Extension plays pivotal role in land-grant system

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By Maryellen Garrison

Even though the Cooperative Extension Service has been around for 100 years, people often ask about the connection between Extension and land-grant institutions.

Land-grant institutions are legislated to not only teach but to engage in research and outreach. The Smith-Lever Act established the Extension Service system in 1914 to provide federal funding for land-grant universities to educate rural citizens in vocational, agricultural and home demonstration topics.

To carry out this work, the act set up a unique funding partnership between federal, state and county governments. The funding would flow from Congress to the U.S Department of Agriculture, then to the land-grant universities and would be matched with money from the states and counties receiving the programs.

Extension is one aspect that separates land-grant universities from other institutions.

Extension often comes full-circle in the land-grant mission. Not only do extension agents keep their constituents knowledgeable of the most current research coming from land-grant universities, but also many times, we help identify problems at local levels. These issues are then solved by researchers, and the solutions are taught in university classrooms and at the county level through Extension.

For more information on local extension events and to help us celebrate the 100 anniversary of Extension, we hope that you will plan to join us in our Centennial Open House to be held at the Henry County Extension Office from 4 until 6 p.m. Thursday, May 8.

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.