The university's Division of Agriculture, Forestry,
and Veterinary Medicine exists because of the state and
the nation's commitment to making America's food and
fiber system the most effective one in the world. That
commitment dates to the mid-19th century and is as up-to-date
as the space age. As a matter of fact, agriculture forms
the indispensable base on which all our modern technological
and economic advances rest.
nation's more successful farmers have always been those
that sought the most reliable information about agricultural
practices. Among their ranks are founding fathers George
Washington and Thomas Jefferson. These gentlemen farmers
maintained detailed production records and networks of
contacts for information exchange.
As the United States developed, influential men like
Washington and Jefferson expressed greater interest in
a more scientific approach to agriculture. At the same
time, interest in the general welfare of the common people
increased. The federal government responded with a series
of actions beginning with the establishing of the United
States Department of Agriculture as a Presidential cabinet-level
department in 1862.
and deeper scholarship in production and marketing of agricultural
products was needed to enhance the nation's major industry.
This need fueled one of the nation's greatest contributions
to modern education--the agricultural and mechanical college.
This approach to education combined the scholarly with
the practical with the avowed purpose of improving opportunity
for the masses.
Act of 1862 established
these colleges nationwide. Called the land-grant system,
this class of colleges was originally endowed by grants
of public lands in the developing western United States.
Mississippi joined the movement with the first assignment
of land-grant funding to Alcorn University and the University
of Mississippi in 1871. The State A&M College near
Starkville was established as Mississippi's land-grant
institution in 1878.
In 1887, the Hatch
the agricultural experiment station system, modeled on
European stations, but with a distinctly American interest
in applied research. The Mississippi legislature responded
with its experiment station act in
1888. Although the federal act bears the name of Missouri's
William Henry Hatch, significant credit must be given
to our state's Senator James Z. George. He introduced
the first experiment station bill in 1885 only to see
it stall in the House of Representatives.
The Second Morrill Act,
passed in 1890 after 18 years of debate, provided for
direct annual appropriations to each state to support
its land-grant college.
of land-grant colleges and experiment stations resulted
in a growing logjam of knowledge that needed to be made
available to the farmer and farm family in the field. A
variety of activities including farmers institutes, agricultural
societies, and corn and tomato clubs were tried to meet
these needs. In response, the Smith-Lever
Act of 1914 established cooperative extension work.Mississippi's
legislature had earlier responded with funding for demonstration
work by county departments of agriculture in 1908. In
1916, the state legislature assigned responsibility for extension
work to A&M College.
School of Forest Resources was established in 1954.
In 1961, a separate vice presidency was established for
The national experiment
station agenda was further enhanced in 1962 with passage
of the McIntire-Stennis
Forestry Act. With 17 million acres of commercial
forests, Mississippi has a significant stake in forestry
research and development.
legislature further recognized the crucial nature of
forestry resources with the establishment of the Forest
Products Utilization Laboratory in 1964. The act
designed to establish a program for the discovery and
dissemination of knowledge concerning forest products
and the uses thereof."
decades later, the state legislature determined that
line-item budgetary status for the state's forestry,
forest products, and wildlife and fisheries research
programs should be consolidated in a single unit, the Forest
and Wildlife Research Center.
In 1974, the legislature, recognizing the public benefit
of animal health services, directed the Board of Trustees
of the State Institutions of Higher Learning to establish
a College of Veterinary Medicine at
State. Veterinary practice and research are keys to the
success of the food and fiber system in dealing with
an animal industry that exceeds one billion dollars in
value. And, the public health benefits from rapid and
accurate diagnosis of animal diseases transmissible to