LGCAs: Named for the Year of Their Mandate
The original Morrill Act (1862) mandated that colleges of agriculture b established in all U.S. states and territories and the District of Columbia, totaling 59 colleges as "1862s" (including three land grant campuses as part of the University of California system).
The second Morrill Act (1890) mandated a second set of land grant colleges in that it conditioned receipt of federal funds to land grant colleges on access to African-Americans. Thus, southern states initiated separate colleges for African-American students. Today there are 17 historically Black land grant colleges known as "1890s," which serve an increasingly diverse student population (Christy and Williamson, 1992; National Research Council 1995a). Over the years, 1890 institutions have become recipients of federal funding for land grant institutions; however, federal law does not require that states match federal funds to 1890s, whereas it does require that states match federal funds for 1862s.
In 1994, the Elementary and Secondary Education Reauthorization Act conferred land grant status on the 29 Native American Colleges that comprise the American Indian Higher Education Consortium. An endowment was authorized to fund these colleges as well as funds for the colleges' education and extension programs in agricultural and natural resources. Thus were born the "1994s.''
Today the 1862s, 1890s, and 1994s constitute the 105 institutions that compose the land grant colleges of agriculture system
in the quality of inputs and managerial practices (Executive Office of the President, 1995). Public investments in agricultural science and technology have helped make farm labor more productive, farm output more stable and abundant, and farm commodities less costly to food processors and manufacturers—outcomes that have benefited not only the farm sector but also U.S. consumers and the U.S. economy generally.
Today farms are residences for less than 2 percent of all U.S. citizens and employ approximately 3 percent of the U.S. labor force, whereas 75 percent of U.S. citizens live in urban and suburban environments, and the vast majority do not work on farms. Nonetheless, the performance of the food and agricultural system, of which farming is one component, is extremely important to the U.S. economy, and indeed, to the world economy. Today's U.S. food and agricultural system encompasses food and fiber production, processing, marketing, and retailing—activities that provide 18 percent of U.S. employment, 16 percent of "value added" to domestic production, and significant and increasing amounts of foreign exchange through farm and food export earnings (National Research Council, 1995a).
The U.S. public is also increasingly concerned about how these primary production and processing activities interact with natural resources and the environment, rural communities, consumer health, safety, and ethics. The monetary value of environmental quality, the natural resource base, human health, and the quality of life are often difficult to measure but are clearly of value to society. Diet-related health; food safety; water and air quality; soil, water, and energy conservation; wildlife habitat; open space and the nation's landscape; and a "way of life" that is associated with the family farm and rural