One of our recently digitized titles for the State Publications Collection is the “Annual Report of the North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station (AES)” For the unacquainted, the AES was established by the North Carolina General Assembly on February 27, 1877 (1876-77 Session Laws, Ch. 274, Sec 12), for the purpose of conducting research on fertilizers. It was the first station in the South. In the following years, as federal and state funding increased, the AES employed scientists to more broadly improve the care, quality, and quantity of agricultural products in North Carolina.
From close to its beginning, the history of the AES is entwined with what is now North Carolina State University (NCSU), which at times housed the Station and its experimental fields. Today, the AES is known as the North Carolina Agricultural Research Service (NCARS), part of NCSU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Serving as a guide to farmers around the state, the AES in its early years published hundreds of bulletins with titles like “A study of lettuces,” “A warning in regard to compost peddlers,” and, the inspiration for today’s post, “Digestion experiments.” Today, the NCARS’ numerous research stations are working in newer areas like biofuels and genomics, while still studying plant pathology, pest control, and fertilizer as in the early days of the AES.
Right now we have the annual reports from 1877-1922 in the Digital Collections, with more to come in the future. Many of these issues also contain those AES bulletins; in later years the bulletins were published separately. You can also read more about North Carolina’s Agriculture Experiment Stations in NCpedia.