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Speeches of Hugh Hammond Bennett

Photo of Hugh Hammond Bennett

Hugh Hammond Bennett (April 15, 1881–July 7, 1960), the father of soil conservation in the United States and first Chief of the Soil Conservation Service, joined the Bureau of Soils in 1903 as a soil surveyor. His crusading zeal for conservation was born of his experiences studying soils and agriculture nationally and internationally. The gullied land as well the less visible evidences of what he called sheet erosion convinced him of the need for conservation. As evidenced by the passage of the Soil Conservation Act of April 27, 1935, and the growth of the Soil Conservation Service into the preeminent conservation agency, his success was due in no small part to his great skills as a communicator. He became the master of the written and the spoken word in the cause of conservation.

These speeches are but a small selection of the numerous ones he presented. Colleagues recall that he polished speeches diligently, just as he had the several hundred articles that he published. The speeches supplement the articles as a record of his influence on the conservation movement and the work of the Service. The Soil Conservation Service of Bennett's time harnessed several sciences and disciplines to the cause of conservation, worked in locations of widely varying agricultural and geographical settings, and performed worked of interest to diverse groups. The selection of the following speeches was made with a view to covering the diversity of topics and audiences that the Chief addressed.



The Cost and Control of Soil Erosion (09/03/30)
A radio talk by H.H. Bennett, Bureau of Chemistry and Soils, delivered through WRC and 37 other radio stations associated with the National Broadcasting Company, September 3, 1930.

Some Recent Results of Soil Erosion Research (10/24/32)
A radio talk by H.H. Bennett, Bureau of Chemistry and Soils, delivered Monday, October 24, 1932, in the Department of Agriculture period, National Farm and Home Hour, broadcast by a network of 46 associate NBC radio stations.

Lectures on Soil Erosion: Its Extent and Meaning and Necessary Measures of Control (11/04–05/32)
Address delivered in connection with the South Carolina Teacher-training program by H.H. Bennett, Chief, In Charge Soil Erosion Investigations, Bureau of Chemistry and Soils, U.S. Department of Agriculture, at Spartanburg and Clemson College, November 4, 1932; Columbia and Rock Hill, November 5, 1932.

Soil Erosion a Costly Farm Evil (01/31/33)
Address by H.H. Bennett, Chief, Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farmers' Week Program, Ohio State University, January 31, 1933.

Wildlife and Erosion Control (10/29/35)
Presented by H.H. Bennett, Chief, Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, before 31st Annual Convention, National Association of Audubon Societies, New York, October 29, 1935.

Soil Conservation and Flood Control (07/25/36)
Address by H.H. Bennett, Chief, Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, before the Connecticut Engineering Congress, Bridgeport, Conn., July 25, 1936.

Wildlife and the Soil Conservation Service Program (02/09/38)
A talk By Hugh H. Bennett, Chief, Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, to the Soil Conservation Service Regional Biologists assembled in annual conference at Washington, D. C., February 9, 1938.

Erosion and Rural Relief (03/09/38)
Statement of H. H. Bennett, Chief, Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, on March 9, 1938, before Special Senate Committee to Investigate Unemployment and Relief.

Land Use and Public Programs (12/29/38)
Address by H. H. Bennett, Chief, Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Richmond, Virginia, December 29, 1938.

Water Control and Soil Conservation (11/02/39)
Address by Dr. H. H. Bennett, Chief, Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, at the dedication of Hydrologic Research project, Coshocton, Ohio, November 2, 1939.

America at War With Erosion (01/31/40)
Address by H. H. Bennett, Chief, Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, delivered before the meeting of the Wisconsin Farm and Home Week, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, January 31, 1940.

Developing Enlightened Public Opinion in Conservation (07/02/40)
Address by Hugh H. Bennett, Chief, Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, before the Assembly on Use of Human and Natural Resources in Education, 78th Annual Meeting, National Education Association, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, July 2, 1940.

Science in Soil Conservation (06/26/41)
Address by H. H. Bennett, Chief, Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, to Northeast Section of the American Society of Agronomy, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Durham, New Hampshire, June 26, 1941.

Some Relations of Soil Conservation to Rivers and Harbors (11/14/41)
Address of H.H. Bennett, Chief, Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Special Session of National Rivers and Harbors Congress, Miami, Florida, November 14, 1941.

The Program of the United States Soil Conservation Service (12/00/41)
One of several articles on Soil and Water Conservation in the U.S.A. by H. H. Bennett, Chief, Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, prepared for the International Institute of Agriculture, Rome, Italy, December 1941.

The South Tomorrow (06/11/42)
Address by Hugh H. Bennett, Chief, Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, given before Meetings of Friends of the Land, Atlanta, Georgia, June 11, 1942.

Soil Conservation Goes to War (11/07/42)
Summary of an address by H. H. Bennett, Chief, Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, before the Royal Canadian Institute, Toronto, Canada, November 7, 1942, SCS-MP 27, March, 1943.

Conservation for Wartime and After (02/25/43)
Speech presented by H. H. Bennett, Chief, Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, at the Friends of The Land Meeting, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, February 25, 1943.

The Development of Natural Resources: The Coming Technological Revolution on the Land (10/02/46)
Address delivered by H. H. Bennett, Chief, Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, before "Engineering and Human Affairs" Conference at the Princeton University Bicentennial Conference, Princeton, New Jersey, October 2, 1946.

Looking Forward in Soil Conservation (04/21/47)
Address prepared for delivery by Dr. Hugh H. Bennett, Chief, Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture,Washington, D.C., at Friends of the Land dinner, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 21, 1947.

Sound Use of Ranch Land (12/02/47)
Address prepared for delivery by Dr. H. H. Bennett, Chief, Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C., at the Annual Meeting of the Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers' Association, El Paso, Texas, December 2, 1947.

The Challenge of Soil Conservation (04/05/48)
Lecture by H. H. Bennett, Chief, Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, as part of the Great Issues Course, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire. April 5, 1948.

Soil Conservation and Flood Control (07/08/48)
Address by H.H. Bennett, Chief, Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washita River Watershed Flood Control Dedication Celebration, near Cordell, Oklahoma. July 8, 1948.

Straight Furrows Are Out of Date on Sloping Land (08/19–20/48)
Address by H.H. Bennett, Chief, Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1948 Pilot Rock Plowing Match and Farm Renovation Day, Cherokee County, Iowa. August 19– 20, 1948.

Now the Soil Conservation Job Can Be Done (10/07/48)
Address by H. H. Bennett, Chief, Soil Conservation Service, , U.S. Department of Agriculture, Annual Meeting, Friends of the Land, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. October 7, 1948.

Soil Conservation and Stream Pollution (04/21/49)
Address by H.H. Bennett, Chief, Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, joint meeting sponsored by the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania. April 21, 1949.

The New Soil Conservation Era (05/11/49)
Address by H.H. Bennett, Chief, Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Spring Annual Meeting of Texas Garden Clubs, Inc., San Antonio, Texas. May 11, 1949.

The Banker and Soil Conservation (04/08/50)
Address by H.H. Bennett, Chief, Soil Conservation Service , U.S. Department of Agriculture, Eleventh Annual Pacific Northwest Conference on Banking, Washington State College, Pullman, Washington. April 8, 1950.

Soil Conservation and Wildlife (06/17/50)
Address by H.H. Bennett, Chief, Soil Conservation Service. , U.S. Department of Agriculture, 13th Annual Convention of Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Ludington, Michigan. June 17, 1950.

Progress in Soil Conservation (12/00/50)
Address by H.H. Bennett, Chief, Soil Conservation Service, , U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Paper No. 1, presented at the Fourth Inter-American Conference on Agriculture, Montevideo, December 1950.

Relation of Soil Erosion to Coastal Waters (03/22/51)
Address by H. H. Bennett, Chief, U. S. Soil Conservation Service, Fourth Semi-Annual Seminar Texas Game, Fish, and Oyster Commission's Marine Laboratory, Rockport, Texas. March 22, 1951.

Rewards of Soil Conservation (04/06/51)
Summary of remarks by H.H. Bennett, Chief, USDA, Soil Conservation Service, annual award presentation, 29th national convention Izaak Walton League of America, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio. April 6, 1951.

The Complete Watershed Program in Flood Control (08/11/51)
Address by H.H. Bennett, Chief, USDA, Soil Conservation Service. Newspaper Editors' Flood Control Meeting, Lincoln, Nebraska. August 11, 1951.

Grass for Soil Conservation and Better Yields (08/19/51)
Address by H.H. Bennett, Chief, USDA, Soil Conservation Service, at Grass Conference, Atlanta, Georgia. August 19, 1951.

Conservation for Coming Generations Through Education (11/03/51)
Address by H.H. Bennett, Chief, USDA, Soil Conservation Service, before Wisconsin Education Association, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, November 3, 1951.

Soil Conservation Progress and Opportunity (04/16/52)
Talk by H.H. Bennett, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Agriculture, Black Belt Soil Conservation District field day, Marengo County (Demopolis) Alabama, Wednesday, April 16, 1952.


If you are interested in other speeches by Hugh Hammond Bennett, please contact Douglas Helms.