The UMass Amherst Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment, the University’s central location for research and educational outreach on agriculture, natural resources, and food systems, was founded in 2001 as the "Center for Agriculture." The center is part of the College of Natural Sciences and works in cooperation with the National Institute for Food and Agriculture at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is home to the Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station, UMass Extension, the Water Resources Research Center and four off-campus farm-based research and education centers. It is also affiliated with the UMass Cranberry Station.
The center is the proud bearer of our national land-grant university tradition of agricultural research and education with which the university began, as Massachusetts Agricultural College, in 1863. “Mass Aggie,” as it was called, was founded, as were public colleges and universities in other states, with the proceeds from sales of land granted to Massachusetts under the federal Morrill Land Grant Act, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Lincoln in 1862.
In 1882 the Massachusetts Legislature created the Massachusetts State Agricultural Experiment Station on campus (East and West Experiment Stations were its original buildings) and, in 1887, after passage of the federal Hatch Act, the campus created the federally-funded Hatch Experiment Station and the two were merged in 1894. The Experiment Station today receives federal funding under both the Hatch Act and McIntire-Stennis Forestry Research Act of 1962, and in turn funds faculty research in agriculture, food systems, nutrition, forestry, environment and other topics.
After Mass. Agricultural College became Mass. State College in 1931, both the Experiment Station and Extension Service continued their work as part of the State College’s College of Agriculture, which has evolved and held different names over the years, including College of Food and Natural Resources, College of Natural Resources and the Environment and, after a merger in 2009, the College of Natural Sciences. During the 1990’s, UMass Extension became a unit of a new university-wide Division of Outreach. This Division was disbanded in 2009 and Extension returned to the College of Natural Sciences, now as part of the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment.
Amherst, Mass. : Agricultural Experiment Station, 1907-1973.
Amherst, Mass. : Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station, 1974-
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[Amherst, Mass.] : Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station, 1907-1927.