Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station
Hatch Act of 1887
The Hatch Act, as revised in 1955, states that experiment stations should, "conduct original and other research, investigations and experiments bearing directly on and contributing to the establishment and maintenance of a permanent and effective agricultural industry. . . " This important legislation helped educate producers about growing conditions, which resulted in the American agriculture industry becoming more productive. Research findings from experiment station systems across the country revised farming methods to fit the diverse geography of America to meet public needs. Hatch Act funding has resulted in a federal-state research partnership that has largely removed the specter of hunger and the drudgery of subsistence agriculture production.
The Hatch Act serves as a bridge between the Morrill Act, signed by President Lincoln in 1862, and the Smith-Lever Act of 1914. The Morrill Act gave states authorization to sell public lands to create land-grant universities to teach agriculture and the mechanical arts. The Smith-Lever Act resulted in the states' Cooperative Extension Service, which ultimately took the findings of university researchers to the farmers.
From its inception, the system was designed to meet the needs of agriculture in specific regions. But, more often, research has applications in many places. Some breakthroughs resulting directly from Hatch Act funding have literally benefitted every man, woman and child in the United States and much of the world.