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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Cooperative Extension Centennial

The 100-year signing anniversary of the Smith-Lever Act, which officially created the national Cooperative Extension System, will take place in 2014. Celebrations this year will highlight our past and focus on the current application of Cooperative Extension’s mission and vision as we move into our next century.

Open Letter from the Director

The national celebration for Extension’s 100th anniversary is entering high gear, and I want you all to join in the fun! May 8, 2014 will mark 100 years since the signing of the Smith-Lever Act, which established the Cooperative Extension Service. The act created a state-by-state national network of educators who extend university-based research and knowledge to the people. In Ohio, we have Ohio State University Extension.

Over the years, we’ve worked with farmers and 4-Hers, with community leaders and families, and we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished the past 100 years. Here’s how you can join our celebration:

  • If you tweet, follow @Ext100years and watch the hashtag #Ext100years. Extension services across the country, including Ohio State University Extension, will be sharing their successes for 100 days. This got started January 27, and will run through May 8.
  • If you are a Buckeye fan and love The Ohio State University Marching Band, October 18 should be on your calendar. The band will be paying a special tribute to Extension during halftime.
  • Check out Reba McIntire’s birthday wishes to Extension on YouTube.

Here’s to an even better next 100 years!

Keith L. Smith
Associate Vice President, Agricultural Administration
and Director, Ohio State University Extension

-originally printed in the Extension Connection, a publication distributed through the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s Buckeye Farm News.

Smith-Lever Act (May 8, 1914)

An act signed .. "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..."
-Rep. Asbury F. Lever, South Carolina
-Sen. Michael Hoke Smith, Georgia

The appropriation for Cooperative Extension as established by the Smith-Lever Act was unique because it set up a shared partnership among the federal, state and county levels of government. Funding was shared to ensure that there was support from each of the levels of government to help the fledgling system achieve stability and leverage resources. The funding flows from Congress to the United States Department of Agriculture and then out to the land-grant universities throughout the United States to be matched with monies from the states and counties receiving programs.