This is the VOA Special English Education Report.
A listener from China named Walker would like information about agricultural
programs in the United States. This is our subject today in week number thirty
of our Foreign Student Series.
About one hundred colleges and universities began as public agricultural
colleges and continue to teach agriculture. These are called land grant schools.
They began with support from the federal government. Federal aid supported the
building of most major state universities.
The idea of the land grant college goes back to a law in the 19th
century called the Morrill Act. A congressman named Justin Smith Morrill wrote
legislation to create at least one in each state.
The name "land grant" came from the kind of aid provided by the government.
The government wanted Americans to learn better ways to farm. So it gave
thousands of hectares of land to each Northern state.
The idea was that the states would sell the land and use the money to
establish colleges. These colleges would teach agriculture, engineering and
Congress passed the law in 1862. This was during the Civil War. Southern
states had rebelled against the North and withdrawn from the Union.
Another law created a center at each land grant college to develop new
scientific ideas and to help farmers solve problems.
College of the State of Michigan was established in 1855. That was seven years
before the Morrill Act. It later became the first college to officially agree to
receive support under that law. The college grew into what is now Michigan State
University in East Lansing.
Today, the university has more than 40,000 students. These include more than
3,500 students from 130 other countries.
Last year the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State
had 336 foreign students. More than 200 of them were graduate students in the
areas of agricultural economics, packaging, and crop and soil sciences.
Undergraduates majoring in agriculture can also study other related areas.
These include agricultural education and food industry management.
And that's the VOA Special English Education Report, written by Nancy
Steinbach. We will have a link to the Michigan State Web site at
voaspecialenglish.com. We also have other helpful links along with transcripts
and audio files from our Foreign Student Series. I'm Steve Ember.