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Cooperative Extension Celebrates 100 Years


Guest Columnist

Do you remember when your mother participated in the home demonstration club, led by the Home Economics Agent? While driving down the road, have you ever seen a test plot sign in a soybean field, surrounded by a group of farmers having a serious discussion? Did you or a friend learn how to raise a calf when you were a young child? Many lives have been reached by the County Agent who brought research-based information from the university to the people in local communities. A century ago, the work of the County Agent became official with the signing of the Smith-Lever on May 8, 1914.

The federal legislation of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 provided funding for the educational outreach of Land-Grant Universities. Specifically, the Act stated as its purpose, “In order 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, there may be continued or inaugurated in connection with the college of colleges in each State, Territory, or possession . . .”

The Smith-Lever Act created a unique, shared partnership among federal, state, and county levels of government. The partnership begins with a funding flow from federal government through the United States Department of Agriculture to the Land-Grant Universities and is matched with monies from the state and county government.

The original Smith-Lever Act was later amended to be more inclusive of universities beyond the original funding for 1862 Land Grant Institutions. In 1971, an amendment made an additional appropriation to the 1890 Land-Grant Universities for research and Extension. Again in 1994, a second revision to the language of the Smith-Lever Act added the Tribal Colleges in order to increase the system’s ability to serve Native American communities.

Cooperative Extension in Lincoln County brings you research-based information from NC State and NC A&T universities.

One hundred years later, Cooperative Extension thrives in your community by helping families embrace healthy lifestyles, developing youth into citizen leaders, supporting farmers with innovative agricultural practices, and providing homeowners with horticultural information. Cooperative Extension educational resources and programs available to you include family and consumer sciences, 4-H youth development, agriculture, and horticulture.

Come Grow With Us as we celebrate with a Centennial Breakfast featuring as keynote speaker, Emmy award winner Bryce Lane, host of the popular television show, In the Garden. The public is invited to the breakfast at 7:30 a.m. on Feb. 5 at the James W. Warren Citizen Center. The breakfast will be catered by a new local restaurant, Farmer-Baker-Sausage Maker. Following breakfast, at 9 a.m. there will be a coffee and book signing with Leah Chester Davis, co-author of the Successful Gardener Guide. Lane will offer a free lecture open to the public at 10 am. Tickets for the breakfast may be purchased for $10 in advance and reservations for the free lecture may be made through Cooperative Extension at 115 W. Main Street, Lincolnton or 704-736-8452 or http://lincoln.ces.ncsu.edu.

April Dillon is Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development, with the Lincoln County NC Cooperative Extension.




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