History

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Detailed History of Agricultural Research and Education in Northeast Texas (pdf book)

Brief History:

1961-1965 On November 7, 1961, agricultural leaders from East Texas met with Texas A&M officials at the Blackstone Hotel in Tyler to explore the possibility of building a consolidated agricultural research station in East Texas. Four years later, on January 18, 1965, plans were announced jointly by the Bruce McMillan, Jr. Foundation and Texas A&M University, under the direction of President Earl Rudder, for the new East Texas Research & Extension Center at Overton. The initial Foundation grant totaled $300,000 plus 150 Hereford cattle, 22 acres of land deeded to Texas A&M for station headquarters, farm equipment, and three 25-year leases on 1221 acres for experimental work. Grants made later by the Foundation for capital improvements would total over $700,000. The Jim Montgomery family donated 4.5 acres for the Center headquarters building.
1965 On September 1, Al Lancaster, Research Technician, transferred from the Mt. Pleasant station to Overton to become the first on-site personnel to initiate field research.
1966 February 1 – the first Research Scientist, Dr. Joseph Burns, Forage Physiologist, arrived to initiate basic and applied research on forages and pastures for East Texas.
1967 February 1 – Dr. Bill Ott, first Resident Director of Research with the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, arrived to facilitate building and research staffing.June 1 – The Center officially opened with staff including Resident Director of Research, Dr. Bill Ott; District Extension Directors-Agriculture R. S. Loftis and W. H. Lehmberg; and District Extension Directors-Home Economics Mary Cothran and Margaret Bracher for Extension Districts 5 and 9.Dr. James Long, Farm Management Specialist in Mt. Pleasant, and Wayne Taylor, Farm Management Specialist in Nacogdoches, transferred to Overton as the first Extension subject-matter specialists.Formal dedication of East Texas Research and Extension Center at Overton took place on September 20. Dr. H. O. Kunkel, Acting Director of the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, and Dr. John Hutchison, Director of the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, were in attendance.
1968 Name of the East Texas Research and Extension Center officially changed to Texas A&M University Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Overton.
1971 February 23 – the feed mill and cattle working pens were constructed using a grant from the Bruce McMillan, Jr. Foundation and Texas A&M University funds.
1976 October 11 – Center expansion plans were initiated to include a new auditorium, additional office and laboratory space. A grant from the Bruce McMillan, Jr. Foundation and Texas A&M University funds were used.
1979 April 25 – Dedication of the new building addition to the Overton Center took place.
1991 October 3 – A grant from the Bruce McMillan, Jr. Foundation and Texas A&M University funds were used for the Horticultural Center and the Reproduction Physiology Laboratory at the North Farm, and Hazardous Chemical Storage facility at the main headquarters.
2008 January 1 – Name of Center officially changed to Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center.
2012 September 3 – Name of Center officially changed to Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center.