Cooperative Extension has been extending research based information to the people for 100 years.
In 1914, U.S. Senator Hoke Smith of Georgia and U.S. Representative A. F. Lever of South Carolina authored the Smith-Lever Act to expand the "vocational, agricultural and home demonstration programs in rural America." The act assured delivery of research-based knowledge of the land-grant universities to people where they live and work. Act 12 of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, approved on March 26, 1915, established Penn State as the recipient of financial resources and provisions of the federal Smith Lever Act in Pennsylvania.
This mission enables Penn State University through its Penn State Extension programs to enrich the lives of Pennsylvanians. Extension focuses its work on finding solutions for topics important to people right here in Warren County. "Penn State Extension works with farmers and producers to improve practices, establishing Pennsylvania as a key state in feeding the world. Our family and consumer programs help people lead productive and healthy lives, while the 4-H/Youth program positively influence youth to help them be productive adults in society," according to Jeffrey Fowler, District Director for Warren, Forest, Venango and Clarion counties.
While in 1914 a large majority of the population in the United States was involved in agriculture, if for no other reason than to raise food for their own survival, today less than two percent of our population is engaged in agricultural production, but these producers raise enough food to feed our rapidly growing population. Every citizen is touched daily by agriculture in many ways, "everyone eats and enjoys the benefit of healthy and safe food".
Penn State Extension's mission now extends into more urban and suburban communities as well. Through its programs in healthy living, 4-H/youth, urban farming, green infrastructure, economic and community development, food, fiber and energy production. "Penn State Extension helps individuals, families, businesses, and communities throughout Pennsylvania with information on a broad range of educational programs designed to: Support productive, profitable, and competitive businesses and a strong agriculture and food system; Strengthen families, children and youths and the elderly; Build caring, safe, and healthy communities; Ensure the long-term vitality of Pennsylvania's natural resources; Enable people to better understand and deal with complex public issues" states Fowler.
Penn State Extension provides practical education you can trust. We help people, businesses, and communities solve problems, develop skills, and build a better future. "We aren't going to solve these challenges alone," said Fowler. "Historically, Penn State Extension has operated at a local level to develop long-term relationships with members of the community. Using a team approach of extension educators and Penn State faculty, we collaborate with agencies, organizations, business, industry, volunteers, and Pennsylvania's citizens. Extension professionals pride themselves by helping people learn by doing. Through these efforts, we develop and share research-based knowledge for lifelong learning and success."
To celebrate the centennial of Cooperative Extension, we will be publishing a series of articles highlighting the impacts Penn State Extension has had right here in Warren County.