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100 years of Extension, improved lives and shaped a nation

In one way or another, I would argue that we all have benefited from legislation signed 100 years ago referred to as the Smith-Lever Act.

The Smith-Lever Act established the Cooperative Extension Service, a unique educational partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the nation’s land-grant universities and counties that extends research-based knowledge through a state-by-state network of extension educators. For 100 years, the Smith-Lever Act has stimulated innovative research and vital educational programs that improved lives and shaped a nation.

The following quote, taken from http://landgrant.ufl.edu, provides more historical insight into how this system came into existence.

“One year, four months and 17 days before Abraham Lincoln addressed a war-weary crowd at the dedication of a cemetery in Gettysburg, the President signed legislation that made an immediate and everlasting impact on the way people experience their lives. The Morrill Act established the land-grant university system and essentially initiated what could be defined as ‘The Education Revolution’ that thrives to this day.”

On May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation that extended the land-grant university concept beyond university campuses to reach into communities across the United States. That legislation created the Cooperative Extension System as a partnership between the federal, state and county governments.

The University of Florida is Florida’s land-grant University. UF/IFAS County Extension offices are the “front door” to the University in all 67 Florida counties. We can assist you in the following areas.

Agriculture: With an annual statewide impact of $100 billion, agriculture is vital to Florida. We provide relevant and timely resources to food producers and others who need information about Florida agriculture.

Family & Consumer Sciences (FCS): Through FCS, we provide information about health nutrition, money management, food, home concerns, relationships and many other topics. Our resources can help you whether you are retired, a first-time parent, a teen or someone in between.

Horticulture: Florida presents unique challenges for growing lawns, landscapes and gardens. So we offer research-based information and advice to assist both the home gardener and the professional horticulture industry.

Natural Resources and Coastal Management: We provide information in the areas of wildlife and forestry management, aquaculture, seafood safety and ecotourism.

4-H: With six million 4-H youth, 540,000 volunteers, 3,500 professionals and more than 60 million alumni, 4-H is the youth development program of the Cooperative Extension System of land-grant universities. Through 4-H, young people from elementary school through high school engage in hands-on learning activities in the areas of agriculture, science, citizenship and healthy living.

Learn more by visiting http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu and welcome to the second 100 years of Extension.

Larry Williams, UF/IFAS Extension, Okaloosa County, December 23, 2014

Permanent link to this article: http://okaloosa.ifas.ufl.edu/blog/2014/12/31/100-years-of-extension-improved-lives-and-shaped-a-nation/