Biography of Andrew H. Christiansen
Humboldt County, CA Biographies





ANDREW H. CHRISTIANSEN, B. S. - One of the many progressive movements that have placed Humboldt county in the forefront of the forward march of the west has been the recent establishment of a Farm Bureau and the securing, under the new state law providing for such, a farm adviser, whose duty it is to cooperate with the farmers on any and all questions that are of interest to them, to make a careful study of local conditions and to then strive to overcome any defects that may exist in the rural life of the community, whatever they may be. The new farm adviser for Humboldt county is Andrew H. Christiansen, a Humboldt county boy, and one who before he received a technical education, was a practical farmer and dairyman, having been reared on a dairy farm in this county. He received his appointment to the new position in 1913, and already he has worked incredible good throughout the county, co-operating with the farmers, making scientific analyses of the soil, and advising and demonstrating as to the quality and value of fertilization, etc.

Mr. Christiansen is a native of Tondern, Sleswick, Germany, born November 18, 1880, the son of Jorgen C. and Mary (Nissen) Christiansen. When he was a babe of but one year his parents came to America, settling at Ferndale, Humboldt county, Cal., where the father is a rancher and dairyman, owning a well cared for ranch of twenty five acres. There are three children in the family, the eldest being the subject of this sketch, and the others, Anna, the wife of John Rossen, a rancher of Ferndale, and John M. Andrew H. Christiansen grew to manhood on the farm at Ferndale, attending the local schools and assisting with the farm work. He graduated from the Arcata high school in 1903, and in 1904 matriculated at the University of California, graduating from the Department of Agriculture in 1911 with the degree of Bachelor of Science. During the time between 1904 and 1911 he spent eighteen months following his sophomore year on a ranch on Bear river. Still later he returned to the University for post graduate work, and for two years he was a teacher of agriculture at the high school at Livermore. He was appointed to the staff of the University as assistant professor of agricultural extension, and assigned to his present position in July, 1913, and is meeting with unqualified success in the new field of endeavor.

The marriage of Mr. Christiansen took place at Berkeley, in 1909, uniting him with Miss Anna Staples, of San Francisco, also a graduate of the State University. They have two children, Andrew H., Jr., and Freya. Both Mr. and Mrs. Christiansen are popular members of their social circle in Eureka, where they have many friends.

Mr. Christiansen is a member of the faculty of the University of California, in the Agricultural Extension Department, and is paid, so far as his salary goes, by the University, from a special fund appropriated for this particular purpose by the recent legislature. He is also on the staff of the Bureau of Plant Industry of the United States Department of Agriculture and is intimately connected with the Agricultural Department of the state and of the nation. His office also cooperates with the supervisors of Humboldt county to the extent that they supply the traveling expenses of the farm adviser. The idea and purpose of the office is manifold, and may be designated as follows: First, to provide meeting places and meetings for the purpose of discussing improvements on the business end of farming. Second, to create a better social spirit throughout the country and farm districts, and to provide for gatherings where problems of the farm, home and community may be discussed. Third, to provide discussions of the means of buying and selling the farm produce. Fourth, to provide meeting places for discussions of rural schools and schools dealing with country life, both in the home and on the farm. There are now nineteen centers of the Humboldt County Farm Bureau where all such questions as rural credits, better seeds, liability acts relating to farms, eight hour laws, home sanitation, tuberculin testing, and prevention of tuberculosis, and a host of other subjects may be discussed. These centers are: Orleans, Orick, Trinidad, McKinleyville, Blue Lake, Arcata, Freshwater, Eureka, Lolëta, Fortuna, Ferndale, Carlotta, Capetown, Mattole, Ettersburg, Garberville, Fort Seward, Dyerville and Bridgeville.

The first work that Mr. Christiansen did when he assumed the duties of his new office was to make a scientific test of the soil to ascertain whether or not it needed lime, and upon discovery that it did he set to work to induce the farmers to use it. Finally one man was persuaded to make the test by putting lime on one half of an alfalfa field and when the limed portion of the field showed so great an improvement in the strength, vigor and growth of the plants, the leading farmers of the valley were brought together to witness the results. They estimated that the limed portion would produce fully four times as much as the unlimed land, and there naturally followed a series of experiments with all manners of crops on all manners of soils. The lime was, however, far too expensive for practical purposes, and even when bought at wholesale in large quantities was still almost prohibitive. Mr. Christiansen has, however, located a vast deposit of lime in the county and is now at work on the organization of a cooperative company among the farmers for the burning of this lime and its delivery to them at absolute cost, which will be the merest fraction of the ordinary retail market price, and will enable its free use.

These are only a few of the things that Mr. Christiansen has already accomplished in the county, and the work of his department has grown so rapidly that he has found it necessary to have an assistant, and M. A. W. Lee, a graduate of the class of 1914, University of California, has been appointed to fill this place. In their office in Eureka they have a fully equipped chemical laboratory for the testing of plants and for soil analysis, and the outlines of the contemplated work are wide and far reaching.

That Humboldt county is the first in the state to take advantage of the new law, and give her farmers the advantage of scientific advice on farm problems, is a matter of pride to her citizens, and is proving of great value to the agricultural industry of the county. The plan is not a new one and has been followed in eastern states, but it has been the privilege of this county to blaze the way for the west. That the citizens have bee so happy in their choice of the first incumbent of the office is also cause for congratulation. He is popular and is a man of the strictest integrity. He comes from one of the best families in the county, and his home life is exemplary. His ability, splendid judgment, force of character and natural adaptability as a leader and organizer are proving of great value, and his understanding of human nature, which enables him to meet the practical farmer on his own ground, has made it possible for him to establish a good fellowship throughout the county that is in itself a worker of wonders in progress and cooperation.

From:
History of Humboldt County, California
With a Biographical Sketches
History by Leigh H. Irving
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1915


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