Rutgers Cooperative Extension Through the Years

Rutgers Cooperative Extension 50 Year Anniversary Display

Extension Field Day, tour group in a tomato field, circa 1970

Rutgers Cooperative Extension van, circa 1990.

In 1955, Rutgers plant pathologist Spencer H. Davis, Jr. at right, checks for disease in lettuce from cold frame held by Albert Foerter, East Brunswick market garden farmer at left. Milton H. Cowan, Middlesex County agricultural agent, is the middle man in this operation just as the other county agents are when unusual problems arise in their areas.

Dr. Bill Drinkwater, with the Dept. of Horticulture, speaks with a New Jersey resident at Ag Field Day 1973

Rutgers agricultural agent Jenny Carleo at left, believes that women are crucial to the future of farming in New Jersey. She is shown with Meredith Melendez, senior program coordinator, doing a farm survey in Sussex County in 2012.

At left, Clarence Sakamoto, research assistant in meteorology, explains to a group of weathermen how he uses the pyrheliograph, which he uses to measure solar radiation for his study of microclimate at the Marlboro Experiment Station in 1961.

(Excerpted from the RCE Policy Handbook, 2000)

[In 1862,] Rutgers College accepted the added commitment as a land-grant institution with the passage of the Morrill Act. This act specified that the annual income derived from the sale of public lands which had been allotted on the basis of 30,000 acres for each senator and representative in Congress, should be paid to the Trustees of Rutgers College. This money, a little more than $5,000 in annual payments, was a "nest egg" and with supplemental state and federal appropriations for faculty, equipment, buildings, and land...

Besides making provisions for resident instruction and research, the Morrill Act charged the Board of Trustees to provide at least one free lecture about agriculture in each county every year.

Willing as they were to comply, the trustees found that taking the college to the people put some severe strains on the resident teaching staff. As the lectures sharpened farmers' appetites for more knowledge, they were supplemented with bulletins, reports, and new articles.

Those early professors with the Extension vision channeled their information through meetings of county boards of agriculture, farmers' institutes, and later by agricultural trains bearing exhibits and lectures that went from town to town.

These statewide activities proved a serious drain on the time of resident professors. The volume of knowledge kept expanding and so did the requests for help from farmers.

About two years before the passage of the New Jersey Farm Demonstration Act, the farmers of Sussex County got together with the Lackawanna Railroad and the local chamber of commerce, to form the first formal Cooperative Extension program in this state [in 1912]. Read more about RCE's history in New Jersey (542k PDF).

Cooperative Extension Annual Photos


Taken on the steps of Brower Common, College Avenue Campus, New Brunswick




Establishment of Cooperative Extension Work in Counties

Year County
1912 Sussex
1914 Monmouth
1915 Cape May
1916 Morris
1917 Gloucester
1918 Warren
1927 Hunterdon
1936 Union (Home Economics)
1938 Union (Agriculture)
1969 Hudson (Jersey City only) Nutrition Education Program