Yunnan Agricultural University was founded in 1938 when it was known as the Agricultural College of National Yunnan University, located in Chenggong, Kunming. In 1958, it became Kunming Agricultural and Forestry College and moved to Heilongtan, the northern suburb of Kunming. In 1962, Southern Yunnan University and Western Yunnan University were merged with Kunming Agricultural and Forestry College and moved to Binchuan, Dali Prefecture in 1969. In the next year, the college moved to Xundian, Qujing.
After it was merged with Yunnan Agricultural Labor University and establish Yunnan Agricultural University in 1971, the new university moved back to Heilongtan in 1980. It was authorized to confer master degrees in 1983, listed as a key university in Yunnan Province in 1993, authorized to confer doctor's degrees in 2003, and set up a post doctoral research station in 2007. In 2008, the undergraduate teaching was evaluated as excellent by the Ministry of Education. In 2009, 2013 and 2014, relying on the school's education management resources, the provincial Party committee and the provincial government established Yunnan Rural Cadre College, Yunnan Food Safety Management College and Yunnan Plateau Characteristic Agricultural Industry Research Institute respectively. In 2013, the New Rural Development Research Institute of Yunnan Agricultural University was established with the approval of the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Education of People's Republic of China.
The university now has 22 colleges, ranging from cultivation, aquaculture, water resources and hydro-power, agricultural engineering, agricultural economic management and humanities and social sciences.
By now, YAU has established exchanges and cooperation with more than 100 overseas colleges and universities in 23 countries, including the UK, the United States, Japan, Germany, South Korea, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Slovenia.
In 2001, YAU was approved to carry out the Sino-foreign cooperative school running project of "Garden and Horticulture" ("2 + 2") with Lawrence University in the Netherlands; In 2014, it launched the Sino-foreign joint-project of "Civil Engineering" ("4 + 0") with Hooverhampton University; In 2015, the joint-educational program of "Agricultural and Forestry Economic Management" ("3 + 1") with Lincoln University in New Zealand was launched.
In 2012, YAU was approved by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to establish the "China ASEAN Education and Training Center", the first and only center of its kind.
Three foreign experts including Michael Augustine Fullen won the "Caiyun Award", the highest honor for foreign experts in Yunnan Province, and YAU was awarded the honorary titles or awards including "National Advanced University for Employing Foreign Experts" and "Advanced University for Foreign Affairs in Education in Yunnan Province".
By December 2021, we had had more than 33,000 full-time Chinese students, over 11,000 further-education students and over 200 international students.
The school has its main campus and Pu'er campus covering an area of 3,803 acres with 687,000 square meters for buildings. The total value of teaching and scientific research instruments and equipment is 369 million yuan. In 2014, it was approved by the science and technology novelty search station (Agronomy) by the Ministry of Education. By the end of 2021, the total collection of printed and e-resources had topped 3 million copies.
Adhering to the concept of social service, the school has actively carried out agricultural, scientific and educational social services such as fixed-point assistance, rejuvenating the border and enriching the people, the plan of increasing grain production by 10 billion kilograms, the entry of agricultural science and technology into Tibet, School local school enterprise cooperation, and the "three districts" special plan for scientific and technological talents, and achieved remarkable results. Signed cooperation agreements with more than 10 prefectures (cities) including Kunming, Pu'er, Wenshan, Dehong, Diqing and Dali and more than 700 enterprises, and established all-round, deep-seated and wide-ranging cooperation relations; For many years, we have carried out school local cooperation and vigorously supported the local development of high-quality, high-yield and efficient modern agriculture; Adhere to the idea of "first-class party construction guidance, agricultural science and technology support and decisive poverty alleviation", continue to carry out village based assistance, industrial assistance, science and technology assistance, education assistance and Party Construction assistance, and help designated counties get rid of poverty on schedule.
Giving full play to the advantages and roles of the New Rural Development Research Institute (national level), Yunnan Plateau Characteristic Agricultural Industry Research Institute, Yunnan rural cadre college, Yunnan food safety management college and China ASEAN education and training center, high-quality provincial vocational teacher training base, Yunnan modern agricultural technology training base and Rural Revitalization talent training high-quality school actively explore the establishment of the combination of agricultural science and education. The new mode of science and technology service of the integration of school, government and enterprise, identify the starting point, strengthen the training of talents for agriculture, rural areas and farmers, and provide talent support and intellectual guarantee for the development of modern agricultural industry with plateau characteristics. "Yunnong people", represented by academician Zhu Youyong, have "agriculture, rural areas and farmers" in mind. They have written their scientific research achievements for many years on the land of "Yunling" and led the development of local industries. The school has been commended by the provincial Party committee and the provincial government as the "annual advanced collective for social poverty alleviation" for eight consecutive years. In 2018, "planting scientific and technological resources to help industrial poverty alleviation" was selected into the "20 typical projects of targeted poverty alleviation and targeted poverty alleviation in provincial colleges and universities" of the Ministry of education. In 2019, academician Zhu Youyong was awarded the honorary title of "model of the times" by the Propaganda Department of the CPC Central Committee, and the science and technology service work of the "three districts" of the University was praised by the Ministry of science and technology. In 2021, academician Zhu Youyong and the social service center were awarded the honorary titles of "national advanced individual in poverty alleviation" and "national advanced collective in poverty alleviation" by the Party Central Committee and the State Council respectively.