Iowa History Daily: October 14 - Holden & ISU Extension

Iowa History Daily: On October 14, 1865, Perry Greeley Holden, the first Head of the Agricultural Extension at Iowa State and the first professor of agronomy in the United States, was born. Serving at Iowa State from 1902 to 1912, Holden’s guidance over the Iowa State Agricultural Extension helped to create one of Iowa’s most prolific educational organizations.

Holden studied at Michigan Agricultural College and Michigan State University before teaching at University of Illinois prior to his arrival in Ames at Iowa State. Initially appointed the Vice Dean of Agriculture and Professor of Agronomy, much of Holden’s early work at ISU focused on promoting the growth of hybrid corn and other crops throughout Iowa.

After congress provided funds for individual states to create agricultural research stations in 1887, Iowa State worked to develop practical research for Iowa’s farmers. A full eight years before the federal Smith-Lever Act established a national extension program in 1914, Iowa State named Holden as the first Head of Agricultural Extension.

Over the next six years Holden worked to provide county-level demonstration farms throughout Iowa to promote crop evaluation, seed testing, and establishing a pathway for the future success of the Iowa State University Extension. After a failed campaign for governor in 1912, Holden took a job with International Harvester and left Iowa State. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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