The primitive nomadic man was a part of nature like all other animals. He had to wander from place to place to keep hunger at bay. A modicum of security ushered in his existence when he found that he could sow a seed and harvest its products, paving the way for some sort of a settled life. That was the beginning of Agriculture and human settlement.
Indian Agriculture was un-touched by the advances recorded during 17th and 18th Centuries in the West. It continued to be traditional, stagnant and subsistent in the face of recording famine, starvation and large-scale deaths. The British Government was compelled to initiate some measures to infuse a sense of growth in Indian Agriculture. On the recommendations of the Famine Commission, a separate department to look after Agriculture was set up in 1871.
The farsighted administration of princely State of Mysore initiated activity in this behalf by appointing Dr. Lehmann, a German Chemist, to set up a laboratory to examine soils of the State and suggest measures for their improvement in 1899. He established a well equipped laboratory, in which Department of Agriculture continues to be housed. He started Agricultural Experimental Farm at Hebbal to conduct trials on fertiliser use on local crops and popularise the same among farmers. Dr. Lehmann was succeeded by Dr. L.C. Coleman, a Canadian, in 1907. As an Entomologist, he served the State with missionary zeal for over 25 years. Government of Mysore appointed him as the first Director of Agriculture in 1913. In the same year he started the Mysore Agricultural School at Hebbal, equipped to train matriculates for diploma in Agriculture. The School acquired reputation as a centre of Agricultural activity and attracted students from all over the country and other parts of South East Asia. He also laid the foundation for scientific irrigation of agriculture in Visveshwaraya Canal tract and started 600 acres of experimental farm in Mandya in 1930 to work on Sugarcane and Rice. He also played a pivotal role in the establishment of Sugar Factory in Mandya.
Mysore Agricultural School, affiliated to the then Mysore University, started training students for B.Sc. (Agri.) Degree programme in 1946.
Agricultural College at Dharwar was started in 1947 by the then Bombay Government. University of Agricultural Sciences (U.A.S) was entrusted with state wide responsibility for education, research, training of extension personnel in Agriculture in 1965. Another Agricultural University was started in Dharwar in 1986 to cater to specific, distinctive needs of Northern Region of Karnataka.
In the period after independence the country has moved from a State of chronic food deficit to one of reasonable situation of self sufficiency, keeping pace with the burgeoning population. The All India per capita availability of farm land, on the other hand, is shrinking fast and stands at 0.16 hectares. 140 Million Hectares of arable land available country wide is divided into 80 Million holdings, three-fourths of which are less then 2 hectares in size.