Milestones

1862: Morrill Act provides grants to states and territories agreeing to establish public institutions that teach agriculture and mechanical arts.

1864 – Rutgers was designated the land-grant college of New Jersey, due to the lobbying efforts of Rutgers Professors George H. Cook and David Murray, resulting in the establishment of the Rutgers Scientific School (the predecessor of the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences) to deliver the land-grant mission.

1880: New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) is the third experiment station in the nation to be established. Its two functions are to conduct research and help residents of the state put this knowledge to work.

1887: The Hatch Act establishes federal funding for agricultural experiment stations at land-grant institutions.

1889: New Jersey Hall is built to house NJAES.

1906: John B. Smith's research leads to legislation that establishes Mosquito Extermination Commissions in New Jersey.

1914: The Smith-Lever Act establishes the Cooperative Extension Service at each land-grant institution.

1934: The Rutgers tomato was introduced by Rutgers breeder Lyman Schermerhorn as an ideal general use tomato for processing (canning and juicing) as well as fresh market. Grown worldwide and bred for other improved varieties, it also continued to be a preferred choice of commercial growers through much of the mid-twentieth century

1938 – Enos Perry, Extension Dairy Specialist, organizes the 1st dairy cattle breeding cooperative in the US to utilize artificial insemination to greatly enhance milk production potential.

1939-1945 – During WW II the Extension Service Volunteer Corp, Women’s Land Army and programs like the Victory Gardens were established by Extension to support various war efforts and protect our agriculture and food supply here at home.

1944: Albert Schatz and Selman Waksman co-discover streptomycin, the first antibiotic effective against tuberculosis, tularemia, whooping cough, and forms of meningitis. In 1952, Waksman won the Nobel Prize.

1948: Food Technology program under the leadership of Walter Maclinn opens a new  building on campus housing programs to enhance food preservation including combat rations and enhancing the quality of New Jersey tomatoes, peaches and other Garden State products. Extension Home Economists extend these food preservation techniques to homemakers throughout the state.

1953: Howard Ellison, regarded as one of the most influential asparagus breeders in history, joins the faculty. He produces several hybrids that are among the most productive and widely adaptable ever developed.

1962: C. Reed Funk establishes one of the world's most extensive turfgrass breeding programs.

1965: William J. Roberts develops the first air-inflated double-layer polyethylene greenhouse (AIDLPG) covering system. Today, approximately 65 percent of all commercial greenhouses in the United States use the air-inflated system. The first AIDLPG structure built on campus was designated a National Historic Agricultural Landmark in 2004

1965: Elwin Orton begins the dogwood breeding project that would result in the famous "Stellar Series" of dogwoods.

1978–1979: Budd Chavoosian's land use research and David Fairbrothers' botany research underpins legislation to protect the New Jersey Pinelands.

1984: The Rutgers Master Gardener program, a statewide initiative designed to increase horticultural knowledge and environmental awareness, is initiated in Bergen County by then-county agent Ralph Pearson.

1984: Extension Specialist in dairy husbandry Enos J. Perry was inducted into the National Agricultural Hall of Fame for his revolutionary work in cattle breeding.

1989: "Cliffields," a 390-acre farm in Pittstown, Hunterdon County, bequeathed to NJAES in 1988, is renamed the Clifford E. and Melda C. Snyder Research and Extension Farm, Center for Sustainable Agriculture.

1991: Richard Lutz witnesses a volcanic eruption during a deep-sea dive on the Pacific seabed. On a return visit in 1993, he finds deep-sea creatures that returned to the site of the eruption. This leads to new discoveries in geology, chemistry, microbiology, and marine ecology.

1998: Randy Gaugler develops new methods for the genetic improvement of insect-killing nematodes. This results in the first release of a non-microbial, genetically-engineered insect natural enemy into the environment.

1999: Nicholi Vorsa and Amy Howell are investigators of a study that is the first to document the specific components in cranberries that promote urinary tract health.

2000: The Food Innovation Center begins to offer business and technology expertise to small and mid-sized food and agribusinesses in New Jersey. In 2008, the center moves into a 23,000 sq. ft. food incubator facility in Bridgeton, NJ.

2001: Rutgers EcoComplex, the nation's first research and technology development center dedicated to enhancing the environment and agriculture, is completed in Bordentown. The center was named one of the top 10 architectural designs in the state.

2004: NJAES launches a major new initiative called New Jersey-Living Well. The initiative represents a strategic refocusing to address New Jersey residents' needs in the area of food, nutrition, and health.

2006: Rutgers Cooperative Extension's Family and Community Health Sciences and the 4-H Youth Development start Get Moving-Get Healthy New Jersey, an award-winning, statewide effort to promote healthy eating and physical activity.

2008: The New Brunswick Community Farmers' Market is established so area residents can purchase fresh produce and access nutritional information and other community services. The market is operated by NJAES, in partnership with Johnson & Johnson and the city of New Brunswick, and supports the Rutgers Against Hunger initiative.

2008-2010: Rutgers scientists are among the experts whose research on the impairments to New Jersey's coastal waterways contributes to the landmark state fertilizer law signed by the Governor in 2011.

2012: 150th anniversary of the Land-grant College Act (The Morrill Act).

2014: 100th anniversary of the Smith Lever Act.


  1. Rutgers
  2. Executive Dean of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  3. School of Environmental and Biological Sciences