What is Purdue CARET?

The Council for Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching (CARET) is a national grassroots organization created in 1982 by the Division of Agriculture, which is part of the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU).

CARET’s mission is to enhance national support and understanding of land-grant university systems’ food and agricultural research, extension, and teaching programs in order to achieve a better standard of living for all people.

Purdue CARET is the Purdue University branch of the national CARET organization. The purpose of Purdue CARET is to provide a means for Indiana citizens to have input into program development, budgetary matters, and legislation. Members work with decision makers at all levels — local, state, and national.

What Does Purdue CARET Do?

Purdue CARET represents the grassroots needs and concerns of the people of Indiana. Its members are advocates for land-grant agricultural programs in research, extension, and teaching with county officials, state legislators, and other decision-makers.

Purdue CARET also serves as an advisor to Purdue University, a land-grant University, offering valuable input on programs and helping the University be responsive to public needs.

In addition, Purdue CARET provides Indiana with lay leadership and expertise about the federal and state budget processes and about issues affecting agricultural research, extension, and teaching. Members serve as advisors and advocates for the land-grant system. They are often asked to “tell the story” as beneficiaries of research-based education.

Purdue CARET sponsors three delegates to participate in the national CARET organization. As members of CARET, they serve as advocates on a national level with members of Congress and executive branch agencies.

Land-Grant Philosophy

The basic mission of the land-grant system is to enable people to improve their lives and communities through learning partnerships that put knowledge to work. The Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890 created the land-grand system through federal law.

The land-grant college was as revolutionary an idea in education as America’s democracy was in government. It was based on the premise of educating common people whose lives would be spent not in the professions but in the nation’s businesses and trades. A grant of federal land was made to each state to provide resources whereby a college could be created “without excluding other scientific and classical studies and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanical arts … in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life.”

More than 150 years later, these colleges continue to incorporate the tradition of the liberal arts and sciences with those of the practical, mechanical, and industrial. Land-grant universities continue to emphasize the noble democratic ideal that all people have the right to participate in higher education through on-campus teaching and off-campus extension, to the extent of their abilities and desire.

The land-grant universities cooperate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in carrying out:

  • Research to discover new knowledge, develop technology, and solve problems related to the food and agriculture sector.
  • Extension to provide research-based practical education applied to the problems of families, communities, agriculture, business, and industry.
  • Academic programs (teaching) in the professions and sciences related to food and agriculture, as well as humanities.


Research in the College of Agriculture takes place in labs all across Purdue University’s campus and on research farms across the state. These activities are directed by the Purdue Office of Agricultural Research Programs.

As one of three functions of the land-grant university’s mission, research provides the foundation for many teaching and extension activities. Purdue agricultural research programs play a critical role in finding practical solutions to problems and developing technologies that improve the quality of life for the citizens of Indiana. Those solutions and discoveries are shared with students in the classroom, and with people across the state through the county Extension offices.

Purdue Agriculture’s scientists are engaged in the pursuit of scientific discovery on all levels, from molecular composition to in-field implementation. Their efforts have helped spark a scientific revolution that is changing the way people think about agriculture and reshaping their expectations of the future almost daily.

This quiet revolution is being led by scientists willing to take risks and look at the work in new ways. They are leaders in genomics, food safety, environmental stewardship, and precision agriculture. The work scientists are doing in Purdue Agriculture’s labs and on its research farms is making a difference in people’s lives. It is protecting the environment, improving crops, and making life better in Indiana.


“People helping people” is how Purdue Extension began. Born of the Morrill Act, enhanced by the Hatch Act, and nurtured by the Smith-Lever Act, Extension plays a critical part in offering practical education to all people. Extension carries the knowledge of the land-grant system to the citizens through practical research-based education.

Today, success means keeping up with ever-changing information and rapidly advancing technologies. The days of learning a skill and profiting from that knowledge until you retire are over. That’s why Purdue University and Purdue Extension are so important to all citizens of Indiana.

Campus specialists turn complex research into educational programs and materials that are understandable and easy to use. Extension educators in every county take this information and programs from the national Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to people of all ages. Classes and coursework are offered in four broad areas: agriculture and natural resources; health & human sciences; community development; and 4-H youth development.

Purdue Extension offices are more than information centers and more than land-grant learning and technology centers. They are open meeting places where communities can come together, set their own educational agendas, and accomplish goals year after year. Extension understands the need for scientific information as a building block for successful families, young people, leaders, businesses, and communities. Extension helps people learn today while building tomorrow.


The Office of Academic Programs in the College of Agriculture is dedicated to carrying out the land-grant mission to educate students, preparing them for successful careers in the food, agricultural, and natural resource system. Academic Programs works with faculty to ensure that each of the approximately 2,500 undergraduate students in agriculture gets a first-class education.

Purdue Agriculture faculty understand the importance of teaching and show their dedication to their students every day in the classroom and laboratory. Most courses in the school are taught by faculty, many of whom have received awards honoring their outstanding teaching. Faculty members also serve as academic counselors. Finally, it is the faculty who are responsible for keeping the curriculum modern, balanced, and challenging.

As times have changed, Purdue Agriculture has kept pace. Today’s students take classes that have an international focus, which is a necessity for success in the global marketplace, in addition to core mathematics, science, communication, humanities, and social science courses. The school also offers opportunities to study abroad, and more than ten percent of those who graduate spend at least one semester or summer immersed in another culture.

The Purdue School of Agriculture takes its teaching responsibility very seriously. The faculty and administration constantly strive to find new and better ways to arm students with the knowledge they need. And they never forget that their job is not just to educate students, but also to prepare them to be leaders of the future.

Levels of Participation

County members provide local input into program development. They represent local programming needs and offer counsel on both policy and program decisions. Members communicate with local officials and legislators to increase their awareness regarding Cooperative Extension Service program and budgetary needs. As community leaders, they provide a sounding board for Purdue staff and organize local Purdue CARET meetings when needed.

Area Purdue CARET members are vital, as they monitor state and federal legislation pertaining to appropriations. They are charged with reviewing, studying, and recommending programs with both long-term and short-term objectives. Members assist those serving on the State Purdue CARET committee by reviewing programs and legislation that pertain to agricultural research, extension, and teaching programs. Member participation at area meetings is crucial to the organization.

State Purdue CARET Committee members coordinate legislative contacts and grassroots lobbying activities. They are charged with promoting awareness of Purdue agricultural research, extension, and teaching programs. They collaborate with other agricultural groups and organizations regarding legislative action. Members conduct statewide legislative events, keep the area and county members informed about state activities, and communicate with Purdue administrative staff. The State Committee fulfills a critical need by meeting with national legislators to relay Purdue CARET concerns, by coordinating congressional contacts, and by providing guidance lobbying activities. State Purdue CARET members are often called upon to help with statewide functions. They also attend national leadership workshops.

National Purdue CARET members monitor federal legislation pertaining to appropriations and policies that affect land-grant universities. Members assist the staff of NASULGC by representing interests from the “grassroots” constituency. They also meet with elected officials, their staff, and committees to provide information for sound decision-making.

Understanding the Land-Grant Systems

Purdue University is one of 106 land-grant universities in the nation. These universities work in partnership with one another and with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service to carry out the mission of the land-grants: to improve people’s lives through education.

The land-grant college concept was revolutionary. The concept was based on the premise of educating common people whose lives would be spent in the nation’s businesses and trades, rather than professions. The Land-Grant Acts gave land to each state for the purpose of creating a college. More than 150 years later, land-grant colleges continue to incorporate liberal arts and sciences. They emphasize the ideal that all people have the right to participate in education to the extent of their abilities and desire.

One approach to understanding the components of a land-grant college would be to think of it as a three-legged stool. The three legs are research, extension, and teaching. None can stand alone, but together they become a useful tool that provides research-based education to all citizens.

National Council for Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching

CARET Vision
CARET shall be a national focus group of states’ representation of land-grant programs. CARET shall be a cooperative grassroots unit of APLU. CARET shall be dedicated to enhancing national support and understanding of the important role played by the land-grant universities in the food and agricultural systems as well as their role in enhancing the quality of life for all citizens of the nation.

CARET Mission
The mission of CARET is to ensure the viability of land-grant programs for agriculture, food and nutrition, and natural resources, individual and family well-being, and community development. It will provide citizen support of the land-grant philosophy and the inherent programs of agricultural research, extension, and teaching.

CARET Objectives

  1. To serve as a means for expressing involvement of citizens at the national level
  2. To become involved with the Board of Agriculture in the federal budget development process
  3. To strengthen volunteer support at all levels
  4. To identify individuals and strategies to respond to national issues
  5. To support and coordinate efforts with other organizations that have mutual objectives

Funding and Budgets

This is specific information on various funding sources for Purdue’s agricultural research, extension, and teaching activities. Budgets are updated frequently, so please make sure you have the most current information.

Funding presently comes from several sources including county, state, and federal governments.

County budget requests are created from June through September. County councils often give final approval in September for monies that will operate the Extension offices for the following calendar year. Counties pay for clerical salaries, office operating expenses, and portions of the Educator salaries. Counties are often responsible for providing or renting space for the county-based Extension office.

State funding comes from state general funds and special line items at the University level. The state general funds provide base salaries of faculty and some support staff. They also provide the basic infrastructure for the University, such as buildings, utilities, laboratories, farms, greenhouses, and libraries.

State special line items are the basis for responding to high-priority state problems. These line items are designated for improving competitiveness, adding value, and solving specific problems. A portion of the state funding is also dedicated to county Educator salaries.

The state budget is approved by the General Assembly and the governor every two years, so it is known as a biennial budget. The approval process is normally completed in the spring. The state budget year runs from July 1 through June 30. The state budget, like the University budget, precedes the federal budget by one year.

Federal funding is comprised of base allocations, competitive grants, and special grants. The base allocation, also known as formula funds, is derived through the Hatch Acts, McIntyre-Stennis Funds, and animal health funds. These monies are used for infrastructure and salaries. They also provide project funds for priority needs.

Federal competitive grants are targeted to national priorities for basic and applied research. They are awarded through a number of organizations, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Science Foundation, and National Institutes of Health. Special grants for high-priority regional and national problems also are available.

Funding is a complex issue. Don’t hesitate to ask questions if you need more information.