October 5, 2020

As the nation’s largest agriculture program, Texas A&M AgriLife combines a college and four state agencies focused on agriculture and life sciences within The Texas A&M University System. With a presence in every county across the state and more than 5,000 employees, the agency is uniquely positioned to improve lives, the environment and the Texas economy.

Extension efforts at work in a sorghum field in Limestone County, Texas, in 1949. 
Photo courtesy of Texas A&M AgriLife.

Deep Roots

The roots of Texas A&M AgriLife can be traced back to two federal acts. Together, these acts enable Texas A&M University to deliver the practical benefits of education and research to Texas citizens to improve their knowledge and quality of life.

The Morrill Act of 1862 established the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas as a land-grant university. The act donated public lands to the states and territories to provide universities for teaching agriculture, the mechanic arts and military tactics. The land-grant mission was expanded beyond teaching to research with the approval of the Hatch Act in 1887. This law provided federal support to establish agricultural experiment stations to solve critical industry problems producers faced.

Congress approved the Smith-Lever Act in 1914, providing for the establishment of the state-based agricultural extension services, further expanding the land-grant mission. In 1915, the Texas legislature organized the Texas Agricultural Extension Service (now the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service), to extend scientific information from the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station (now Texas A&M AgriLife Research) to every farm and community.

Today’s AgriLife Extension

Today, the mission of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has remained the same—to continue to provide countless resources, teaching and extension services to address diverse needs. What began as a rural community aid has evolved into an outreach agency that educates Texans in even the most populated areas.

The agency organizes and executes well-known county, district and state-wide initiatives and programs such as: Texas Master Gardner; Junior Master Gardner; Beef Cattle Short Course; Texas 4-H; BattleGround to Breaking Ground; the Governor Dolph Briscoe Jr., Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership Program and many more. 

AgriLife Extension continues to rely on AgriLife Research—the state’s premier research agency in agriculture, natural resources and life sciences—to provide citizens with science-based information. AgriLife Research conducts hundreds of research projects annually to deliver industry-changing impacts to citizens throughout Texas and around the world.


The flexibility and simplicity of a bequest make it a popular planned giving method. Determine the assets you want to gift or the percentage of your estate you wish to leave for the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, and work with your attorney to include language in your will or living trust.

Retirement Assets

For this method, you simply name the Texas A&M Foundation (Tax ID# 74-2245072) as the beneficiary of your IRA or other retirement accounts and work with our planned giving team to determine which AgriLife programs your funds will support after your lifetime.

Life Insurance Policies

Insurance policies can also be used as a gift by naming the Texas A&M Foundation as beneficiary or owner of the policy. A gift agreement decided upon by you and our planned giving team directs your funds to AgriLife per your wishes once the gift is realized.

Planned gifts can also be established through charitable trusts and real estate transactions. These giving methods provide many unique advantages but are more complex. We encourage you to explore these options with Kelsey Christian ’02, our AgriLife planned giving expert, who can partner with you to tailor a solution to fit your needs.

Want to learn more about ways to support AgriLife? Contact development officer Brandy Kines ’05 by completing the form below. Interested in learning more about using a planned gift to support your passions? Contact Kelsey Christian ’02 at giftplanning@txamfoundation.com.

Download our estate planning kit