Share

Innovation Part of College’s DNA

E&I stands on the shoulders of the college's founders and Extension

These ideas aren't new, but rather rooted in the college's heritage, notes Harbaugh.

When a group of farmers joined to start the college, they were leading the nation.

“They were enterprising people who put capital investment forward to bring science to agriculture. Those are our roots,” says Harbaugh.

In 1855, Centre County businessman James Irvin donated 200 acres to serve as the campus for the Farmers’ High School. Six years later, it awarded the nation’s first baccalaureate degrees in agriculture. Dairy research began 10 years later, and Berkey Creamery is now a world leader in dairy production and food science.

E&I in many ways has stood on the shoulders of Penn State Cooperative Extension, which reaches into Pennsylvania’s 67 counties to help farmers and food producers develop and market their products. The Food for Profit Workshop is a one-day overview of basic food science, business management, food policy and regulations. Its more than 1,000 participants have gone on to start new food businesses or improve existing ones.

“The more we’re able to support those entrepreneurs looking to start or grow their businesses the better," says Jeffrey Hyde, who works on special programs for extension and is a professor of agriculture and economics. "That’s a big part of our value to Pennsylvania and beyond.”