Growing a Nation

Historical Timeline — Agricultural Education & Extension

17th-18th Centuries

1647
Massachusetts Bay Colony requires elementary school in towns of at least 50 families and Latin school in towns of at least 100 families

18th century
Essay upon Field Husbandry written by Jared Eliot of Connecticut

1785
Thomas Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia contains one of the finest detailed descriptions of agriculture in an American State and asserts the virtues of rural life

1800

1810
First American agricultural periodical, the Agricultural Museum, begins publication

1819
The American Farmer and the Plough Boy periodicals begin publication

1820

1820s
Agricultural periodicals begin to express rural issues

1822
First issue of the New England Farmer

1825-50
Some schools and colleges begin to offer courses in agriculture and in sciences helpful to agriculture

1826
Lyceum movement begins in Massachusetts

1828
First issue of the New York Farmer; Southern Agriculturist

1830s
Public school movement gains momentum

1830-60
Popular and agricultural education is the most prominent rural issue of this period, especially in the North

1831
First issue of the Genesee Farmer

1834
First issue of the Cultivator

1840

1840
Agricultural journalism becomes permanently established, with about 30 farm journals and a total circulation of more than 100,000

1841
Union Agriculturist and Western Prairie Farmer start publication

1850
Jonathan Turner begins to campaign for industrial universities

1855
Michigan and Pennsylvania pass legislation providing for establishment of Michigan Agricultural College and the Farmers High School, later Pennsylvania State College

1860

1862
The drive for agricultural education culminates in the passage of the Morrill Land Grant College Act

1870s
Many State colleges of agriculture begin experimental work

1874
Chautauqua system founded in New York

1875
Agricultural experiment stations established in Connecticut and California

1880

1887
15 States have formally organized experiment stations; Hatch Experiment Station Act

1890's
Development of secondary agricultural education in local areas and by State

1890
Second Morrill Act broadens land-grant program and sets up funding for Black land-grant schools

1893
49 experiment stations exist under the Hatch Act

1900

1900
First corn club for boys, forerunner of 4-H clubs

1903
Seaman Knapp begins boll-weevil demonstration project, an inspiration for extension education

1906
An agricultural wagon, or moveable farmers' school, is started by Booker T. Washington of the Tuskegee Institute to teach Southern African-American farmers better methods of farming

1910

1910
Thomas Hunt Morgan announces his theory of genes

1914
Edwin Broun Fred begins to supply cultures of nitrogen-fixing bacteria to growers of legumes for the purpose of increasing the plant's nitrogen fixing capacity

1914
Smith-Lever Extension Act passed. Establishment of the federal-state Extension Service was a major step in direct education for farmers

1917
Smith-Hughes Vocational Education Act passed

1920

1920
31,000 students enrolled in agricultural courses

1924
Clark-McNary Act provides for forestry extension work

1925
Purnell Act provides for economic and sociological research to be carried out by the experiment stations

1925-45
Basic research done in land-grant colleges lays groundwork for second agricultural revolution

1928
Future Farmers of America founded

1930

1935
Bankhead-Jones Agricultural Research Act more than doubles Federal support of extension work

1940

1940
584,000 students enrolled in agricultural courses

1941
Extension agents work in every rural county in the country, including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico

1946-54
Land-grant college enrollment increases greatly as veterans enroll under G.I. bill

1950

1958
National Defense Education Act

 

 

 

 

1960

1964
Antipoverty programs lead to expansion of extension education programs in inner cities

1970

1970
853,000 students enrolled in agricultural courses

1974
Agreement between USDA and land-grant colleges establishes Council on International Science and Education

 

 

1980

1980s
Enrollments in colleges of agriculture drop in wake of the farm crisis

1985
USDA scientists indicate that agricultural chemicals infiltrate ground water more than previously thought

1990-2000

1990s
Distance education becomes an increasingly important way to make cooperative research and extension resources accessible

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