History of the Station and Legislative Charges

The federal–state partnership that provides public funds to State Agricultural Experiment Stations has a long history and is one of the longest ongoing public research and development endeavors in U.S. history. The New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station is proud to be the Granite State's steward of these public research investment and is committed to continuing the strong tradition of developing science for the public good. 


Land-grant colleges were established by the federal Morrill Land-Grant College Act of 1862. The mostly private higher institutions of the time focused primarily on law, philosophy, medicine and theology, and most citizens did not have access to the benefits of higher education. In contrast, these new public colleges were charged to provide a broad intellectual education to the masses, and to specifically include foci in agriculture and the mechanic arts (now engineering).

New Hampshire accepted the provisions of the Land-Grant College Act that same year. The state thereby received a grant of land from the federal government, to be sold or auctioned, the proceeds of which were to be used to create the public institution having the specified mission -- hence the name land-grant college (now university). New Hampshire received 150,000 acres -- each state received 30,000 acres per federal representative and senator -- then sold this for $80,000 and agreed to pay 6 percent of it per year to fund the new college. The New Hampshire College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts was created in 1866 as a part of the existing institution at Dartmouth. Unhappy with the early performance of the college at Dartmouth, Durham farmer and businessman Benjamin Thompson willed his farm to the state under the condition that they establish a school to promote the cause of agriculture. By 1893, the college and associated NH Agricultural Experiment Station moved from Hanover to Durham, anchoring what is now UNH.

We comprise a formative and fundamental aspect of UNH and the national network of land-grant institutions, and we provide outstanding services to local, state, national, and international stakeholders.

Twenty-five years after the Morrill Act, the federal Hatch Act of 1887 was passed in response for the need for a vibrant agricultural research enterprise at each land-grant college, creating the national system of State Agricultural Experiment Stations. The New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station (NHAES) was established that year (still in Hanover) as the university's first research organization. The formula or capacity funding system allocates the appropriate USDA budget component to individual state experiment stations and thereby provides a capacity to support the considerable agricultural infrastructure required to undertake meaningful research that has relevance to both state and national needs. As of 1935 the respective states must match the federal dollars toward AES research. The McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Research Act was passed in 1962 to encourage forestry-related research. This program also requires state funding match and is administered through the NH Agricultural Experiment Station.

Fifty-two years following establishment of the land-grant system, the federal Smith-Lever Act of 1914 responded to a need to more effectively extend the findings of the research conducted by the state agricultural experiment stations to relevant stakeholders. It established the Cooperative Extension Service and provided federal funds for extension activities at the land-grant institutions. As with the Hatch and McIntire-Stennis acts, states are required to provide a one-for-one match from nonfederal resources.

This completed the three-legged stool that is often used as analogy for the land-grant institutions. Each of the three missions -- learning, discovery, and engagement -- are critical components of the modern land-grant university, and each comprises distinct entities with specific statutory mission but which are intended to collaborate closely. When these enterprises work seamlessly together, the differentiation is often unapparent to consumers including students, faculty, and stakeholders within the state and region.

One of the largest research organizations at UNH, the NH Agricultural Experiment Station has transitioned over the years in response to state and national goals and statutes, along with societal, budgetary, and other forces. We comprise a formative and fundamental aspect of UNH and the national network of land-grant institutions, and we provide outstanding services to local, state, national, and international stakeholders. Within UNH we annually provide significant funding in direct support of research, teaching, and engagement in sustainable agriculture, forestry, environmental sciences, and rural communities. Funding and management for the UNH farms, dairies, and research greenhouses comes from the experiment station, along with an appropriate contribution by the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture.

William Henry Hatch

William Henry Hatch

Act of 1887 Establishing Agricultural Experiment Stations

An act to establish agricultural experiment stations in connection with the colleges established in the several States under the provisions of an act approved July second, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, and of the acts supplementary thereto.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That in order to aid in acquiring and diffusing among the people of the United States useful and practical information on subjects connected with agriculture, and to promote scientific investigation and experiment respecting the principles and applications of agricultural science, there shall be established, under direction of the college or colleges or agricultural department of colleges in each State or Territory established, or which may hereafter be established, in accordance with the provisions of an act approved July second, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, entitled "An act donating public lands to the several States and Territories which may provide colleges for the benefit of agriculture and the mechanic arts," or any of the supplements to said act, a department to be known and designed as an "agricultural experiment station": Provided, That in any State or Territory in which such colleges have been or may be so established the appropriation hereinafter made to such State or Territory shall be equally divided between such colleges, unless the legislature of such State or Territory shall otherwise direct.

That it shall be the object and duty of said experiment stations to conduct original researches or verify experiments on the physiology of plants and animals; the diseases to which they are severally subject, with the remedies for the same; the chemical composition of useful plants at their different stages of growth; the comparative advantages of rotative cropping as pursued under a varying series of crops; the capacity of new plants or trees for acclimation; the analysis of soils and water; the chemical composition of manures, natural or artificial, with experiments designed to test their comparative effects on crops of different kinds; the adaptation and value of grasses and forage plants; the composition and digestibility of the different kinds of food for domestic animals; the scientific and economic questions involved in the production of butter and cheese; and such other researches or experiments bearing directly on the agricultural industry of the United States as may in each case be deemed advisable, having due regard to the varying conditions and needs of the respective States or Territories.

That in order to secure, as far as practicable, uniformity of methods and results in the work of said stations, it shall be the duty of the United States Commissioner [now Secretary] of Agriculture to furnish forms, as far as practicable, for the tabulation of results of investigation or experiments; to indicate from time to time such lines of inquiry as to him shall seem most important, and, in general, to furnish such advice and assistance as will best promote the purpose of this act. It shall be the duty of each of said stations annually, on or before the first day of February, to make to the governor of the State or Territory in which it is located a full and detailed report of its operations, including a statement of receipts and expenditures, a copy of which report shall be sent to each of said stations, to the said Commissioner [now Secretary] of Agriculture, and to the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States.

That bulletins or reports of progress shall be published at said stations at least once in three months, one copy of which shall be sent to each newspaper in the States or Territories in which they are respectively located, and to such individuals actually engaged in farming as may request the same, and as far as the means of the station will permit. Such bulletins or reports and the annual reports of said stations shall be transmitted in the mails of the United States free of charge for postage, under such regulations as the Postmaster General may from time to time prescribe.

That for the purpose of paying the necessary expenses of conducting investigations and experiments and printing and distributing the results as hereinbefore prescribed, the sum of fifteen thousand dollars per annum is hereby appropriated to each State, to be specially provided for by Congress in the appropriations from year to year, and to each Territory entitled under the provisions of section eight of this act, out of any money in the Treasury proceeding from the sales of public lands, to be paid in equal quarterly payments on the first day of January, April, July, and October in each year, to the treasurer or other officer duly appointed by the governing boards of said colleges to receive the same, the first payment to be made on the first day of October, eighteen hundred and eighty-seven; Provided, however, That out of the first annual appropriation so received by any station an amount not exceeding one-fifth may be expended in the erection, enlargement, or repair of a building or buildings necessary for carrying on the work of such station; and thereafter an amount not exceeding five per centum of such annual appropriation may be so expended.

That whenever it shall appear to the Secretary of the Treasury from the annual statement of receipts and expenditures of any of said stations that a portion of the preceding annual appropriations remains unexpended, such amount shall be deducted from the next succeeding annual appropriation to such station, in order that the amount of money appropriated to any station shall not exceed the amount actually and necessarily required for its maintenance and support.

That nothing in this act shall be construed to impair or modify the legal relation existing between any of the said colleges and the government of the States or Territories in which they are respectively located.

That in States having colleges entitled under this section to the benefits of this act and having also agricultural experiment stations established by law separate from said colleges, such States shall be authorized to apply such benefits to experiments at stations so established by such States; and in case any State shall have established under the provisions of said act of July second aforesaid, an agricultural department or experiment station, in connection with any university, college, or institution not distinctively an agricultural college or school, and such State shall have established or shall hereafter establish a separate agricultural college or school, which, shall have connected therewith an experimental farm or station, the legislature of such State may apply in whole or in part the appropriation by this act made, to such separate agricultural college, or school, and no legislature shall by contract, express or implied, disable itself from so doing.

That the grants of moneys authorized by this act are made subject to the legislative assent of the several States and Territories to the purposes of said grants; Provided, That payment of such installments of the appropriation herein made as shall become due to any State before the adjournment of the regular session of its legislature meeting next after the passage of this act shall be made upon the assent of the governor thereof duly certified to the Secretary of the Treasury.

Nothing in this act shall be held or construed as binding the United States to continue any payments from the Treasury to any or all the States or institutions mentioned in this act, but Congress may at any time amend, suspend, or repeal any or all the provisions of this act.

Approved March 2, 1887 (24 Stat. 440).


Public Law 87-788 of 1962 Assisting States in Forestry Research

To authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to encourage and assist the several States in carrying on a program of forestry research, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That it is hereby recognized that research in forestry is the driving force behind progress in developing and utilizing the resources of the Nation's forest and related rangelands. The production, protection, and utilization of the forest resources depend on strong technological advances and continuing development of the knowledge necessary to increase the efficiency of forestry practices and to extend the benefits that flow from forest and related rangelands. It is recognized that the total forestry research efforts of the several State colleges and universities and of the Federal Government are more fully effective if there is close coordination between such programs, and it is further recognized that forestry schools are especially vital in the training of research workers in forestry.

In order to promote research in forestry, the Secretary of Agriculture is hereby authorized to cooperate with the several States for the purpose of encouraging and assisting them in carrying out programs of forestry research.

Such assistance shall be in accordance with plans to be agreed upon in advance by the Secretary and (a) land-grant colleges or agricultural experiment stations established under the Morrill Act of July 2, 1862 (12 Stat. 503), as amended, and the Hatch Act of March 2, 1887 (24 Stat. 440), as amended, and (b) other State-supported colleges and universities offering graduate training in the sciences basic to forestry and having a forestry school; however, an appropriate State representative designated by the State's Governor shall, in any agreement drawn up with the Secretary of Agriculture for the purposes of this Act, certify those eligible institutions of the State which will qualify for assistance and shall determine the proportionate amounts of assistance to be extended these certified institutions.

To enable the Secretary to carry out the provisions of this Act there are hereby authorized to be appropriated such sums as the Congress may from time to time determine to be necessary but not exceeding in any one fiscal year one-half the amount appropriated for Federal forestry research conducted directly by the Department of Agriculture for the fiscal year preceding the year in which the budget is presented for such appropriation. Funds appropriated and made available to the States under this Act shall be in addition to allotments or grants that may be made under other organizations.

The amount paid by the Federal Government to any State-certified institutions eligible for assistance under this Act shall not exceed during any fiscal year the amount available to and budgeted for expenditure by such college or university during the same fiscal year for forestry research from non-Federal sources. The Secretary is authorized to make such expenditures on the certificate of the appropriate official of the college or university having charge of the forestry research for which the expenditures as herein provided are to be made. If any or all of the colleges or universities certified for receipt of funds under this Act fails to make available and budget for expenditure for forestry research in any fiscal year sums at least as much as the amount for which it would be eligible for such year under this Act, the difference between the Federal funds available and the funds made available and budgeted for expenditure by the college or university shall be reapportioned by the Secretary to other eligible colleges or universities of the same State if there be any which qualify therefor and, if there be none, the Secretary shall reapportion such differences to the qualifying colleges and universities of other States participating in the forestry research program.

Apportionments among participating States and administrative expenses in connection with the program shall be determined by the Secretary after consultation with a national advisory board of not less than seven officials of the forestry schools of the State-certified eligible colleges and universities chosen by a majority of such schools. In making such apportionments consideration shall be given to pertinent factors including, but not limited to, areas of non-Federal commercial forest land and volume of timber cut annually from growing stock.

The Secretary is authorized and directed to prescribe such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act and to furnish such advice and assistance through a cooperative State forestry research unit in the Department of Agriculture as will best promote the purposes of this Act. The Secretary is further authorized and directed to appoint an advisory committee which shall be constituted to give equal representation to Federal-State agencies concerned with developing and utilizing the Nation's forest resources and to the forest industries. The Secretary and the national advisory board shall seek at least once each year the counsel and advice of the advisory committee to accomplish effectively the purposes of this Act.

The term "forestry research" as used in this Act shall include investigations relating to: (1) Reforestation and management of land for the production of crops of timber and other related products of the forest; (2) management of forest and related watershed lands to improve conditions of waterflow and to protect resources against floods and erosion; (3) management of forest and related rangeland for production of forage for domestic livestock and game and improvement of food and habitat for wildlife; (4) management of forest-lands for outdoor recreation; (5) protection of forest land and resources against fire, insects, diseases, or other destructive agents; (6) utilization of wood and other forest products; (7) development of sound policies for the management of forest lands and the harvesting and marketing of forest products; and (8) such other studies as may be necessary to obtain the fullest and most effective use of forest resources.

The term "State" as used in this Act shall include Puerto Rico.

Approved October 10, 1962 (76 Stat. 806).