What is the Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) and how is it connected to the land-grant mission?

As defined by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, An Agricultural Experiment Station is a scientific research center that investigates potential improvements to food production and agribusiness. The Hatch Act of 1887 authorized the establishment of an agricultural experiment station in each state, which today employs about 13,000 scientists.

Each state has at least one land-grant college or university with a designated Agricultural Experiment Station (AES), and many states have branch stations to meet the special needs of different climate and geographical zones in those states. Federal and state governments cooperate in funding the research done at the stations, with additional income coming from grants, contracts, and the sale of products.

The University of California, Davis, is one of the designated land-grant universities for the state of California and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences plays a critical role as stewards of research and solutions. Most of the AES research generated at UC Davis is housed in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences with a focus on agriculture, the environment, human and social needs.

How does AES work?

AES funded scientists provide research and solutions that support Cooperative Extension’s applied outreach with growers, ranchers, suppliers, processors, and others involved in food production and agriculture. AES at UC Davis is part of a state and federally funded UC research program consisting of more than 750 scientists and 1,300 research projects. Scientists at UC DavisUC Riverside, and UC Berkeley are associated with AES through the multi-campus Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR).

The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has approximately 250 faculty with AES appointments in all 14 departments spanning across multiple disciplines in agriculture, the environment and human and social needs. UC Davis AES researchers also have appointments in the School of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Biological Sciences.

How does AES benefit California?

The mission of the Agricultural Experiment Station at UC Davis is to conduct research and develop new knowledge and technologies that address specific problems of importance for the people of California. The research need is informed by issues brought forth by growers, community members, government officials, faculty and business leaders. Those solutions in turn, support the outreach and applied research efforts of Cooperative Extension specialists who connect directly with communities in the field and throughout the state.

Why does CA&ES play such a critical role in supporting the Agricultural Experiment Station?

For more than 100 years, the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CA&ES) has stayed rooted in groundbreaking research with a steadfast commitment to the land grant mission in addressing the most pressing issues facing California in agriculture, the environment, and human and social needs.

CA&ES is first in the nation and second in the world in agricultural sciences and forestry, animal and plant sciences, and agricultural economics. We are ranked among the top ten in horticulture, biodiversity education, ecology, toxicology, environmental sciences, soil science, agronomy, entomology, and nutrition. Our faculty are leaders in the world—educating future leaders and partnering with scientists and external stakeholders regionally, nationally and internationally.

Our scientists continue to discover and apply solutions that directly affect communities today, while at the same time, pioneer answers for issues we have yet to foresee or encounter.

What does it mean to be an AES faculty member?

Most AES faculty members in CA&ES teach courses and also hold appointments in the instructional and research component of the University of California. This means they are responsible for meeting the research and teaching needs of their departments as well as conducting mission-oriented research as required by AES. AES faculty also are required to distribute research findings to appropriate audiences, and they have been extremely successful in transferring basic and applied knowledge to the public.

In the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, our diverse team of AES scientists conduct research that addresses major issues, such as maintaining an economically viable and environmentally sustainable agricultural production system; providing a safe, nutritious and affordable food supply; and preserving California's precious environment and natural resources. A wide body of research contributes to this effort. Examples of AES funded research includes:

  • Control of animal diseases
  • Developing new varieties of fruit and vegetable crops
  • Conserving soil, water and other natural resources
  • Developing environmentally sound policies
  • Reducing the use of pesticides and herbicides when alternatives work better
  • Protecting the productivity of California farmers and growers
  • Eliminating damaging pests such as the glassy-winged sharpshooter
  • Assuring the safety and health of our food supply
  • Providing human and community development opportunities, and more.
See the full scope of our AES efforts throughout the state of California and learn more about how our Cooperative Extension specialists apply the science in the field.