A Century-Long Track Record of Serving Arizona and Benefiting the State's Economy

A Tucson child learns about gardening at Tucson Village Farm, one of a number of programs offered through UA Cooperative Extension, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Photo credit: Judy A. Davis
A Tucson child learns about gardening at Tucson Village Farm, one of a number of programs offered through UA Cooperative Extension, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Photo credit: Judy A. Davis

University of Arizona Cooperative Extension is celebrating 100 years of serving Arizonans through programs designed to support agriculture, business, community health, the local economy and more.

On May 8, 1914, Congress signed the Smith-Lever Act, establishing the Cooperative Extension Service as a national priority. The act created a unique educational partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the nation's land-grant universities to extend research-based knowledge through a state-by-state network of extension educators.

When the UA's extension program set out on its mission a century ago, educators traveled the state by train, exhibiting livestock, produce and the latest in farm machinery and sharing advice for more efficiently managing businesses and homes. The goal was to improve outcomes for farmers, small business owners and families, and ultimately benefit the state’s economy.

Although that mission remains, the impact of UA Cooperative Extension, housed in the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has grown to be much more diverse and broad today than it was 100 years ago.

"The entire state is our campus," said Kirk Astroth, assistant dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of Arizona 4-H Youth Development.

In 2013, for example, more than 585,000 Arizonans took part in Cooperative Extension offerings, with 190,405 young people participating in 4-H and other youth development programs.

Those programs cover a wide variety of areas, ranging from sustainable food production and childhood nutrition to science, technology, engineering and math.

Earlier this month, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a state budget that allocates $3.5 million to UA Cooperative Extension in the 2015 fiscal year to support the program's critical activities throughout the state.

Read the rest of this April 23 UANews article at the link below.

Date released: 
May 1 2014
Contact: 
Jeff Silvertooth