History of the IAT

2019-IAT-anniversary-coin-FINALThe Institute of Agricultural Technology has its roots in the dairy management short course that started at State Agricultural College in 1894.

IAT celebrated 125 years of workforce development in Michigan in 2019.

The short course programs were ways to introduce working farmers in the state to new educational opportunities.

Short courses were established to address agricultural needs in Michigan and were offered in fall and winter between the harvesting and planting seasons.

Ongoing Growth

Over the years, the IAT has experienced steady growth in student enrollment across its certificate programs and locations.

  • 328 students in fall 2021
  • 367 students in fall 2020
  • 473 students in fall 2019
  • 494 students in fall 2018
  • 474 students in fall 2017
  • 427 students in fall 2016
  • 352 students in fall 2015

IAT Timeline


Clinton D. Smith launched and taught the first short course at State Agricultural College in dairy management with 23 students.


Other short courses were added including livestock husbandry, fruit culture and floriculture and winter vegetable growing. Each student spent three hours a week working in a campus farm or garden.


Programs included livestock and general farming, creamery management and butter making, dairy husbandry, fruit culture, cheese making and beet sugar production.


A two-week course in farm tractors is offered for the first time.


Four-year courses are offered for the first time to high school graduates. Programs included agriculture, engineering, home economics, veterinary medicine and applied science.

Class photo of the Michigan State College short course in general agriculture class. Taken during the fourth term, winter 1950.


Michigan State College of Agriculture and Applied Science becomes Michigan State University of Agriculture and Applied Science.


Michigan State University of Agriculture and Applied Science becomes Michigan State University.


The short course program is renamed the MSU Institute of Agricultural Technology.


The first IAT community college partner is added, Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City.


IAT celebrates 125 years of workforce development in Michigan.

IAT expands its community college programs to the Upper Peninsula with partner Bay College in Escanaba and adds the Food Processing, Technology and Safety certificate program.


IAT offers two new certificate programs for students: Forest Technology at Bay College and Urban Forest Management at Muskegon Community College.