measures of agrarian organs and agricultural specialists for improving the quality of agriculture. In the USSR the agronomic service, rendered by state and public organs, extends practical assistance to kolkhozes and sovkhozes in order to increase the output of agricultural products with the least expenditure of labor and capital per unit of production.
The development of agronomic service in prerevolutionary Russia was tied in with the founding, in the second half of the nineteenth century, of higher agricultural educational institutions, academies, and agricultural schools, and with the opening of experiment stations. In 1888–89, a staff of agronomic workers was included in the province and district zemstvos (district assemblies). The basic organizational aspect of the zemstvo agronomic work consisted of agronomic sections, in which were organized experimental fields, nurseries, breeding information centers, and machine rental stations. The agronomic service included all branches of farming and animal husbandry of chiefly the landlord and kulak farms.
Following the Great October Socialist Revolution, the number of agronomic sections increased significantly; the number rose from 1,447 in 1913 to 3,334 in 1928 in the European RSFSR alone. Agronomic workers of the People’s Commissariat of Agriculture, the Agricultural League, the Seed-growing League, the Grain Center, the Flax Center, and other state and cooperative agricultural organizations and their local organs provided agronomic service for the millions of poor and middle peasant farms. The collectivization of agriculture and the creation of a network of machine tractor stations necessitated reorganization of the agronomic service. Agronomic sections were transferred to the machine-tractor system, and agronomists became not only propagandists of agricultural knowledge but also active organizers of agricultural production. The year 1934 saw the creation of a specialized network of zootechnical service, based on the work of zootechnical sections. After this time the agronomic service came to include only the various branches of crop growing. Subsequently the agronomic service system continued to develop and improve.
Following reorganization of the machine-tractor stations (1958), kolkhoz and sovkhoz agronomists began to assume the basic role in the agronomic service as organizers and technologists of agricultural production. Overall direction of the agronomic service, as before, is exercised by agronomists of the agricultural organs (USSR Ministry of Agriculture and the agriculture ministries of the Union republics and their local organs). Also participating in the agronomic service are specialists of the USSR Ministry of Land Reclamation and Water Conservation and its local organs, as well as agronomists of the procurement agencies and other organizations. An important role is played by scientific research institutions, which, on the basis of experimental data, prepare recommendations for the introduction of methods of farming, crop-rotation techniques, progressive technology, and the like into agricultural practice. The selection stations bring out new and more productive strains of agricultural crops, and assist the kolkhozes and sovkhozes in organizing strain changing and strain renewal. The branched network of strain-testing areas validates suggestions for strain zoning and tests new methods in the engineering of strains, whereas the state seed inspection stations control the quality of seed. A plant protection service is in operation. An agricultural chemistry service has been organized; this service assures agricultural production of soil and agrochemical maps. The planning organizations of the agricultural organs assist the kolkhozes and sovkhozes in working out organizational-economic plans, schemes for land management and the introduction of crop rotation, and land reclamation plans. An agrometeorological service for agriculture has been organized. Advanced experience and achievements in agricultural science are being propagandized by the press, radio, television, and agricultural exhibitions.
G. M. GOLOVIN