The Kentucky Agriculture Experiment Station was established in Fayette County in September, 1885, after President James Patterson and two Board of Trustees members attended a meeting in Washington, D.C.; at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in which representatives from state agricultural colleges discussed the need for scientific, experimental, agricultural research. Roughly a dozen other state colleges had established experiment stations as part of their agriculture departments, and Patterson urged that Kentucky follow suit. This trend preceded the official legislation passed by Congress in 1887, known as the Hatch Act, which called for every state to establish agriculture experiment stations associated with the state agricultural college, and provided federal funding for those experiment stations. Following this act, the experiment station became officially and legally known as the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station, federally funded, controlled by the state of Kentucky, and housed in the University of Kentucky Agriculture department.

Biography/History provides more information on our history.

Kentucky Revised Statutes

The Morrill Act

Hatch and Multistate Funding

McIntire-Stennis Funding

Animal Health Funding

Morrill Acts, 1862 and 1890

The Morrill Act of 1862 created land-grant institutions so that working class citizens could have equal access to higher education with a focus on farming and mechanical skills. Subsequently the Morrill Act of 1890 established the 1890 and 1994 land-grant institutions to address educational inequality among African Americans and Native Americans.

Hatch Act, 1887

NIFA’s roots go back to 1888, a year after the Hatch Act authorized strengthening the capacity of land-grant universities to research agricultural problems faced by rural citizens. The Act funded land-grant colleges in order to create a series of agricultural experiment stations, laying a foundation for the cooperative extension services created by the 1914 Smith Lever Act Extension Act. To support and finance this mission, USDA established the earliest predecessor to NIFA — the Office of Experiment Stations.

Smith-Lever Act of 1914

The 1914 Smith Lever Act Extension created a Cooperative Extension Service associated with each land-grant institution. This partnership between agricultural colleges and USDA enables the dissemination of information produced by the experiment stations’ research.