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MERICAN AGRICULTURE has been continuously aware of the necessity of increasing production through sound farming practices. It is also aware that the increased production of agricultural products must be obtained without risk to the maintenance and improvement of productive resources for the years to come. The attainment of both of these objectives depends upon an adequate educational program. For this reason the Department of Agriculture has shown a significant interest in educational services throughout the years of its operation.

Five substantial activities associated with education are operated by the Department. Briefly they may be itemized as (1) Agricultural Experiment Stations, (2) Agricultural Extension Service, (3) Revenue from National Forests, (4) School Lunch Services, and (5) Technical Assistance to other Countries.

These educational projects require the allocation of more than $160,000,000 annually. In addition, the Department conducts numerous other activities in the field of education. One of these, the United States Department of Agriculture Graduate School located in Washington, D. C., serves about 6,000 students. This school is almost entirely self-supporting and does not require the outlay of any significant amount of Federal money. The five programs in which large amounts of Federal money are allocated for educational programs are described briefly in the following sections.


Federal aid has been available for many years for the operation of agricultural experiment stations. These are operated chiefly as units of the land-grant colleges of agriculture and mechanic arts. Several congressional acts have provided the Federal funds. The earliest was approved in 1887 and the latest one in 1946. The first three enactments provided "flat grants" to the States. These were approved in 1887, 1906, and 1925, respectively. Additional Federal aid, in excess of the annual "flat grant" of $90,000 per State (except Alaska) approved prior to 1935, has been allocated for the most part on a matching basis.


Aid for this program was first authorized by the Hatch Act passed in 1887. It provided that an appropriation of $15,000 may be made annually for each State or Territory, then established or to be established, to "aid in acquiring and diffusing among the people of the United States useful and practical information on subjects connected with agriculture, and to promote scientific investigation and experiment respecting principles and application of agricultural science." The law makes it the duty of the United States Department of Agriculture to coordinate the work and to disseminate research findings of the experiment stations. It also places certain responsibilities upon the recipients of the grants. For example, each State is required to file annual reports with the Secretary of Agriculture and the Treasurer of the United States and to prepare and publish special reports at regular intervals.

In 1906 Congress passed a second law known as the Adams Act. It increased the amount of Federal Government aid for research by agricultural experiment stations. The annual appropriation per State is $15,000. By its wording, this law provides for continuing appropriations. However, since it is considered as supplementary to the Hatch Act which does not so provide, the Congress makes annual appropriations for the amounts specified by both acts. The law of 1906 also increased the duties of the United States Department of Agriculture with respect to the administration of these funds.

After the passage of the Adams Act nearly two decades elapsed before additional funds, exceeding the previously approved $30,000 per State, were provided by a third law. In 1925, the Purnell Act was passed. It authorized an additional flat grant of $60,000 to be apportioned annually for agricultural experiment station work in each State. The Secretary of Agriculture is charged with the proper administration of the law.

The benefits of the Hatch, ($15,000) Adams, ($15,000) and Purnell ($60,000) Acts were extended to the Territory of Hawaii by the Hawaii Station Act of May 16, 1928. Similarly, the benefits of these three Acts were extended to Puerto Rico by the Puerto Rico Station Act of March 4, 1931. The Alaska Station Act of February 23, 1929, made the benefits of the Hatch Act available to Alaska and the Alaska Station Act of June 20, 1936, as amended by the Act of August 29, 1950, authorized full benefits of the Adams and Purnell Acts for Alaska. However, full amounts of Purnell funds have never been appropriated.

The fourth major law under which Federal Government funds are provided for State agricultural experiment stations was the

Bankhead-Jones Act of 1935. It authorized annual increases to 1940, in the amounts to be appropriated. In 1936, the first year the law was in operation, the total amount authorized for distribution to the States and Territories under the act was $600,000. In 1937 it was $1,200,000, and it continued to increase by $600,000 each year for 3 more years, when the annual amount became fixed at $3,000,000. However, appropriations have not equalled the authorizations in any year since 1938. They totaled $2,863,708 in the 1951-52 school year.

Allocations to the States under the Bankhead-Jones Act of 1935 are in addition to the funds appropriated under the earlier laws. The allocations are contingent upon an annual appropriation authorization. Unlike the earlier acts, however, this one provides that most of the funds shall be allotted to each State and Territory in the same proportion that the rural population of each is to the total rural population of the entire 48 States and 3 Territories. Furthermore, it provided that no allotment or payment of funds shall be made to a given State or Territory in excess of the amount the area makes available from its own funds for experiment station work. Because of this apportionment plan, allotments under the Bankhead-Jones Act vary considerably among the States. For example, during the 1951-52 school year, Nevada received the smallest allotment, $3,436, while Pennsylvania received the largest amount, $155,318. The average allotment per State or Territory was $56,151.

An amendment to the Bankhead-Jones Act of 1935 was enacted in 1946. It is a part of the Research and Marketing Act and authorizes additional appropriations for research by agricultural experiment stations in the States and Territories up to a total of $20,000,000 or such additional sums as Congress may deem appropriate. The first appropriation under the amendment was made for the 1947-48 school year and totaled $2,500,000. This act provides that 20 percent of the appropriation in any year shall be expended for marketing research.

The enactment of 1946 also established an entirely new formula for allotment of funds to the State agricultural experiment stations. It provides that 20 percent of the amount appropriated in any year shall be distributed equally among the 48 States and 3 Territories; 26 percent shall be distributed on the basis of relative rural population; and 26 percent shall be distributed to each State and Territory in the same proportion that the farm population of each is to the total farm population of the entire 48 States and 3 Territories. All of the above 72 percent of appropriations must be matched in full by the States.

In any year 25 percent of the appropriation may be allotted on the basis of research proposals for regional research projects which must be cooperative between at least 2 State stations. Allotments under this 25 percent of the appropriation, known as Regional Research Fund, are based upon recommendations of a committee of 9 persons representing the State agricultural experiment stations. This fund is not distributed on the basis of any prescribed formula. The Regional Research Fund and the amounts for administration need not be matched. The remaining 3 percent of the appropriation in any year is available to the Office of Experiment Stations, Department of Agriculture, for administration.

The total appropriation under the 1946 amendment to the Bankhead-Jones Act for the 1951-52 school year was $5,000,000 of which $3,600,000, or 72 percent, was allotted by formula to the 48 States, Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico. Nevada and Texas were low and high with allotments under this appropriation of $21,852 and $174,973, respectively. The average allotment per State was $70,588 for the 1951-52 school year.

Amounts allotted for State agricultural stations in accordance with the provisions of the 5 acts are presented for 5 recent years in table 23. Allotments to individual States for the 1950-51 school year are presented in column 3 of table 4, and those for the 195152 school year are listed in table 24. All of these figures have been obtained from the Office of Experiment Stations of the Department of Agriculture.

Amounts allotted to the State agricultural experiment stations for cooperative regional research, comprising 25 percent of the appropriation under the Bankhead-Jones Act of 1946, are not included in these tables. For the 1951-52 school year the Regional Research Fund amounted to $1,250,000.


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Hatch Act, 1887.

Adams Act, 1906.

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$8,950,807.90 $9,703,707.59 $11,006,207.84 $11,016,207.84 $11,028,707.84

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1 Table excludes amounts allotted from Regional Research Fund and from the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946.

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