Recognizing the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Smith-Lever Act, the founding legislation of the nationwide Cooperative Extension System
May 6, 2014 – Most Kansans may not realize the significance of a congressional act signed 100 years ago.
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.
This mission enables Kansas State University through its K-State Research and Extension program to enrich the lives of Kansans. Extension focuses its work on finding solutions for topics important to Kansans, using its statewide network to share information.
Nationally, celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the Cooperative Extension System are taking place May 8, 2014.
“As a system, K-State Research and Extension works with Kansas farmers and ranchers to improve practices, establishing Kansas as the breadbasket of the world,” said John Floros, director of K-State Research and Extension and dean of the College of Agriculture. “Our families programs help people lead productive lives, while 4-H programs lead youth into adulthood.”
“Our citizens have told us there are five grand challenges facing Kansas. We built our strategic plan around finding solutions to these challenges, Floros said.
Grand Challenges Facing Kansas.
Kansas extension programs and efforts are focused on these five areas, Floros said.
- Global Food Systems: With a goal of feeding the world’s growing population, work focuses on improved food and agricultural systems.
- Water: With an eye on the future, efforts look at decreasing water needs or costs for livestock, crop production and municipal water systems.
- Health: Quality of life, healthy development and behaviors for all life stages to reduce health problems and associated costs are the focus of programs.
- Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders: Kansas looks to emerging leaders to lead the state forward. 4-H youth are learning leadership skills. Other efforts assist Kansas’s community leaders with economic development issues.
- Community Vitality: Kansas’s rural, suburban and urban communities face many challenges. A variety of extension programs work to enrich Kansas communities.
Volunteers Critical to Program.
“We aren’t going to solve these challenges alone,” said Daryl Buchholz, associate director for extension and applied research. We work with agencies, organizations, business, industry, thousands of volunteers, and Kansas’s citizens. Through these efforts, we develop and share research-based knowledge for lifelong pursuits.”
Locally elected boards and program development committees work with local extension agents and specialists to determine programs to address critical needs of their community. Serving on these committees provides local citizens with an opportunity to help their communities.
“This is a hallmark of Kansas extension programs,” said Chuck Otte, Geary County extension agent. “Our local citizens work with agents to develop local extension programs with planned events, activities and strategies. All are focused on a common outcome for their communities. And it is backed by science-based education.”
State, University Recognize K-State Research and Extension
Proclamations signed in honor of 100th anniversary
It’s a salute to the faculty, staff and volunteers who have contributed careers, passions and their time to a common belief of a better future for Kansas.
In that recognition, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback recognized the 100th anniversary of Cooperative Extension and the signing of the Smith-Lever Act.
The proclamation honors cooperative extension, which engages with rural and urban learners through practical community-based and online approaches. This results in “knowledge, skills and motivation to address the grand challenges facing Kansans in global food systems, water, health, vitalizing communities and developing tomorrow’s leaders.”
“I encourage the people of Kansas and the United States to observe and celebrate the centennial with a focus on launching an innovative and sustainable future for Cooperative Extension,” the governor’s proclamation stated. It was signed at the state capitol on May 1.
On Thursday, May 8, Kansas State University Provost April Mason will sign a proclamation recognizing cooperative extension as a crucial component of the land-grant mission.
Extension works collaboratively with research, particularly the Agricultural Experiment Station system and with academic programs in the system. There are 106 land-grant colleges and universities serving all 50 states, the District of Columbia and six U.S. territories.
K-State Research and Extension
K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service.
K-State Research and Extension is a partnership between Kansas State University and federal, state, and county government, with offices in every Kansas county. Research is conducted throughout Kansas and shared by extension agents and others.
K-State Research and Extension Mission
“We are dedicated to a safe, sustainable, competitive food and fiber system and to strong, healthy communities, families and youth through integrated research, analysis and education.”
More information on K-State Research and Extension programs and services is available at your local office or online (www.ksre.ksu.edu).
Story by: Elaine Edwards
K-State Research & Extension News
The link for graphics is https://www.flickr.com/photos/ksrecomm/sets/72157644133572969