AmericanFarm.com

Happy 100th anniversary, Cooperative Extension! (Editorial)

(June 2014) Cooperative Extension marks an important anniversary this year, 100 years after the signing of the Smith-Lever Act which officially established the National Cooperative Extension System. The Act provided funding for outreach endeavors at land-grant universities which had been founded by the Morrill Act of 1862.
The stated purpose of the Act was “to aid in diffusing among the people of the United States useful and practical information on subjects relating to agriculture, uses of solar energy with respect to agriculture, home economics and rural energy, and to encourage the application of the same ...”
The appropriation arrangements established a unique shared partnership among federal, state and county levels of government to keep the programs funded.
In 1971, an appropriation of $12.6 million was given directly to the 1890 land-grant institutions for research and Extension, and in 1994, the tribal colleges were added.
The Extension service has served the public in many ways, not just in rural areas, for the last century. In addition to agricultural Extension agents, there are also horticultural Extension agents who work with commercial growers as well as gardeners, answering many questions about insect pests, diseases and plant care. Where would this industry be without their research and advice?
Hats off, then, to Cooperative Extension on this, its 100th anniversary, and a big thank you to the individuals who have worked to make it such a success!