Historical Timeline for the Department of Biological and
Agricultural Engineering at the University of California, Davis

Read a historical narrative of the department here.

1862 Agricultural Colleges Land Grant Act (Morrill Act)
provides land grants to the states for establishing institutions of higher education.
1868 University of California established with first campus at
1905 California University Farm Bill authorizes UC Regents to
purchase land for the establishment of a University Farm School.
1906 Davisville selected as site for the University Farm.
1907 University Farm dedicated.  Davisville renamed Davis.
American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE) founded.
1909 University Farm School opens at Davis.
1914 Federal Smith-Lever Act creates Cooperative Extension
services as partnerships between the land-grant colleges and the United
States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
1915 Division of Agricultural Engineering established at
Davis.  J. B. Davidson recruited to organize and staff the Division and appointed
founding head of the Division.  J. Koeber, R.C. Ingram and H.L. Belton
instruct courses in two-year program for non-degree students.
1916 Construction started on first Agricultural Engineering
building at Davis.  Five acres also dedicated for farm machinery instruction.
1917 Division of Agricultural Engineering occupies newly
completed Agricultural Engineering Building.
1921 E. J. Stirniman appointed first agricultural extension
engineer at Davis.  A.J. Hoffman initiates research on air cleaners for
tractor engines and develops what becomes standard engine air filtration for
mobile and stationary engines.
1922 University Farm becomes the Northern Branch of the College
of Agriculture.  Division starts service courses for four-year agriculture
1924 Formation of the California Committee on the Relation of
Electricity to Agriculture (CREA).  CREA administered through Agricultural
Engineering (L.J. Fletcher founding chair, B.D. Moses founding secretary).
1926 Agricultural Engineering organized as an option within
Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley.  First three years of degree program
at UC Berkeley with final year at Davis.
1927 J.R. Tavernetti awarded first Bachelor of Science degree
in Agricultural Engineering.  First Masters of Science degree awarded to E.G.
1928 Agricultural Engineering moves to the newly constructed
Walker Hall (named 1959). First Farm Machinery Conference and first Farm
Building Conference held.
1929 First Rural Electrification Conference (later Rural Energy
1937 A. Leonard develops return stack orchard heater for frost
protection, significantly reducing air pollution and improving efficiency.
1938 Northern Branch of the College of Agriculture renamed the
College of Agriculture at Davis.
1951 College of Letters and Science established, provides
instruction in math, physics and chemistry for Agricultural Engineering
students.  First two years of Agricultural Engineering instruction offered at
Davis, third year remains at UC Berkeley or UC Los Angeles with fourth year
at Davis.
1952 College of Agriculture becomes independent from UC
Berkeley.  Second textbook in Ferguson Agricultural Engineering series
published by E.L. Barger, W.M. Carleton, E.G. McKibben and R. Bainer on Tractors
and Their Power Units
(1st Edition, John Wiley & Sons, New
1955 Third and fifth texts in the Ferguson Agricultural
Engineering series published by Wiley:  Principles of Farm Machinery
by R. Bainer, R.A. Kepner and E.L. Barger and Agricultural Process
by S.M. Henderson and R.L. Perry.
1956 L. H. Lamouria, R. R. Parks, and C. Lorenzen design the
first rollover protection structure (ROPS) for tractors.  ROPS later adopted
for other vehicles.
1959 UC Davis designated an independent campus of the
University of California.  Agricultural Engineering becomes a department
within the UC Davis College of Agriculture.  Prototype UC Davis mechanical
tomato harvester successfully tested at Clarksburg, California.  N.B. Akesson
and W.E. Yates first to quantify pesticide spray drift and develop predictive
drift models.
1960 D. van Rest awarded first PhD in Agricultural Engineering
at UC Davis. C. Lorenzen, I.J. Szluka (Steven Sluka) and F.L. Hill file for a
patent on the tomato harvester (Patent No. 3199604, 1965).  Two-year
non-degree program of instruction terminated.  A. Leonard outlines reentry
prediction technique for use on Satellite 1958 d2,
successfully applied by Moonwatch program on Sputnik IV reentry.
1961 Graduate Division established at UC Davis.  L.W. Neubauer
and H.B. Walker publish Farm Building Design (Prentice-Hall, Englewood
Cliffs, New Jersey).
1962 College of Engineering established at UC Davis.  R.
Bainer, head of Agricultural Engineering, appointed founding dean of the
college and recruits initial college faculty.  Agricultural Engineering
becomes a department within the College of Engineering in addition to the
College of Agriculture.
1963 C.F. Kelly becomes Assistant Director of the Agricultural
Experiment Station and transfers to Berkeley (appointed Director in 1965).
1967 Quarter system replaces semesters at the University of
California.  College of Agriculture renamed College of Agricultural and
Environmental Sciences.  Agricultural Engineering moves from Walker Hall to
its current location in the newly constructed Bainer Hall (named in 1969).
1970 Division of Atmospheric Science formed as part of the
1974 V. Cervinka, W. J. Chancellor, et al., publish landmark
study of energy use in agriculture (Cervinka, V., W.J. Chancellor, R.J.
Coffelt, R.G. Curley and J.B. Dobie. 1974. Energy requirements for
agriculture in California. California Department of Food and Agriculture,
Sacramento, California).  B.C. Horsfield and J.R. Goss initiate research into
biomass thermochemical gasification. D.J. Hills initiates research into
anaerobic digestion of agricultural wastes and residues.  W.J. Chancellor
investigates biodiesel and other alternative engine fuels.  N.B. Akesson and
W.E. Yates publish The Use of Aircraft in Agriculture (UN FAO Book
1975 CREA renamed the California Committee on the Relation of
Energy to Agriculture in recognition of global events affecting overall
energy supply for agriculture and other sectors.  Administration of CREA
continues through Agricultural Engineering at UC Davis.  Department of Land,
Air and Water Resources formed at UC Davis with transfer of Division of
Atmospheric Science faculty and creation of joint appointments in both
1976 J.C. Harper publishes Elements of Food Engineering
(AVI, Westport, Connecticut).
1981 R.P. Singh and D. Brown awarded U.S. Patent US 4,285,099A
for a squid processing machine that is later licensed and commercialized.
1984 R.P. Singh and D.R. Heldman publish first edition of Introduction
to Food Engineering
(Academic Press, Elsevier, London; now in 5th
Edition and six languages).
1986 UC Davis rollover protection structure (ROPS) designated a
historical landmark by ASAE.
1988 D.K. Giles develops first pulse-width modulated spray
control system for agricultural applications.  Later refined in 1997 to provide
dynamic droplet size control.
1992 Department of Agricultural Engineering becomes the
Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering with new undergraduate
and graduate degrees in Biological Systems Engineering (EBS).
1993 Applied Biological Systems Technology (ABT) program
established by the department through consolidation of Agricultural
Practices, Agricultural Engineering Technology and Consumer Technology
curricula with addition of new courses of instruction.   Undergraduate minors
created in Applied Biological Systems Technology, Geographic Information
Systems, and Precision Agriculture.
1995 First volume of Advances in Soil Dynamics published
by ASAE (S.K. Upadhyaya, W.J. Chancellor, et al., editors).  D.K. Giles
develops first global positioning system (GPS) controlled spray drift
reduction system.
1996 CREA suspended following legislative deregulation of the
electricity sector in California under Assembly Bill 1890.
1999 R.P. Singh and F. Courtois implement one of the first
remotely-operated laboratory teaching experiments in food engineering
engaging students from multiple countries in operating equipment in Bainer
Hall at UC Davis.
2001 Western Center for Agricultural Equipment completed at UC
Davis culminating a decade-long donor campaign led by department chair D.J.
2002 Vol. II of Advances in Soil Mechanics published by
ASAE (S.K. Upadhyaya, W.J. Chancellor, et al., editors). R. Zhang and Z.
Zhang obtain U.S. Patent No. 6,342,378 for a anaerobic phased-solids
biogasification system for agricultural residues, food wastes and other
organic materials with subsequent commercial development.
2003 California Biomass Collaborative established with support
of the California Energy Commission (B.M. Jenkins founding director).
2005 ASAE renamed the American Society of Agricultural and
Biological Engineers (ASABE).  UC Davis tomato harvester designated a
historical landmark by ASABE.  Joe A. Heidrick Western Center for
Agricultural Equipment dedicated at UC Davis.
2006 Prototype fruit and vegetable processor developed for NASA
by R.P. Singh, D. Voit and M. Santos as part of planning for manned missions
to Mars.
2009 Vol. III of Advances in Soil Mechanics published by ASABE
(S.K. Upadhyaya, W.J. Chancellor, et al., editors).  Hills Drive leading to
the Western Center for Agricultural Equipment designated an official street
of the UC Davis campus in honor of former chair D.J. Hills.
2012 D.C. Slaughter develops first GPS controlled weeding
system.  Department administration partially clustered with Departments of
Food Science and Technology, Textiles and Clothing, and Viticulture and
Enology (BFTV Cluster).  Department administers new engineering minors in
Energy Science and Technology, Energy Efficiency, and Energy Policy.
2013 D.K. Giles conducts first chemical applications in the
U.S. using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
2015 J. VanderGheynst from Biological and Agricultural
Engineering appointed interim dean of the College of Engineering.  Department
celebrates 100th anniversary.