Agricultural education was first started in Bihar in 1945 with the establishment of Bihar Agricultural College at Sabour in the district of Bhagalpur. Later on, it was realised that the agricultural situation and features of the plateau region of South Bihar is different from the rest of Bihar. Hence there was a need of a second college for this region. Ranchi Agricultural College was established in 1955, Ranchi Veterinary College in 1961 and College of Forestry in 1980. Considering the importance of agricultural education for the agricultural development of the state, the first Agricultural University in Bihar – Rajendra Agricultural University was started in1971 with its headquarters at Pusa. In view of the specific agriculture features of Chotanagpur and Santhal Parganas, the establishment of a second Agricultural University, for this region of the Bihar State, was conceived.
Birsa Agricultural University was established on 26th June, 1981 after its formal inauguration by the then Prime Minister of India, Late Smt. Indira Gandhi. Its primary objective is to develop area specific technologies and manpower in the field of agriculture, animal husbandry and forestry for the agricultural development of the plateau region of Jharkhand and economic upliftment of tribal and other backward class population of the region. The programmes and activities of teaching, research and extension are carried out through three faculties (Agriculture, Veterinary Sciences & Animal Husbandry and Forestry) with eight colleges viz. Ranchi Agriculture College, College of Veterinary Sciences & Animal Husbandry, Ranchi,College of Forestry, Ranchi, Rabindra Nath Tagore Agriculture College Deoghar, College of Agriculture, Garhwa, Tilka Manjhi Agriculture College, Godda, College of Diary Technology, Hansdiha, Dumka and College of Fisheries Technology, Gumla. Two new colleges viz. College of Agricultural Engineering, Ranchi and College of Horticulture, West Singhbhum is being started during session 2018-19. Besides these, one College of Biotechnology, One Centre for Agri-business Management, six Directorates, three Zonal Research Stations and farms, one University farm, sixteen Krishi Vigyan Kendras, Computer Centre, Central Library, ATIC and other infrastructure and service units. Being a completely residential university, limited hostels for boys and girls, and residential facilities for Teachers/Scientists and supporting staff have been provided on the campus.