Extension Highlights

What is Cooperative Extension?

This will be my last article I write, as I will be retiring. So, I thought it was fitting to submit an article that I wrote when I first started working as the Pershing County Extension Agent. Although many things have change in the 27 plus years that I have been employed by the Cooperative Extension Service (13 years with Ohio State University Extension and 14+ years with Nevada University Cooperative Extension) the mission of Extension has remained the same.

As I begin my new career as the Extension Educator for Pershing County, I must comment on the number of friendly and enjoyable people I have met in Pershing County.  Everyone has been very helpful in helping me feel welcomed to the community.  As I come from a rural area, I think that is one of the many valuable assets of a small community.

However, when I have introduced myself as the new County Extension Educator to some of the people, I get a questionable response; “What is Cooperative Extension?”  Because I have been in Extension for over 13 years, I can understand this question.  Unless you are involved with agriculture or the local 4-H program, you may not be familiar with the Cooperative Extension System.

So, what is Cooperative Extension?  University of Nevada Cooperative Extension is the college that extends knowledge from the University of Nevada to local communities.  We serve as a gateway between the broad expertise of the university and the needs of communities, as expressed by their citizens.  We are that link between our campus collaborators and community partners, as we work together to address the complex issues facing today’s society.

Extension has 19 offices in urban and rural communities throughout Nevada.  Community-based and campus faculty collaborate with local leaders, volunteers and organizations to identify needs, establish priorities, design and implement research-based educational programs, and evaluate impacts.  Applied research is conducted to gain new knowledge, solve practical problems and meet specific community needs. 

What began in the early 1900’s with the establishment of the Smith-Lever Act, which provide practical information on agriculture and home economics, has expanded to include other program areas such as; Natural Resources, Youth Development, Community Development, Health and Nutrition and Agriculture.

No matter how our professionals deliver their educational programs – by workshops, demonstrations, publications, through the media, the Internet or compressed video, our success is measured by how well we respond to needs and bring about change.  Our focus is on enriching the quality of life for all Nevadans.

So, the next time someone mentions Cooperative Extension, hopefully, you will have a little better understanding of what it is and what we can provide to the community.