In the 18th century, Johann Friedrich Mayer conducted experiments on the use of gypsum (hydrated calcium sulphate) as a fertilizer.
In 1843, John Lawes and Henry Gilbert began a set of long-term field experiments at Rothamsted Research Station in England; some of them are still running.
In the United States, a scientific revolution in agriculture began with the Hatch Act of 1887, which used the term “agricultural science”. The Hatch Act was driven by farmers’ interest in knowing the constituents of early artificial fertilizer. The Smith-Hughes Act of 1917 shifted agricultural education back to its vocational roots, but the scientific foundation had been built. After 1906, public expenditures on agricultural research in the US exceeded private expenditures for the next 44 years.
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