This department has been around for a long time!
In 1862, Congress passed the Morrill Act, helping establish the Land Grant University system by funding it with the proceeds of federal land sales. Land grant universities are charged with fulfilling the mission of research, education and extension. Not long after, in 1867, the University of Illinois was founded as the Land Grant University of the State of Illinois. Despite the enormous tasks of building an agricultural education, research and outreach infrastructure, early faculty also took the time to dream of the future. For example, in 1876, the Morrow Plots were established to investigate the basis for managing the long-term fertility of soils. Twenty years later, in 1896, the Illinois long-term selection experiment was established to investigate the impacts of recurrent selection on the protein and oil content of maize grain.
Both of these initiatives began over a century ago and continue to bear fruit. When thinking about the future, what are we going to put in place that will be useful to those who follow us, 100 years from now?
In 1899, the Agronomy Department was established. Important infrastructure projects for the department included the Agronomy Seed House, Turner Hall and the Edward R. Madigan Laboratory (ERML), over the next 90 years.
In 1995, the Department of Crop Sciences formed through the merger of the agronomy and plant pathology departments. Fourteen years later, a second important merger, this time with the horticulture group, took place. In 2014, the department developed a strategic plan that included renovation of Turner Hall, which produced beautiful results and modernized our teaching space.
The Morrow Plots
Learn about the oldest experimental crop field in the country.