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Cooperative Extension Service

Planted 02022-01-06

The name confused me greatly at first—Cooperative Extension Service (CES)—extension is a very general term isn’t it?. But, breaking it down, cooperative extension means working together to move forward, to propagate—to spread ideas together. And I now recognize cooperative extension as quite a beautiful phrase. However, I can’t help but think cooperative progress is an easier to term to spread. It seems to largely be about moving communities forward.

The Cooperative Extension Service is an extension agency:

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is a U.S. federal government body whose creation was mandated in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. Its purpose is to consolidate all federally funded agricultural research, and it is subordinate to the Department of Agriculture. It replaced the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service in 2009.

Extension provides non-formal education and learning activities to people throughout the country — to farmers and other residents of rural communities as well as to people living in urban areas. It emphasizes taking knowledge gained through research and education and bringing it directly to the people to create positive changes. (NIFA: Extension)

All universities engage in research and teaching, but the nation’s more than 100 land-grant colleges and universities have a third, critical mission — extension. Through extension, land-grant colleges and universities bring vital, practical information to agricultural producers, small business owners, consumers, families, and young people. (NIFA: Extension)

University faculty members, who are disciplinary experts, translate science-based research results into language — written, verbal, and electronic — appropriate for targeted audiences. County-based educators work with local citizens and interest groups to solve problems, evaluate the effectiveness of learning tools, and collect grassroots input to prioritize future research. By living and working in communities, county educators are able to rely on existing relationships to respond to local needs, build trust, and engage effectively with citizens. (NIFA: Cooperative Extension System)

Agricultural extension brings agricultural research findings to the people who can put them into practice. Since passage of the Smith-Lever Act in 1914, the United States has developed an expansive Cooperative Extension System operated through the land-grant university system in partnership with federal, state, and local governments. Partners include NIFA, cooperative extension services at land-grant colleges and universities, and cooperative extension service offices in nearly each of the country’s approximately 3,000 counties and its territories. Extension agents based at field offices and land-grant institutions work with local agricultural producers and community members to demonstrate or put into practice knowledge gained through agricultural research. Agriculture faculty at land-grant institutions may have appointments that are fully teaching, research, or extension, or some combination of the three. The extension function adds non-formal education to the land-grant mission. The U.S. Land-Grant University System: An Overview

Local extension office

Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service