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This Volume Is Published

In Observance of the USDA-Land-Grant College

Centennials, 1962


Successful modern-day agriculture in the United States reflects in considerable part a century of effective cooperative relations between the land-grant colleges and the United States Department of Agriculture. In 1962 we will commemorate the signing by Abraham Lincoln on May 15, 1862, of "An act establishing the United States Department of Agriculture," and on July 2, 1862, of “An act donating public lands to the several States and Territories which may provide colleges for the benefit of American agriculture and the mechanic arts.

With the approaching centennials in mind, the Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy of the Association of LandGrant Colleges and State Universities (ESCOP), in 1958 expressed a desire for a document that would provide a record of experiment station policy developments. The Committee suggested an annotated publication with an index for quick reference.

In the hundred years that have passed since they were established, the Department of Agriculture, as a Federal agency, and the landgrant colleges, as State-administered institutions supported in part by Federal grants, have carried on many interdependent and cooperative programs. Together they have contributed much to the growth of American farm technology. In 1860, 2 years before the organic acts were passed, one farmworker supported only 4.53 persons. In 1890, 3 years after the Hatch Experiment Station Act of 1887 became law, one farm worker supported 5.77 persons.

Since then there has been a steady increase in each decade. In 1960, one farmworker supported 26 persons. Credit for this increase in productivity must go to many individuals and institutions. Important influences were favorable farm and home environment, traditional American beliefs in public education, credit opportunities, significant shifts from manpower and horsepower to mechanical power and machines.

Research administrators and directors of experiment stations recognize that prior and parallel developments had much to do with the growth of modern farm technology. They fully acknowledge the effective contributions of industrial agencies and organizations in making American agriculture more productive. McCormick and his reaper, the steel plows, the cream separator, tractors, combines, and many more recent mechanical developments have brought tremendous acceleration. Their successful development was encouraged by the gradual evolvement of a workable system whereby scientific research was directed toward continuous improvement of farm practice. The organized agricultural research and closely related educational programs extended new knowledge from the scientific laboratory and experimental plots to the farmer. The land-grant colleges and the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided the cooperative framework. Thus the twin centennials of the organic acts creating the Department and the land-grant institutions present an appropriate occasion for this review.

The purpose of this volume is to document and evaluate administrative and policy developments in the operations of the State agricultural experiment stations. Growth of the agricultural experiment station concept as part of the land-grant college system reveals an historical epoch in bringing search for knowledge in closer relationship with teaching at institutions of higher learning. Cooperation among the individual land-grant colleges and between them and the Federal Department of Agriculture provides a unique pattern that can well be regarded as a model for effective State

Federal cooperation in many scientific endeavors.

State agricultural experiment stations as divisions of the landgrant colleges, responsible only to their parent institutions and State governments, have through the years been closely related to the Federal Department of Agriculture because of the Federal-grant support for agricultural research, first authorized in the Hatch Act of 1887. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is charged with the administration of the Hatch Act and subsequent amendatory legislation providing for support of agricultural research at the State stations.

The pattern for the conduct of agricultural research evolved gradually during the past 100 years. Following passage of the LandGrant Act, some of the farm leaders and government officials questioned whether experiment stations should be a part of the academic institutions. At the same time others urged that research was a vital part of seeking the scientific knowledge essential for the "improvement of agriculture."

Interests of farmer, educator, scientist, and legislator occupied the stage at various times for a phase of activity that contributed to the progressive development of the American system of agricultural research organization, administration, and development.

The first part of this publication presents important background information that relates to origin of the concept of a tax-supported experiment station. Included are brief reviews of the historical development of the experiment station idea in Europe and the experiences of American agricultural leaders in promoting the establishment of experiment stations in the United States. ,

Early activities in research administration and policy development reveal the dedication of experiment station leaders to the research ideal. Examples include the early efforts to make stations independent institutions; the persistent attempts to create a national association of station workers; the continuing effort to maintain balance between Federal Department of Agriculture research programs and State station programs, with full recognition of the responsibility of the States within their respective jurisdictions; efforts to reduce teaching loads and extension assignments in order to free investigators for research ; and the periodic movements to obtain additional funds for station research.

The historical review reveals occasional conflict in viewpoints within the station movement itself and concerning other institutions with which the stations have historically established interdependent relationships. These could have produced continuing antagonisms and friction. But, as men of dedicated purpose and good will, the station

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