History

MSU AgBioResearch – formerly the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station – was created on February 26, 1888, after the passage of the 1887 Hatch Act, which created a nationwide network of agricultural experiment stations. These stations were charged with conducting research and development projects on behalf of farmers. In 1925, the Purnell Act added agricultural economics, rural sociology and home economics to the experiment stations’ mission.

Early research efforts contributed to:

  • The development of hybrid corn, which doubled farmers’ yields
  • The development of the Red Haven peach, one of the most widely grown varieties in the world
  • The establishment of Michigan’s sugar beet industry
  • The creation of a botanical garden with more than 5,000 plant species and varieties
  • A program to help eradicate bovine tuberculosis in the United States

More than 120 years later, the organization remains true to its broader mission in support of Michigan agriculture while creating the research base for programs and initiatives to boost Michigan’s economy and conserve the state’s natural resources.

Its recent research accomplishments include:

  • Discovery of a bacterium that can halt the transmission of dengue fever—a virus transmitted by mosquitoes that threatens 2.5 billion people each year, and for which there is no vaccine or treatment
  • Development of a practical, environmentally friendly way to help rid the Great Lakes of sea lampreys, a destructive pest that kills fish
  • Creation of pest-resistant soybeans, which promise healthier harvests for growers and a reduction in the use of chemical pesticides
  • Work on a wide range of climate-related issues that can affect Michigan agriculture, recreation and tourism

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