It was Her Excellency Maharani Kempa Nanjammanni Vani Vilasa Sannidhi the Regent of Mysore in 1899 who donated 30 acres of land for Experimental Agricultural Station at Hebbal and appointed Dr Lehmann, German Scientist to initiate research on soil crop response with Laboratory in the Directorate of Agriculture. Later in 1906, Dr Leslie Coleman, Canadian Entomologist and Mycologist who succeeded Dr Lehmann and served with missionary zeal for 25 years. This Experimental Station was allotted 202 acres with 30 acres of wetland, receiving rainfall of 808 mm later. In 1913,Sir M Vishveshwaraiah, the then Diwan of Mysore (1912-1919) played the key role in establishing the Mysore Agriculture residential School at Hebbal in 1913 and appointed Dr Leslie Coleman, the first Director of Agriculture, Mysore to head this School to offer Licentiate in Agriculture for 15 students annually.
The University began its academic activities by offering in degree programs in Agriculture and Veterinary disciplines. ALater degree program in Fisheries science was added with the establishment of Fishery college at Mangalore. Due to the need for horticulture specialisation, a degree program in Horticulture was added with the establishment of Horticulture college at Mudigere. The degree program in Dairy science was added by starting the Dairy Science College, at Hebbal. The Department of Agricultural Marketing and Cooperation was newly created which commenced the degree program in Agricultural Marketing and Cooperation. The new college of Forestry in Ponnampet, South Kodagu, offered the degree program in Forestry, the new college of Sericulture at Chintamani offered the degree program in Sericulture. The Chintamani campus also offers BSc(Agri) program from 2007. The Department of Agricultural Engineering offered the Bachelors degree in Agricultural Engineering. This heralded ruralization of education utilising the facilities in the already existing Agricultural Research Stations.