The agromaniacs

Improvements and modernisation of agriculture have been supported by both public and private actors through encouragement, example and agricultural training.

In many cases, 19th century agricultural policy-makers were themselves landowners: Pierre Magne in Montaigne, the Marquis de Fayolle in Tocane Saint-Âpre, Thomas-Robert Bugeaud near Excideuil, Pierre d’Arlot baron of Saint-Saud in La Roche Chalais, Léonard Piotay in Saint Médard de Mussidan or Etienne de Lentilhac among many others. Concerned about the good management and profitability of their properties, they were passionate about agriculture and, through their innovative practices, set an example for the Perigordine peasants.

These same agromantic owners were also members of the learned agricultural societies of Périgueux and they were also the ones who founded the agricultural encouragement committees scattered throughout the department.

Initially privately owned, agricultural training was organised around the Saltgourde farm school at Marsac sur l’Isle, created in 1838. The state took over with the Lavalade farm school near Bourdeilles, founded in 1870, and then with the École pratique d’agriculture in Fraysse in 1925, which provided genuine vocational agricultural training.

Illustrations :

– Portrait of Dr Léonard Piotay on the monument erected in Echourgnac to the benefactors of the Double in 1868 (©Musée André Voulgre)

– Portrait of Pierre François Gustave d’Arlot baron de Saint-Saud in Pierre François Gustave d’Arlot baron de Saint-Saud, Bergerac, Imprimerie Générale du Sud-ouest, 1895, p. 2 = B5I15

– Photograph of the manor house of the Domaine de Biscaye in Echourgnac by Doctor Piotay. This property was the embryo of the estate of the Trappist abbey of Notre Dame de Bonne Espérance when it was founded in 1868. (©Musée André Voulgre)

– Photograph of the farm buildings of the Fournils de M. de Laurière estate and its modern dairy farm in 1926 (©Musée André Voulgre).

– Photographs of Mussidan’s agricultural festival 2014.9.36 and 9.37

– Lithograph of the farm-school of Salegourde from Annales agricoles et littéraires, t.1, 1840, p. 5

– Postcard of the Professional School of Horticulture and Agriculture with orphanage in Le Fraysse, near Vergt (Dordogne). Archives Départementales de la Dordogne 2 Fi 2168