1866: F.B. Linfield born on the island of Twillingate north of Newfoundland, Canada on July 17.

1893: Students in the Agriculture Department: 8

First buildings on campus for both the College and the Experiment Station were an assortment of structures from the City of Bozeman’s poor farm, a few log cabins and small outbuildings. There were no office or laboratory buildings on campus, so Director Emery, Luther Foster, and W. Williams were housed and officed in the Bozeman High School; Prof. Traphagen was officed at the Bozeman Academy.
In the first year, the College offered the following courses:

  • Preparatory course of one year for underprepared students;
  • Business department offered one year course in bookkeeping, typing, shorthand, commercial law, and office practice;
  • Music department accepted all piano students who could pay the fee; and
  • Three college courses were offered: agriculture, applied science, and a ladies’ course. The Ag courses offered were horticulture, livestock, entomology, veterinary, botany, chemistry, and other sciences.

The first agricultural faculty in the 1890s were:

  • A.M. Ryon, President of the College and a mining engineer
  • S.M. Emery, Horticulture, Director of the Experiment Station
  • L. Foster, Agronomy and Botany
  • W.L. Williams, professor of Veterinary Science
  • F.W. Traphagen, Chemistry and Natural Science
  • B.F. Maiden, English

The Farmers’ Institute offered a number of short courses to producers, ranging anywhere from two hours to two days, on a variety of topics of interest to producers at the time, such as hog and cattle production. Sixteen Farmers’ Institutes were held in the winter of 1893-94.

1896: Montana Hall was built for around $200,000 and Taylor Hall was completed for about $20,000. Taylor Hall included a basement fitted for engineering shops, staff offices on the first floor, living quarters for the Experiment Station Director on the second floor, and the veterinary department on the third floor. Classes were also held in building.

1898: MSU Herbarium founded by H.S. Jennings in the Botany Department, which also did early work on Montana grasses and poisonous plants.

1899: Montana Entomology Collection founded by R.A. Cooley, the first Experiment Station entomologist. Among the other notable early work were grasshopper control (intense outbreaks in 1917, 1920, and 1934) and investigations on the cause of Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

1900: New orchard of 125 varieties was cultivated. The Montana ‘McIntosh’ apple becomes a national favorite due to good insect control. Its advertising slogan was “This apple can be eaten in the dark.”

1902: Linfield was hired in the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station as a professor of agriculture, replacing R.S. Shaw. Linfield came here after serving 10 years with the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station.

1904: Linfield named director of the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station following the resignation of S. Fortier.

1905: Dairy Department, Animal Industry Department, and Agronomy Department were established. Botany and Zoology were combined into a new Biology Department.

1906: Students in the School of Agriculture: 23

President James Hamilton expanded the single course in agriculture to include majors in agronomy, animal industry, dairy, and horticulture to accommodate incoming students. The short course in agriculture was reorganized as the School of Agriculture. This was a three year course of study during six months per year. To enter, a student must have finished the eighth grade and be able to read and write, or take a group of preparatory classes to enter. Courses were offered in agriculture subjects and English, physics, civics, military training, and chemistry. This continued until 1922.

Linfield was in charge of short courses and was the principal of the School of Agriculture from 1903 to 1907.

1907: Students in the School of Agriculture: 50

President Hamilton said there was nothing for students to work with, no space, no labs, and called for a new building for agriculture. At the time there were only three significant brick structures on campus. Agricultural Hall (Linfield Hall) was the first constructed with 20th century techniques, such as the use of concrete, and cost $80,000 to construct.

The homesteading boom began about 1907. Stressing the importance of using livestock as a means of diversification became more important to Montanans and Experiment Station personnel.

1908: The first “special train” furnished by Northern Pacific railroad was organized by Experiment Station personnel in 1908 in a major effort to extend information to Montanans. This first train was concerned with “Dairying” and included nearly all Experiment Station personnel as well as several dairy cows. (Prior to 1910 all four railroads in the state offered free travel for Experiment Station personnel. This was later ruled illegal by the Montana Supreme Court.)

Domestic Science moves into the third floor of Agriculture Hall; President Hamilton proudly boasts that no other institution in the state has better facilities for teaching “sewing, cooking, sanitation, and all the branches which train well-balanced and competent homemakers.”

1909: Students in the Agriculture Department: 40.

Montana State College had 10 teaching faculty in agriculture split among five departments. 

Experiment Station staff numbered 17 among seven departments.

Ft. Ellis was turned over to the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station. The Dairy Department becomes a subdivision of the Animal Industry Department; Agricultural Engineering becomes a subdivision of the Agronomy Department.

1909 -1923: Settlers filed 114,620 homestead claims on 25 million acres in Montana.

1911: The first greenhouse was built on campus for $8,500. Called the Horticulture Greenhouse, it was attached to the south end of Agricultural Hall. It was the largest of several greenhouses authorized by the state and made of iron, glass and cypress with a cement foundation. Two main ridges extended south with a palm house in the center. A passage connecting the greenhouse with Agricultural Hall measured 10’x 50’ and was constructed of reinforced concrete.

1912: Attic of Agriculture Hall completed.

1913: Linfield appointed as the first Dean of the College of Agriculture and the Director of the Experiment Station.
The first bookstore moves to the attic of Agriculture Hall.

Miscellaneous short courses of one week durations were offered before 1913. 273 farmers and homemakers registered for a one week short course, which developed into “Farm and Home Week”.

Agricultural Extension Department organized by F.S. Cooley, Superintendent of the Farmers’ Institute. Cooley was named director of the Extension Service in 1914. Two county agents were hired: M.L. Wilson for Custer and Dawson Counties and Carl H. Peterson for Fergus County.

Agricultural Experiment Station celebrates 20th anniversary. Linfield called the first 10 years the “Pioneer Years” and the second 10 the “Construction Years”.

1914: Extension takes over administration of Farm and Home Week, which continued until 1930. Farm and Home Week was a big event in the state and the State Farm Bureau, the Montana Seed Growers, the State Dairymen’s Association and some livestock breeders held their annual meetings in Bozeman during the Farm and Home Week, along with the annual county agent convention. Speakers were College, Experiment Station and Extension staffs.

1915: Farm Management Department formed; Biology Department renamed Biology and Bacteriology Department.

1916: Students in the School of Agriculture: 125.

161 Farmers’ Institutes held with 21,334 attendees.

1917: US declares war on Germany. Temporary county agents placed in each county for the growing season.

1918: World War I ends. Departments in the Experiment Station: Ag Engineering, Agronomy, Animal Husbandry, Botany and Bacteriology, Chemistry, Entomology, Farm Management, Horticulture, Poultry Husbandry, and Veterinary Science.

Dr. Howard Welch of Veterinary Science sent samples of potassium iodide to stockmen for prevention of hairlessness and goiter in new born animals.

Attic of Agriculture Hall served as an assembly room and office space for the principal of secondary school and the Extension staff.

Farmers’ Institute merges with Montana Extension Service.

Several Experiment Station workers laid up with the flu; some offices and labs in the agriculture building were abandoned, with some areas used for a student hospital.

1921: Students in School of Agriculture: 173.

First time the “unit” (specific departmental) courses were given. The three year School of Agriculture was criticized as being too general. Also, more High Schools began to teach agriculture, so “unit” courses and curricula began in 1922-23, continuing until 1929-30. Students had to be 17 and be able to read and write.

1923: Extension Service moved into the Experiment Station building (Taylor Hall) when Biology left the building, probably to move into Lewis Hall.

1924: Mrs. Mary “Polly” Linfield died of pneumonia in Bozeman on New Year’s Eve.

1925: Agricultural Economics and Home Economics departments formed.

1926: Herrick Hall completed for Home Economics Department at a cost of $151,000.

1927: The topic for the special train for that year was “Better Livestock, Better Feed”.

1928/29: Greatest registration for Farm and Home Week, totaling 453 participants.

1929: “Unit” courses offered for the last time and replaced by “group courses” in
“diversified farming”, “livestock production”, and “tractor grain farming”. These were discontinued in 1933 due to the Depression.

1930s: Agriculture Building commonly called Morrill Hall.

1930: Farm and Home Week discontinued due to the Depression. Poultry Husbandry Department disbanded due to lack of funds.

1933-1936: No short courses offered due to the Depression.

1937-38 to 1941-42: Students in the School of Agriculture: 274.

Teaching faculty in agriculture ranges between 25-28 among nine departments. Experiment Station staff numbered 50-55 faculty among 13 departments.

1937: Linfield announced his resignation as Dean and Director on April 13, effective September 1.

1941: US declares War against Germany and Japan.

1942: Entomology Department becomes Zoology and Entomology Department and transfers to the College of Letters and Science.

1945: World War II ends.

1946: First 2,4-D applied in Montana at agricultural research centers in Moccasin and Havre. Beginning of the use of growth regulators for weed control.

Plans for the Montana elevated milking stall first published, now a standard in American dairies.

1948: Linfield died in his daughter’s home in Billings on September 24.

1962: Agronomy and Soils Department renamed the Plant and Soil Science (P&SS) Department. Horticulture Department merged with P&SS Department.

1968: Morrill Hall officially named Linfield Hall.

1998: Plant Sciences merges with Plant Pathology and becomes the Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology Department (PSPP). Soil Science reorganizes into the Land Resources and Environmental Sciences Department (LRES).

2007: Students in the College of Agriculture: 800.

Number of faculty in the College of Agriculture, Montana Agricultural Experiment Station and Extension Service: 138.

Today, the departments and divisions in the College of Agriculture are Agricultural Economics and Economics; Agricultural and Technology Education; Animal and Range Sciences, Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, Microbiology and Cell Biology; Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology; the WIMU Regional Program in Veterinary Medicine; and the Department of Research Centers. The College of Agriculture serves nearly 2,000 students.