Studying agriculture in the US
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This is the VOA Special English Education Report.

A listener from China named Walker would like information about agricultural programs in the United States. This is our subject today in week number thirty of our Foreign Student Series.

About one hundred colleges and universities began as public agricultural colleges and continue to teach agriculture. These are called land grant schools. They began with support from the federal government. Federal aid supported the building of most major state universities.

The idea of the land grant college goes back to a law in the 19th century called the Morrill Act. A congressman1 named Justin Smith Morrill wrote legislation to create at least one in each state.

The name "land grant" came from the kind of aid provided by the government. The government wanted Americans to learn better ways to farm. So it gave thousands of hectares of land to each Northern state.

The idea was that the states would sell the land and use the money to establish colleges. These colleges would teach agriculture, engineering and military science.

Congress passed the law in 1862. This was during the Civil War. Southern states had rebelled against the North and withdrawn2 from the Union.

Another law created a center at each land grant college to develop new scientific ideas and to help farmers solve problems.

The Agricultural College of the State of Michigan was established in 1855. That was seven years before the Morrill Act. It later became the first college to officially agree to receive support under that law. The college grew into what is now Michigan State University in East Lansing.

Today, the university has more than 40,000 students. These include more than 3,500 students from 130 other countries.

Last year the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State had 336 foreign students. More than 200 of them were graduate students in the areas of agricultural economics, packaging, and crop and soil sciences.

Undergraduates majoring in agriculture can also study other related areas. These include agricultural education and food industry management.

And that's the VOA Special English Education Report, written by Nancy Steinbach. We will have a link to the Michigan State Web site at We also have other helpful links along with transcripts3 and audio files from our Foreign Student Series. I'm Steve Ember.


1 Congressman TvMzt7     
  • He related several anecdotes about his first years as a congressman.他讲述自己初任议员那几年的几则轶事。
  • The congressman is meditating a reply to his critics.这位国会议员正在考虑给他的批评者一个答复。
2 withdrawn eeczDJ     
  • Our force has been withdrawn from the danger area.我们的军队已从危险地区撤出。
  • All foreign troops should be withdrawn to their own countries.一切外国军队都应撤回本国去。
3 transcripts 525c0b10bb61e5ddfdd47d7faa92db26     
n.抄本( transcript的名词复数 );转写本;文字本;副本
  • Like mRNA, both tRNA and rRNA are transcripts of chromosomal DNA. tRNA及rRNA同mRNA一样,都是染色体DNA的转录产物。 来自辞典例句
  • You can't take the transfer students'exam without your transcripts. 没有成绩证明书,你就不能参加转学考试。 来自辞典例句