This last week started off a year-long commemoration of the Morrill Act sesquicentennial. On July 2, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed this legislation, which established a system of public universities. These “Land Grant” schools had a mission. They would offer the same curriculum of other universities, and expand into subjects of agriculture science, engineering and military tactics. With support through federal funding, these schools were meant to make higher education available to citizens with fewer resources. This Act lead to the formation of the cooperative Extension Service, agricultural experiment stations and grew to include 105 colleges and universities today. Establishing a system of shared knowledge and research, for the benefit of American society. “It wasn’t so much that (Morrill) wanted to change education, but he wanted to use education to change a people and a country,” Jack Payne, head of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences said during a speech on looming budget cuts. “IFAS researchers are helping fight plant diseases and pests threatening citrus and other plants”, he said, “as well as developing new varieties of crops suited to Florida. Public funding supports such research and the education of the country’s future leaders”, he said.
For a hundred and fifty years, these agricultural innovations have helped growers in Industry and in backyards. IFAS states that “the U.S. has enjoyed huge increases in both the quality and quantity of the food, fuel and fiber crops we harvest; we’ve learned to protect land, water and air; and we’re promoting greater health for all U.S. residents and visitors.” Extension offices are a wealth of information and services. Located in virtually every county in the U.S., they coordinate youth programs like 4-H, provide soil testing, share horticultural/livestock information, and educate on financial management, home ec, consumer skills, computer use, parenting, energy efficiency and water conservation. The cooperative Extension, is an under utilized resource that everyone should check out. We have the benefit of our own Citrus County Extension Office, as well as Hernando Co Extension nearby, and every county office offers something a little different. Take a moment to explore what the Extension offers and show them your support!
Central Florida Farming Exposition, 4‐H winning poultry team. 1946
Boys’ beekeeper club in Lake County. 1925
Civil Engineering Students and Faculty. 1930s
“A Company of Volunteers” Military education was compulsory for male students at landgrant colleges for many decades. In 1895, women at the Florida Agricultural College petitioned President Oscar Clute to form a volunteer battalion of female cadets. 1895
ABC broadcast of the Hootenanny Show from the University of Florida. Johnny Cash is in black. 1964
Students in Dairy Science 310 making ice cream. 1959