Ag Field Day 2016: Saturday, April 30
Ag Field Day is an annual celebration of our community spirit and of the close ties enjoyed by Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences students, faculty, staff, alumni, and volunteers, and New Jersey residents. It is held on the last Saturday of April on the G. H. Cook Campus of Rutgers in New Brunswick, N.J.
Ag Field Day is part of a larger, university-wide Rutgers Day. For decades, Ag Field Day has been an opportunity for members of the public to learn about and participate in our programs. Rutgers Day built on that tradition and invited the community to learn more about Rutgers University through tours, performances, hands-on activities, demonstrations, exhibits, and lectures across the G. H. Cook/Douglass, Busch, Livingston, and College Avenue Campuses.
The History of Ag Field Day
The year was 1906. The State Board of Agriculture decided there was a need for New Jersey farmers to become better acquainted with the experiments taking place at the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES). On August 17 of that year, the first Field Day (the original name for Ag Field Day) was held at the College Farm.
About 800 people attended, and all indications were that the event was an unqualified success. It was such a hit, in fact, that Field Day became an annual affair.
By 1917, Rutgers and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station assumed full responsibility for the event. Field Day was expanded to include lectures, demonstrations, and tours that attracted more people of varied backgrounds and interests.
By the late 1920s, the annual Field Day was drawing 3,000 to 4,000 people, including increasing numbers of urban and suburban residents. View a program from the 45th Ag Field Day (3.7MB PDF) in 1960.
Today, Ag Field Day, now part of the university-wide Rutgers Day, attracts a much larger crowd to the George H. Cook Campus to learn about the university's cutting-edge research, education, and outreach programs.
Field Day tractor demonstrations are now a thing of the past. But while Ag Field Day no longer caters specifically to farmers, the reporting of scientific findings and demonstrations of science-based solutions important to New Jerseyans continue to take center stage.
Note: Much of the preceding article was derived from Woodward and Waller's New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station--1880-1930.