The Commission on Intergovernmental Relations: A Report to the President for Transmittal to the Congress

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Chapter 6
AGRICULTURE

A strong national interest in the promotion of agriculture has been a characteristic feature of our history. This has been especially true of three general areas: (a) education, research, extension, and other forms of informational and technical assistance; (b) inspection and grading of agricultural commodities; and (c) economic support activities. Cooperative National- State relations in the first two areas began relatively early in our Nation's life; in the third, mainly during the agricultural depression of the 1930's.

The first United States Commissioner of Agriculture was appointed by President Lincoln in 1862. In the same year, National-State cooperation began with grants of National public lands to the States, the proceeds from such lands being used by the States to endow colleges of agriculture and mechanic arts, or "Land-Grant Colleges." Since 1890, the National Government has appropriated an annual sum of money to be used for resident instruction in the land-grant institutions. In 1887, a series of grants-in-aid was initiated to aid scientific investigation and experiment in agricultural science at the land-grant institutions. This was followed by the Smith-Lever Act in 1914, which authorized grants-in-aid for the purpose of conveying the knowledge acquired through agricultural research directly to the farmers through agricultural extension activities. The Smith- Hughes Act of 1917 marked the initiation of a major effort by National and State governments to encourage and support the teaching of vocational agriculture, including home economics, in the public schools. Based upon the above legislative acts, both National and State governments have furnished continued and active support to agricultural education in the United States--through vocational teaching at the secondary school

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