Revolution In Education

2011 Florida Ag Expo Finds Room For Growth

This year, land grant universities will celebrate their 150th anniversary. These schools were established by an act supported by Congressman Justin Smith Morrill of Vermont. The bill passed through Congress in 1859, but was vetoed by President James Buchanan. When Abraham Lincoln was elected, Morrill submitted the legislation again, and Lincoln signed it into law in 1862.

According to Jack Payne, senior vice president of UF/IFAS, the Morrill Act was revolutionary in scope. UF/IFAS is one of Florida’s land grant universities, along with Florida A&M.

“Back in the middle 1800s, higher education was based on the European model, which was basically education for the leisure classes and professionals,” says Payne. “But, with the majority of new Americans being farmers and mechanics, there was concern about the future success of the country if we couldn’t get these folks educated.

“Passage of the Morrill Act is considered revolutionary by people who know about and study higher education. When we think about our American Revolution from England, this was on the same scale in terms of higher education. It transformed access to economic opportunity.”

30,000 Acres

The law granted 30,000 acres of federal land back to the states for each congressman in individual states. The states were to take this land and build a public university on it or sell the land and use the funds to build a university.

Some 150 years later, many of the important public research universities in the country have grown out of the Morrill Act. The University of Florida, University of California-Berkeley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Texas A&M, and many more are important land grants. “You can argue that what the land grant schools did back then and continue to do today has really helped build this country,” says Payne.

Following the Morrill Act, which created education, two other acts helped create the “three-legged” stool that we think of today. In 1887, the Hatch Act created the experiment stations, which added the research element of the stool. The Smith-Lever Act created the Extension element in 1914.

Major Reach

The impact of land grant universities is significant, with more than 3 million students enrolled in these schools each year. About a half million students graduate from land grants each year and a third of bachelor and master degrees come from these colleges. When you look at higher degrees, the numbers are even more impressive, with 60% of all PhDs and 70% of all engineering degrees originating from land grant universities.

In Florida, the impact of its land grant education, research, and Extension has been significant. Consider the state’s blueberry industry, which has grown into a $70 million industry. Today, 98% of blueberry varieties grown in the state have been developed by UF/IFAS. Strawberries make up a $300 million industry, with 60% of varieties developed by the university.

“You can look at the Citrus Research and Education Center station in Lake Alfred,” says Payne. “This citrus station that has been there for more than 90 years and science that has been developed there has really enabled the citrus industry in our state to become such an important part of our ag sector. And, it continues to support the industry.”

Future Demands

In October 2011, the world population surpassed the 7 billion mark. In the next 50 years, the population is projected to grow to 9 billion. These people must be on fed on existing arable lands, which presents a tremendous challenge.

According to Payne, agriculture must experience a second green revolution. The “father” of the first revolution is the late Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug, whose wheat varieties are credited with saving 2 billion people from starvation.

“I like to repeat Borlaug’s famous quote that we have to grow more food in the next 50 years than we have grown in the past 1,500 to feed the increase in world population,” says Payne. “We have the challenge of growing more food when there is no more land to grow it on. This second green revolution will be in the hands of ag scientist like those at UF/IFAS and other land grant universities.”

Payne adds that he hopes lawmakers remember the critically important role of land grants in meeting the food demands of the global population when making decisions on funding and budgeting issues. “Understanding the troubled budget situation, people must appreciate the role that science has had in providing an abundant and cheap food supply.”

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

Citrus Stories
Campus of Massey University in New Zealand
Citrus
March 23, 2017
Count Down the World’s Top 30 Agriculture Colleges
Familiar names and several new faces among annual ranking’s elite. Read More
Business Planning
March 22, 2017
How HortTech Is Solving Grower Challenges
Dozens of tech companies are looking for solutions to real-world problems vegetable growers face. We take a look at what it could really mean for you and your business. Read More
Citrus
March 21, 2017
Industry Groups, Ag Leaders React to Proposed USDA, EPA Budget Cuts
New plan would slash USDA spending by 21%. Read More
fork digging into a plate full of salad
Citrus
March 21, 2017
Since When Did Eating Get So Complicated? [Opinion]
The bottom line to all this is the way we eat is undergoing massive disruption. Read More
Swadesh Santra of UCF
Citrus
March 16, 2017
UCF Stepping up to Be Farming’s Knight in Shining Armor
Hopes are high that the school's new agriculture research center will help growers solve production issues and feed the globe. Read More
A.H. Whitmore Farm in Leesburg, FL, as seen from Google Earth
Varieties & Rootstocks
March 16, 2017
Experimental Citrus Groves Disappearing in Florida
Challenges to growth expand as vital research is in dire need of a home. Read More
Frozen blueberries
Berries
March 15, 2017
Arctic Blast Gives Southern Fruit Growers the Chills
Peaches and berries in bloom most at risk from freezing temperatures. Read More
Citrus
March 15, 2017
Group Wants To Streamline Food Safety Regulations
There are 15 federal agencies implement more than 30 different food safety statutes. A team of experts believe they have a solution. Read More
Cutting the power cord
Citrus
March 14, 2017
Can Your Farm Survive If the Grid Goes Down? Can You?
Even in a plugged-in world, the basics are needed now more than ever. Read More
Stormy skies over Florida
Citrus
March 14, 2017
Concerns Mount in the Sunshine State Over Growing Rainfall Deficits
Water conservation efforts called for as the dry season rolls on. Read More
Citrus
March 10, 2017
Jim Gorden Named California Citrus Research Board Chairman
Gorden, who previously served as chief of the California organization, was a partner in the first independent citrus pest management consulting company in the San Joaquin Valley. Read More
Florida citrus grove
Citrus
March 9, 2017
Florida Citrus Crop Besieged By Sinking Feeling
Latest USDA estimate yanks healthy chunk out of projected yield for oranges. Read More
Banding dry fertilizer on a potato field
Citrus
March 7, 2017
The Andersons Divests Florida Farm Center Locations
Local, family owned custom blend fertilizer company taking over assets and product distribution responsibilities. Read More
Suzanne Wainwright-Evans speaks to crowd at Biocontrols USA West 2017
Citrus
March 6, 2017
More Growers Willing to Bet on Biocontrols
Industry event highlighting alternative pest management methods draws interested crowd to Reno. Read More
Florida red grapefruit samples
Grapefruit & Specialty
March 1, 2017
Is South Korea a Grapefruit Market Goldmine?
Researchers are finding high demand for the tart citrus, opening the door for opportunistic Florida growers to fill the need. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
March 27, 2017
Say Hello to the New Miss Florida Citrus
Storied tradition continues with crowning of the industry’s newest advocate. Read More
Citrus
March 25, 2017
New Videos Offer Tips on Planting Pollin…
A new video series on planting flowering habitats is designed to help growers support crop pollinators. Read More
Citrus
March 24, 2017
Marrone Bio Introduces Biostimulant to R…
Haven Anti-transpirant helps to reduce transpiration of fruit, nut, and vegetable crops. Read More
Citrus
March 23, 2017
Count Down the World’s Top 30 Agricultur…
Familiar names and several new faces among annual ranking’s elite. Read More
Business Planning
March 22, 2017
How HortTech Is Solving Grower Challenge…
Dozens of tech companies are looking for solutions to real-world problems vegetable growers face. We take a look at what it could really mean for you and your business. Read More
Citrus
March 21, 2017
Industry Groups, Ag Leaders React to Pro…
New plan would slash USDA spending by 21%. Read More
Citrus
March 21, 2017
Since When Did Eating Get So Complicated…
The bottom line to all this is the way we eat is undergoing massive disruption. Read More
Citrus
March 16, 2017
UCF Stepping up to Be Farming’s Kn…
Hopes are high that the school's new agriculture research center will help growers solve production issues and feed the globe. Read More
Berries
March 15, 2017
Arctic Blast Gives Southern Fruit Grower…
Peaches and berries in bloom most at risk from freezing temperatures. Read More
Citrus
March 15, 2017
Group Wants To Streamline Food Safety Re…
There are 15 federal agencies implement more than 30 different food safety statutes. A team of experts believe they have a solution. Read More
Citrus
March 14, 2017
Can Your Farm Survive If the Grid Goes D…
Even in a plugged-in world, the basics are needed now more than ever. Read More
Citrus
March 14, 2017
Concerns Mount in the Sunshine State Ove…
Water conservation efforts called for as the dry season rolls on. Read More
Citrus
March 10, 2017
Jim Gorden Named California Citrus Resea…
Gorden, who previously served as chief of the California organization, was a partner in the first independent citrus pest management consulting company in the San Joaquin Valley. Read More
Citrus
March 9, 2017
Florida Citrus Crop Besieged By Sinking …
Latest USDA estimate yanks healthy chunk out of projected yield for oranges. Read More
Citrus
March 7, 2017
The Andersons Divests Florida Farm Cente…
Local, family owned custom blend fertilizer company taking over assets and product distribution responsibilities. Read More
Citrus
March 6, 2017
More Growers Willing to Bet on Biocontro…
Industry event highlighting alternative pest management methods draws interested crowd to Reno. Read More
Citrus
February 28, 2017
Trump Set to Ditch Controversial Water R…
WOTUS could be on the way out after an executive order calls for a top-to-bottom review. Read More
Citrus
February 25, 2017
Citrus Research Investments Yielding Pos…
Despite still having mounds of wood to chop, grower, federal, and state programs collectively are making a dent. Read More