Extension service celebrates 100th anniversary of signing

GREENVILLE – Ohio State University Extension, Darke County is pleased to announce that May 8, 2014 was the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Smith-Lever Act, which established the Cooperative Extension Service. The Smith-Lever Act requires cooperation between county, state and federal governments and encourages priorities to be established locally to meet the needs of each county.

The Cooperative Extension Service is a unique educational partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the nation’s land-grant universities that extends research-based knowledge through a state-by-state network of local Extension professionals – bringing it to people where they live and work. The Smith-Lever Act has stimulated innovative research and educational programs for youth and adults that have improved lives and shaped a nation.

In Ohio, OSU Extension makes more than 1.5 million educational contacts each year and reaches Ohioans in each of the 88 counties. Their programs focus on strengthening families and communities, preparing youth for success, enhancing agriculture and the environment, and advancing employment and income opportunities. They engage with more than 240,000 young people through 4-H programming and connect with 29,000+ volunteers throughout the state.

OSU Extension is a dynamic educational entity that partners with individuals, families, communities, business and industry, and organizations to strengthen the lives of Ohioans. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

In Darke County, some of their most well-known Extension programs include Pesticide Applicator Training, Dining With Diabetes, Family Nutrition Education, and Successful Co-Parenting. They have over 1,170 4-H members in 46 4-H clubs.   An additional 1,500 youth are involved in the 4-H STEM School Enrichment program.

A national celebration of the Smith-Lever Act will take place during the Cooperative Extension Centennial Convocation on May 8 in Washington, DC. Bruce A. McPheron, dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences; Keith L. Smith, director, OSU Extension; and several others will represent Ohio at the convocation. This includes Hannah Epley, 4-H youth development educator in Fairfield County, and two 4-H Teen Advisory Council members – Emma Newell, Fairfield County, and Britta Fenstermaker, Hancock County.

The national efforts will be complemented by various state and local activities. The Extension Centennial will be recognized during Ohio State Fair activities (July 23-Aug. 3), Farm Science Review (Sept. 16-18), the Celebration of Youth sponsored by the Ohio 4-H Foundation (Sept. 20), Ohio State’s homecoming game (Oct. 18), and other homecoming weekend activities.

In Darke County, activities include a display and activities conducted during the Darke County Fair. More information about all Ohio activities is available online at http://go.osu.edu/OSUEcentennial. Information about national events is posted online at http://extension100years.net. For those who tweet, follow @Ext100years and watch hashtag #EXT100years.

OSU Extension also has published Memories and Milestones of Ohio State University Extension 1905-2013, which is available for purchase at http://estore.osu-extension.org; type the title of the book in the search box.


Shown with the Darke County Commissioners are representatives of the Ohio State University Extension, Darke County, and the people and agencies affected by its programs.

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