Agriculture Corner

United States Land Grant Model: Lessons for Developing Countries


With the implementation of Morrill Land-Grants Act in 1862 during the presidential tenure of Abraham Lincoln, United States Land Grant Colleges and Universities of Agriculture were start establishing in the states, territories and bound of Unites States of America. It won’t be wrong to claim that, Unites States Land Grant Model opened a new horizon of research and development in agriculture sector of USA. On top of it, this model is intertwined with the opening of gates to a mediocre American to have an access to technical and higher education. 

Before moving ahead, let’s have a brief on what is Land Grant System? We know that government grant is anything having a value and is given by the Federal or central government to a non-federal unit with the objective to carry out activities of public interest as authorized by the government law.

In case of United States Land Grant system, it is the award of government owned land to a receiver with the condition that the land will be used for public purpose under the legislation of US. Public colleges and universities are the most prominent outcomes of land grant system.

The law bounded the awardees of government land to either built a college or university (for agriculture and mechanic arts) or sold the land, and use the money to build at least one college for agriculture or mechanic arts. As the time passed, the dynamics of higher education and agriculture sector changed in USA and this also impacted on the land grant colleges that responded to this change by upgrading to universities.

Today, this 150 years old model is supporting USA economy by providing state of the art and world class research output, educational facilities, innovative public outreach programs and extension schemes that have strengthen the rural communities. As a result, community members have become the drivers of change by producing superior quality food, fiber along with renewable fuel systems to face the new challenges at national and global stages.

These colleges and universities under land grand model are now primary source of policy input to US government in research, education and extension services, thus creating an enabling environment to face 21st century challenges.

Can Third World Countries Agricultural System Withstand Challenges of 21st Century?

The most common missing link in any sector of economy in a third world nation is the element of ‘Planning’. Planning is at the core of achieving any goal. However, this habit has to be changed if governments in third world want their citizens to have access to safe and nutritious food along with sustainable livelihoods.

Another limiting factor that hinders the process of planning in third world nations is the access to capital and technology. For planning, research is needed to answer the unanswered queries. And for research funds are required. With weaker economies, it is difficult for third world nations to make a cut on other expenses and divert the funds towards research and ultimately planning. The viable option left is to learn from the successful stories and models round the globe.

Almost all the third world countries on the globe have agricultural based economies. Without innovation and technological advancement, it is hard to withstand 21st century challenges. Some notable challenges to agriculture sector in the 21st century include;  

  1. Climate change
  2. Population explosion
  3. Food insecurity
  4. Water scarcity for irrigation purpose
  5. Introduction of new diseases and pest on agricultural fields
  6. Orthodox extension methodologies
  7. Lack of research for new crop varieties.

Unites States Land Grants Model is Best Suited to Third World Countries

As mentioned earlier, that poor agriculture based nations have viable option of learning from global successful models. Land grant model is suited to the economic conditions of these countries in many ways;

  1. Government has to spend nothing on its part. They can award the government owned lands to follow a grass root level approach for agricultural development.
  2. USA land grant universities are also supporting third world countries that are ready to adopt land grant model by proving technical assistance, scientific trainings and hands on instruction.
  3. Land grand model can aid in uplifting the higher education and literacy rate in the country.
  4. Government can provide seed money to the trained graduates from land grant education system so that they can become entrepreneurs to generate further employment opportunities.
  5. Eventually, not only livelihoods of the people will increase but economy will also witness boom.

Cite this Article in APA Style as:

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2017, September 19). United States Land Grant College of Agriculture: Lessons for Developing Countries [Blog Post]. Retrieved from [/box]


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