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Our History

The Ag Research Station was made possible by the federal Hatch Act of 1887, which established the State Experiment Station System and provided land and funds for each state to develop such stations, particularly in areas of soil minerals and plant growth. Ag Research was established by the Oklahoma Territorial Legislature in 1890, followed two years later by the first building constructed on the grounds of what would someday become OSU, the Experiment Station Barn.


Today, Ag Research employs more than 100 doctorate-level faculty members who specialize in areas ranging from cattle and wheat production to cell wall biology and biofuels. 


Research labs are located in Agricultural Hall, Noble Research Center, Food & Agricultural Products and Animal Science buildings on the Stillwater campus. Additionally, Ag Research operates field, greenhouse and lab facilities at 18 research stations and centers located throughout the state.


Hatch Act of 1887

The Hatch Act states that experiment stations should, "conduct original and other research, investigations and experiments bearing directly on and contributing to the establishment and maintenance of a permanent and effective agricultural industry... " Simply stated, this legislation helps educate producers about growing conditions, which makes American agriculture more productive. Research findings from experiment station systems across the country result in improved farming methods. Hatch Act funding and federal-state research partnerships also have largely removed the drudgery of subsistence agriculture production.


The Hatch Act serves as a bridge between the Morrill Act, signed by President Lincoln in 1862, and the Smith-Lever Act of 1914. The Morrill Act gave states the authority to sell public lands to create land-grant colleges to teach agriculture and the mechanical arts. The Smith-Lever Act created the states' Cooperative Extension Service, which takes the findings of university researchers to the farmers and ranchers.


From the beginning, the system was designed to meet the needs of agriculture in specific regions. But, more often, research has applications in many places. Some breakthroughs resulting from Hatch Act funding have literally benefited every man, woman and child in the U.S. and much of the world.

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