Extension hits 100-year milestone

First Posted: 8/27/2014

In North Carolina and across the country, the year marks the 100th anniversary of Cooperative Extension programs.

During the past 100 years, Extension agents have touched many lives through the delivery of research-based information from the land-grant universities to the public. I’m sure many of you have fond memories of participating in 4-H clubs as youths, perhaps raising and exhibiting livestock at the county fair. Others may remember participating in food preservation programs or hosting a test plot on their farm with the assistance of their local agent.

A centennial is a time to reflect, prepare and celebrate. As we reflect on the rich history North Carolina Cooperative Extension has with the residents of our great state, we also prepare for and recommit ourselves to continued service to those citizens, as well as celebrate the many successes we’ve had along the way.

The work of the Extension agent became official with the signing of the Smith-Lever Act on May 8, 1914. The federal legislation of the Smith-Lever Act provided funding for life-changing educational programs and outreach.

The goal remains the same today. The Cooperative Extension provides research-based knowledge from the state’s land-grant universities, North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University. Today, Cooperative Extension programs in North Carolina are based in all 100 counties and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians.

While the original goal has not changed, Cooperative Extension has adapted over the years to meet the needs of our communities. Cooperative Extension still thrives in communities today, providing programming in the three major areas of agriculture, family and consumer Sciences, and 4-H youth development.

Join us in celebrating Cooperative Extension’s Centennial and learn more about Cooperative Extension, the so-called “best kept secret.” The Robeson County Center, located at 455 Caton Road, Lumberton, has planned a local celebration to run from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sept. 12.

The North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s centennial website provides many resources that tell the 100-year history of this organization. Visit ncce100years.ces.ncsu.edu to see a timeline of Extension milestones, historic photos, examples of Extension programs, the history of the Smith-Lever Act, and much more.