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Posts Tagged: Morrill Act

NPR talks about land grant universities

Pete Goodell, UC Cooperative Extension advisor, sweeps a cotton field to monitor insects.
While visiting the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which is commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, NPR's Talk of the Nation did a segment about land grant universities.

Sara from Fresno called into the show to explain the role of UC Cooperative Extension. She said:  "...we use the extension service to help us determine what kinds of things we can use to keep the crop healthy, not just pesticides, but how to check the crops and to make sure that they're healthy. They use independent research all the time to help us with this. And with the public funds just dwindling, we have a lot less independent research that go on and have to go on more of what the chemical companies are telling us."

When asked for an example, according to the show's transcript, Sara said: "Well, I'm looking at a cotton crop right now, and the farmer advisers, the cotton farmer advisors in California, helped us what the program called plant mapping, where we were able to take a look at what's going on with the plant even though we might have bugs out that could be damaging the crops."

Sandy Rikoon, professor of rural sociology at the University of Missouri, told listeners, "Many countries are trying to duplicate the extension system. Many countries have research, agricultural research, but what they don't have is that group of people who take the research and then take it to the people."

Host Neal Conan mistakenly said the California State University is one of the land grants and we have asked NPR to correct the online version to state that UC is California's land grant institution. 

Posted on Friday, July 6, 2012 at 11:56 AM

UC marks 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act

Los Angeles Times writer Patt Morrison moderated a panel discussion at the Morrill Act celebration.
At a gathering on the west lawn of the state Capitol on Monday, University of California President Mark G. Yudof called the Morrill Act, signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862, "A catalyst that transformed the United States." The legislation provided federal land to states to build universities that would extend to more Americans educational opportunities in agriculture and the mechanical arts. The act launched the University of California.

Los Angeles Times reporter Patt Morrison moderated a panel discussion at the event, and wrote a post about the Morrill Act sesquicentennial on the newspaper's Opinion L.A. blog today.

Morrison asked Abraham Lincoln, portrayed at the event by lanky Sonoma County teacher Roger Vincent, "President Lincoln - the opportunity for every American to go to college? Really?" He nodded.

"'What a snob,' I remarked," Morrison wrote in her post, a reference, she said, to former senator and former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum gibing at President Obama’s goal of making a college education available to all Americans.

When Lincoln was president, 50 percent of Americans were involved in producing food. A steady movement away from the occupation has created significant challenges and opportunities for the agriculture industry.

"Americans may be even more aware of what they eat, the panelists noted, with the growth of popularity of organic foods and health-conscious diets like First Lady Michelle Obama’s, but even less aware of where food comes from and how it gets from field to plate," Morrison wrote.

Yudof and UC Cooperative Extension advisor Rose Hayden-Smith, a historian and leader of ANR's Sustainable Farming Systems Strategic Initiative, made speeches. The texts of their presentations are linked below.

Posted on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 2:15 PM

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