Monday, November 13, 2006 - 8:30 AM

The Nation's First Agricultural Experiment Station: Past and Present.

Louis A. Magnarelli, The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, P.O. Box 1106, New Haven, CT 06504

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station was founded in 1875.  Samuel W. Johnson, Professor of Agricultural Chemistry at Yale University, envisioned having an agricultural experiment station supported by public funds and being located near, but not part of, an institution of higher education.  The main laboratories are located in New Haven, CT.  Other facilities include a laboratory and farm in Windsor, CT and a 75-acre research farm in Hamden, CT.  The institution remains an independent state agency governed by 8 Board members.  During the early years, the first responsibility was to chemically analyze fertilizers for content and value, but the mission soon expanded to (1) address plant diseases, insect problems, and forestry issues; (2) improve crops; and to (3) investigate plant proteins.  Early work led to the discoveries of vitamin A and higher-yielding lines of hybrid corn.  Johnson’s vision of putting science to work for society exists today.  Research and outreach programs on food safety and security, the biochemistry of photosynthesis, integrated pest management, water and soil quality, ticks and mosquitoes and the pathogens they transmit, diagnosis and control of plant diseases, restoring American chestnut, forest management practices, and on specialty crops provide society with new knowledge and improved agricultural systems.