Why does the LSU AgCenter exist?

Hampton Grunewald  |  2/4/2012 3:25:43 AM

The Morrill Act of 1862, commonly referred to as the Land-Grant Act, allocated land to each state based on the number of U.S. Senators and Congressmen represen.ng the state. The number of representa­tives was based on the 1860 census. The land given to each state was to be sold, with profits being placed in an interest-bearing fund, allowing for interest to be used for establishment of colleges in each state to provide educa.onal programs for the benefit of agriculture and the mechanic arts. In Louisiana, this funding spurred the growth and development of the Louisiana State University A&M College.

The Hatch Act of 1887 allocates federal funding for the establishment of an agricultural experiment sta­tion in conjunction with the state‚Äôs land-grant college. As a requirement, each state receiving these funds must match the federal allocation amount with an equal amount of nonfederal state funding. Congress charged the experiment stations with promotion of efficient production, marketing, distribu­tion and utlization of products by conducting original and other research to ensure the establishment of a permanent and effective agricultural industry in the United States.

As a result of creating land-grant institutions through the Morrill Act of 1862 and experiment stations through the Hatch Act of 1887, the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 was established as a partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and land-grant universities, referred to as cooperative extension. This act allows for the distribution of useful and practical, research-based information on subjects re­lating to agriculture, home economics and rural energy, through county agents. Funding through the Smith-Lever Act also requires a match from the state of an equal amount of nonfederal state funding.

As a result of these three acts, Louisiana State University A&M College was created and the agricultural experiment station and extension were added into the mission of the college. Under the authority of the Louisiana Constitution(Const 8:7), the Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors was created and given the authority to manage the institutions, statewide agricultural programs and other programs managed through its system. In 1972, the Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors adopted a motion to remove the agricultural experiment and cooperative extension services from the authority of Louisiana State University A&M College and create the Center for Agricultural Sciences and Rural Devel­opment (now known as the LSU AgCenter) with the responsibility for the agricultural research and ex­tension programs throughout the state, as well as river water research. The Center for Agricultural Sci­ences and Rural Development was added into the Louisiana Revised Statutes as an institution of the Louisiana State University System under its board of supervisors (R.S. 17:3215).

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