Voices of Rutgers Cooperative Extension History

Calvin G. Wettstein

Retired Hunterdon County Agricultural Agent

Department: Rutgers Cooperative Extension
Year Retired: 1987
If a county agent, what county? Hunterdon
Current Residence:  Stockton, NJ

Briefly describe your work in Cooperative Extension
Served as a source of information to dairymen, livestock producers, field crop farmers, and others. I also had the responsibility for dairy program in Somerset and northern Mercer County
Printed newsletters and produced meetings, farm office visits (newspaper column)

How did your work impact the lives of the clientele you worked with?
Hopefully, farmers and others gained knowledge and understanding to improve their efforts in production and marketing

What are you most proud of during your extension career?
Being a significant “agent” in the agricultural community

What were a few of your most memorable experiences in Cooperative Extension?
Perhaps the most memorable was producing short courses in dairy, field crops in cooperation with Somerset and Mercer county agents. They made a “good team”

Comment: An Interesting Story from the 30’s
Dwight Babbitt was Hunterdon County Agriculture Agent from 1934-1959. He was an effective agent, and an interesting person. In 1937, he brought Extension Specialist, Enos Perry, to a Hunterdon County Board of Agriculture meeting. Enos Perry had just returned from a trip to Europe, including Denmark, where he had observed a cooperative formed to provide breeding services by artificial insemination of dairy cattle. Perry presented the information he had collected in Denmark to the Board. The Board of Ag responded with an effort to develop an “AI” cooperative. With considerable effort by the Board and that of Dwight A. Babbitt and Enos J. Perry, the first farmers’ cooperative was formed, “The Cooperative Artificial Breeding Association, Unit #1”. This made it possible for small farmers to, first and foremost, eliminate the use of a bull, a very dangerous animal on the farm, and to improve the genetic makeup, milk production and physical conformation, using top flight, proven dairy bulls.

“AI” spread as cooperatives were formed across the country.

E.J. Perry was called by many “the father of AI” in the U.S.