In 2014, Extension marks a special milestone, the 100th anniversary of the federal Smith-Lever Act. This act, signed on May 8, 1914, created the national Cooperative Extension Service and the partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and land-grant universities that extend research-based outreach and education.
In Minnesota, we get to claim home state pride: The University of Minnesota was ahead of the curve, creating Extension in 1909, five years before the federal act. The act was important, however, in ensuring that there would continue to be a system for our mission here at home: Making a difference by connecting community needs and University resources to address critical issues in Minnesota.
For 100 years, the Smith-Lever Act has stimulated innovative research and vital educational programs for farmers--and families and youth--through a progressive system that has improved lives through research and education. In fact, Extension has helped shape a nation.
Extension's second century will witness change every bit as remarkable as that seen in its first 100 years. Extension leaders, specialists and educators look forward to working side-by-side with individuals, organizations and communities in all 87 counties to help meet the challenges that lie ahead.