Oregon’s Agricultural Experiment Station


On February 25, 1889, Oregon Governor Sylvester Pennoyer signed legislation that established an Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) at Oregon Agricultural College (later called Oregon State University). The Hatch Act provided $15,000 a year in federal funds to support the Experiment Station, which increased the budget for the entire state college by 50 percent.

From the beginning, sharing research-based information with the public was a top priority for the station. Within the first 10 years, scientists published 58 bulletins to help farmers and others solve problems. Among the station’s first publications was a comprehensive report on growing prunes, which it called “the most important orchard industry in Oregon.” Other reports explored the possibility of a commercial mulberry industry and examined research on growing flax and hemp. The need to communicate was established; notes from an early Station meeting included a debate over the merits of buying a typewriter.

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Agricultural Experiment Station
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In the beginning, the experiment station consisted of this single laboratory and the college farm, 35 acres of land donated by citizens of Benton County on what is now the lower OSU campus. (Photo courtesy of OSU Special Collections & Archives, HC0934.)