Researchers engage with communities through farmers’ institutes


The success of early AES researchers led to an inundation of requests for more information and consultation. By the 1890s, AES researchers were meeting regularly with farmers and growers throughout western Oregon at regional farmers’ institutes. According to AES records, a typical series of institutes in 1897 in Ashland and Medford “was occupied with a talk on Insect-Pests of the Apple, Pear, and Peach illustrated by steriopticon.”

Farmers’ institutes proved to be an efficient way to reach people where they lived and worked with demonstrations in food safety, farm economics, and agricultural innovations. Soon, researchers were taking these workshops on the road in specially outfitted railcars to reach communities all along the state’s expanding system of railways. Such travelling demonstrations, full of livestock, poultry, and the latest farm machinery, attracted large crowds of curious townspeople at each whistlestop and at demonstrations at the State Fair, grange hall meetings, and elementary schools.

Media Image: 
Credit Text: 
HC1547 Lewis, courtesy OSU Special Collections & Archives
Caption Text: 
C. I. Lewis talking from the rear platform the Oregon Agricultural College Farming Demonstration Train at Hermiston. (Photo HC1547 Lewis, courtesy OSU Special Collections & Archives.)