Closely associated in their work they should labor together until they can give the dairymen of our State the highest prices, the best products, and to the people the best and purest food.

The Standard

   After working two years, I am more and more convinced of the necessity of raising the standard of milk in my division, from August first to at least January first of every year.  I believe the present standard is too low.


   We have found several lots of oleomargarine in this division but none has been sold in violation of the law, with the exception of one case, which occurred in Binghamton.  The offender steeled by paying $100.


   One case of this disease occurred in my own town, which was referred to the health office, and, after a careful examination, the animal was killed.  A post-mortem examination developed the fact that it was tuberculosis, and of the most dangerous kind.  Several other cases have occurred in my division, which have been referred to the different boards of health.


   In regard to our vinegar work, under chapter 515 of the Laws of 1889, we found a large number of parties selling vinegar that was below the standard, and in many instances these parties were ignorant of the quality of the vinegar they were selling.  After prosecuting several flagrant cases, it seemed to have the desired effect, and to-day we think there is but very little adulterated vinegar upon the market in our division.

   Of all the great and good results that have followed the work of the Dairy Commission, both to the producer and the consumer, the credit alone belongs to our worthy and efficient Dairy Commissioner, Josiah K. Brown, who has spared neither pains nor thought in working up this commission to the high standard which now exists.”


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