The Norman Transcript

Opinion

May 8, 2014

Happy birthday, county service

NORMAN — County extension services around the country will pause to mark the centennial anniversary of their founding today. On May 8, 1914, the Smith-Lever Act put into federal law programs and funding to expand vocational, agricultural and home demonstration programs in rural America.

The Act authorized federal land grant colleges, such as Oklahoma State University, to reach out into communities and share best practices on farming, home economics and rural energy at a time when the nation was expanding into rural communities.

The appropriation for Cooperative Extension as established by Smith-Lever set up a shared partnership among the federal, state and county levels of government.

A formula funding mechanism was designed to guarantee there was support from each of the levels to help keep the system afloat. It also allowed services to leverage resources.

Locally, the Cleveland County Extension Service will celebrate the centennial next month during Ag Day. Thousands of county residents have benefited from Extension programs over the years. A centennial birthday cake will be served at the fairgrounds at 1 p.m. June 7.

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