Ralph S. Besse joined the Oregon Agricultural College faculty in 1922 as farm management extension specialist. In 1932, he became Assistant Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station; he served as Associate Director of the Station from 1949 until his retirement in 1953. Besse earned B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Missiouri.
The Ralph S. Besse Thesis, Agriculture as a Career, was submitted to the College of Agriculture at the University of Missouri in 1913 for the Mrs. Mary Guinn Prize. It includes photographic prints of farm scenes and country homes.