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Maybe This is Why You Don’t Like the Research Coming From Land Grant Colleges

By   /  January 21, 2019  /  4 Comments

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From time to time readers complain about the research coming out of our land grant colleges. “
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  • Published: 3 years ago on January 21, 2019
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  • Last Modified: January 21, 2019 @ 7:04 pm
  • Filed Under: The Scoop

About the author

Publisher, Editor and Author

Kathy worked with the Bureau of Land Management for 12 years before founding Livestock for Landscapes in 2004. Her twelve years at the agency allowed her to pursue her goal of helping communities find ways to live profitably AND sustainably in their environment. She has been researching and working with livestock as a land management tool for over a decade. When she's not helping farmers, ranchers and land managers on-site, she writes articles, and books, and edits videos to help others turn their livestock into landscape managers.


  1. Gene Schriefer says:

    As the last few forage/grazing researchers are retiring from land grants, they’re not being replaced. Where is the publicly funded grass breeder? While grazing and forage research from public institutions was miniscule before it will become non existent in the near future.

    in the mid teens through 1957, Laurence Graber was a UW Madison researcher he grew just south of me in Mineral Point, we can find all sorts of interesting research he was doing on grazing and forages in old mimeo’s. The 1948 Yearbook of Agriculture was all about grass and grazing. I found a copy of this in my grandfather’s library. Where would be today if all the energy, money and effort had been directed towards forages and grazing 100 years ago, rather than the pursuit of selling inputs to farmers?

    Instead we had all these ammonium nitrate factories and less bombs to make, the factories needed to be repurposed so workers could keep their jobs. Industry needed more cheap labor for their factories, farms were the last bastion of available labor if we could make them more “efficient” we have more laborers.

    “Many people blame science for our surplus of farm products. They say that science taught us how to grow two blades of grass where one grew before. I think the trouble is that is exactly what science did not teach us. Instead it taught us how to grow something else where two blades of grass grew before. Now we are beginning to see the weaknesses of an agriculture stripped of grass. More and more we are turning in thought and practice toward an agriculture in which grass will act as the great balance wheel and stabilizer to prevent gluts of other crops—to save soil from destruction—to build up a reserve of nutrients and moisture in the soil, ready for any future emergency, to create a more prosperous livestock industry, and finally to contribute to the health of our people through better nutrition.” Henry Wallace, 1940

  2. Curt Gesch says:

    John Marble’s comments about graduate students (“they are trained in the paradigms that support those very companies”) is a most astute in my opinion. It also applies to those trained in ag schools or universities who do not go on to graduate studies. Young farmers that I know can’t wait to apply for high tech, high chemical agricultural methods when they finish their studies. They often have barely heard of grazing or pasture-based poultry or pork production.

  3. Emily Macdonald says:


    I think the co-opting of public institutions and functions by the private for-profit sector is a huge problem with wide spread repercussions.

    Thanks for calling attention to this problem and putting it in front of us tax payers!

  4. John Marble says:

    Beyond the troubling findings of Drs. Schaffer and Ray, there is at least one other insidious result of having our public research facilities controlled by Big Ag: brain drain. When our best and brightest students complete their graduate studies under the funding and control of private companies, they are trained in the paradigms that support those very companies. After graduation, many of those Land Grant College students go to work for the companies that funded their graduate work, and the cycle continues.

    Dwight Eisenhower warned us about the dangers of being quietly subdued by the Military-Industrial Complex. The research above points us to another similar danger: the Agricultural-Industrial Complex. It also makes clear why so many people have doubts about the sincerity of the mission of our Land Grant Colleges.

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