K-State Hosts Agricultural History Society
As the first operational land grant university in the nation, Kansas State University was an easy choice for the upcoming meeting of the Agricultural History's Society, to be held June 6-9 in the new Manhattan Conference Center adjacent to the Hilton Garden Inn. Anyone can register for the conference, which will include an exclusive evening at the new Flint Hills Discovery Center and a Keynote address by Dr. Richard Bushman of Columbia University.
According to local arrangements chair Bonnie Lynn-Sherow, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Chapman Center for Rural Studies, the United States Congress passed three remarkable bills in quick succession in May and July 1862. The Homestead Act opened millions of acres of federally owned land to any "head of household" who wished to claim 160 acres. The Morrill Land Grant Act provided support for those homesteaders by creating schools of "agriculture and the mechanic arts" for the education of "the people." Kansas State Agricultural College was the first to open its doors on February 17, 1863. Finally, the federal Department of Agriculture became an official branch of the U.S. government -- a move that set the United States apart from, and ahead of, the world in terms of agricultural science.
The Agricultural History Society's membership consists of professional scholars, policy makers, and researchers in all areas of agricultural history across the globe and is one of the oldest continuously active historical societies. The society also publishes a quarterly journal, Agricultural History. Presentations related to "Agriculture and the State" will be held in the new Manhattan Conference Center adjacent to the Hilton Garden Inn. Field trips for conferees include excursions to Konza Prairie Biological Station, the Land Institute in Salina (hosted by founder Wes Jackson), a canoe float along the Kansas River, and a walking tour of Kansas State led by Professor Lynn-Sherow. "We are very excited to bring distinguished scholars from around the world to Manhattan and especially to Kansas State," Lynn-Sherow said. "President Kirk Schulz has been very supportive in the planning of this conference from the start and we are grateful to him and to all our sponsors for making this meeting possible."