Welcome to the Montana State University Montana Agricultural Experiment Station! Our blend of learning (on- and off-campus), discovery and outreach programs through the federal/state partnership with the College of Agriculture and Extension Service reflects our university's unique land-grant designation.

What is an Experiment Station?

The Hatch Act of 1887 authorized the establishment of an agricultural experiment station to be affiliated with land-grant colleges of agriculture. Many land-grant universities in the nation have an accompanied experiment station – these experiment stations are considered a combined state and federal agency and they are generally closely connected with academic colleges of agriculture and natural resources. Research conducted at these station parallels with the curriculum of their associated colleges, as well as programs of the national Cooperative Extension System. Experiment stations provide leadership in developing ambitious, competitive and imaginative research activities that create new discoveries, positively impact undergraduate and graduate learning, disseminate new research discoveries and deliver outreach programs that serve the experiment station's respective state.

Experiment stations are considered state institutions. However, federal and state governments cooperate in funding the research conducted at the stations. State governments generally provide more than half of the funding, which is matched by the federal government. Additional income comes from grants, contracts, and the sale of products.

What does Montana's Agricultural Experiment Station do?

Montana's Agricultural Experiment Station (MAES) has faculty and supporting staff conducting research and outreach programs addressing crop and animal production methods, market growth opportunities, pest management and environmental quality issues. MAES has seven off-campus Research Centers that address production and production challenges in the diverse agro-ecosystems of the state. Collectively, MSU's seven-off campus Research Centers plus faculty on the MSU-Bozeman campus constitute the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station (MAES) and the MSU College of Agriculture. As such, MSU effectively considers the entire state of Montana as its "campus." MAES and our Research Centers provide the foundation upon which the research and teaching missions of the university stay relevant to needs of agriculture in the state of Montana. Learn more about our Department of Research Centers.

Our Vision:

To create environments where people excel through innovative learning, discovery and outreach programs in agriculture and natural resources.

Our Mission:

As a land grant institution, Montana State University provides education, research, and extension/outreach programs focused to meet the changing needs of Montana. The College of Agriculture and the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station generate and disseminate superior knowledge and technological solutions to increase the competitiveness of communities capturing value from Montana's agricultural and natural resources, preserve environmental quality, and improve the quality of life for all our citizens.

  • Land Grant Mission: teach agriculture, military tactics, and the mechanical arts (now engineering) as well as classical studies, so that members of the working classes could obtain a liberal, practical education
  • Foundational component of the original land grant college created in Bozeman in 1893
  • Conducts research focused on state, regional and national issues on the Bozeman campus and at seven Research Centers throughout the State of Montana.
  • Federal/State Partnership in funding and programmatic input.
    • Federal funding from USDA-National Institute for Food and Agriculture for Hatch, Multistate and Animal Health base funds which must be matched 1:1 by the State.
    • Montana provides the majority of MAES funds, considering MAES a state agency within the Montana University System.
    • Research program goals and objectives integrate federal and state priorities
  • MAES activities are comprehensively integrated with the College of Agriculture and MSU teaching, research and service functions.
  • MAES’ goals (see below) address agricultural, natural resource, environmental, policy and societal issues as defined by the departments organized across research areas that complement teaching and outreach functions.
  • MAES Advisory Council assists the Ag Experiment Station with programming and goals.

In accordance with Montana statute, state agencies are required to provide their goals and objectives to the public, so that state government and the public can understand and evaluate our efforts in meeting the stated goals. MAES strives to:

  • Provide leadership in developing ambitious, competitive and imaginative research activities that create new discoveries, positively impact undergraduate and graduate learning and gain national and international recognition; and
  • Disseminate new research discoveries and deliver outreach programs that serve Montana in a global economic environment.