Pictured L-R: Steven Taylor, associate dean for research; Oladiran Fasina, department head, biosystems engineering; Paul Patterson, dean, college of agriculture; Alysa Gauci, ASABE student branch president; Darrin Drollinger, ASABE executive director

Historic landmark dedication ceremony held at the Auburn University Biosystems Engineering Department Centennial Celebration on April 11, 2019

Dedication Year: 2019

Location: Corley Building, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama

Plaque Wording: Alabama Power Company (APC) completed its first rural line down the Whitesburg Pike in Madison County, Alabama, in June 1920, providing electricity to ten farms, a cotton gin, and a dairy. Dr. Mark L. Nichols, professor and head of agricultural engineering at Alabama Polytechnic Institute (API now Biosystems Engineering at Auburn University), began discussions in 1922 with APC on how agricultural engineers could conduct experiments and research in the use of electricity to improve the profitability of farms. The information gathered and recommendations from Dr. Nichols and other agricultural engineers convinced APC to initiate a cooperative program of rural electrification with API on December 23, 1923. The program was approved by the API trustees on January 2, 1924. This program was the first cooperative rural electrification development agreement between an agricultural engineering department and an electric power company and provided a $24,000 grant to support the work. A cooperative program of rural electrification and development was carried out by the APC and the department for more than 50 years.