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.
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.