chapter  2
United States: The American System of Agricultural Science
WithArthur A. Goldsmith
Pages 23

America’s agricultural technology complex grew from the top down. Faced with a shortage of new technology, American farmers sought from early in their history to go outside the marketplace and provide public goods for themselves. American farmers tried over and over to organize themselves for mutual advantage in the early period of US history. The year 1862 marks a watershed in the modernization of American agriculture. Agricultural scientists also grew better organized, as manifested in the founding of groups like the American Society for Horticultural Science, the American Society of Agronomy, and the American Agricultural Economics Association. The Hatch legislation of 1887 also led land-grant institutions to form their own national lobbying organization, the Association of American Agricultural Colleges and Experiment Stations. The 1930s and 1940s were in many ways the peak period for public sector agricultural science in the United States.