Central Sierra
University of California
Central Sierra

100 Years of Cooperative Extension

Developing Northern California's First Ranch Marketing Program

From the California Agriculture Magazine, Volume 68, Numbers 1-2

California’s El Dorado County was once part of a thriving commercial pear-growing region. In 1958, its growers produced more than 52,000 tons of pears on 3,400 acres. The local Placerville Fruit Growers Association, established in 1915, was a busy pear-packing cooperative. But in the late 1950s, pear decline disease invaded California and nearly destroyed nearly all of El Dorado’s premium Bartlett pear orchards. By 1964, the county’s production had dropped to 8,435 tons. Farmers were devastated, and their families at risk. (continue reading...)

How It All Began

100 Years of Cooperative Extension: The Smith-Lever Act Centennial

May 2014 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Smith-Lever Act, legislation that created Cooperative Extension, a nationwide system of community- based education, established as part of each state’s land grant university. Cooperative Extension was started to help farmers, homemakers, and youth use the latest university research to improve their lives. At first geared towards strengthening rural areas, Cooperative Extension became integral to urban and suburban communities as well. A century later, Cooperative Extension continues to provide a vital link between public universities and communities. (Continue reading...)

UC land-grant mission fuels nation's growth, prosperity

This year marks the sesquicentennial, or 150th anniversary, of four events key to American agriculture. In 1862, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) was created. Three pieces of legislation were also passed that would forever change the face of the nation: the Pacific Railroad Act, the Homestead Act and the Morrill Land-Grant College Act, which created America’s land-grant institutions, including the University of California. (Continue reading...)

The Land-Grant Tradition

What is a Land-Grant College: A land-grant college or university is an institution that has been designated by its state legislature or Congress to receive the benefits of the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890. The original mission of these institutions, as set forth in the first Morrill Act, was to teach agriculture, military tactics, and the mechanic arts as well as classical studies so members of the working classes could obtain a liberal, practical education. Over the years, land-grant status has implied several types of federal support. The first Morrill Act provided grants in the form of federal lands to each state for the establishment of a public institution to fulfill the act’s provisions. At different times money was appropriated through legislation such as the second Morrill Act and the Bankhead-Jones Act, although the funding provisions of these acts are no longer in effect. (Continue reading...)

Be a Scientist - Pollinators

Be a Scientist - Food

Be a Scientist - Water

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