The modern day College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) was founded in 1870, through provisions of the Morrill Act. The Ohio General Assembly used these funds to create the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College on "Neil Farm" just north of Columbus. In 1878 the name was changed to The Ohio State University and the educational emphasis shifted toward a liberal arts education rather than agricultural and mechanical arts. This alienated the agricultural community within the state, and many boycotted the university, so in 1882, an attempt was made to heal this rift with the establishment of an agricultural experiment station at the university. The new experiment station (OAES) was incorporated with the university farm.
The Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station was relocated to Wooster, OH in 1892, when the first full time director, Charles Thorne, requested that the station was separated from the University in Columbus due to political and economic reasons. By 1932 the Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station included 16 experimental farms across the state, which was consolidated to 9 stations in 1960. The name was changed to the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in 1965 and the center officially merged with The Ohio State University in 1982, 100 years after the station was first established.
The Ohio State Agricultural Technical Institue (ATI) was established in 1969, on a 30-acre plot of OARDC land officially designated for ATI use by the state legislature. ATI is the associate-degree-granting academic unit with CFAES and helps the college fulfill its educational mission. In keeping with the Ohio State's role as a land grant university, ATI provides affordable, accessible associate degree programs that lead directly to employment or bachelor's degrees.
While in past years, the research and student pieces have operated separately, the campus has now been unified under the name CFAES Wooster Campus. Changing the name of the campus has produced shared resources, infrastructure, personnel, and equipment. “It allows us to think about this location as a full campus, rather than simply two components,” said Cathann A. Kress, vice president of agricultural administration and dean of CFAES. “It will brand the location as an integral part of CFAES and provide a gateway for Ohio State in northeast Ohio.”
The CFAES Wooster Campus is committed to scholarship across CFAES's three mission areas: teaching, research, and Extension.
Teaching: The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI) is an associate degree granting academic unit within CFAES. ATI focuses on hand-on learning in STEM fields related to food, agriculture, and the environment. ATI has an open-admissions status, making it essential to the university's role as a land grant university.
Research: The CFAES Wooster campus is the largest agbioscience research facility in the United States. CFAES Wooster scientists from a broad range of disciplines work to enhance the well-being of the people of Ohio, the nation and world through research on foods, agriculture, family, and the environment.
Extension: Ohio State University Extension brings the knowledge of the university directly to the public. Extension fulfills the land-grant mission by translating science-based knowledge into information that Ohioans can use to help them improve their lives, businesses, and communities. There are extension personnel located on the CFAES Wooster Campus, in addition to the Wayne County Extension office located in downtown Wooster.