Cooperative extension is 100 years old

It would be difficult to place a number on the lives touched through the Cooperative Extension program since it began 100 years ago.

The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 established Cooperative Extension, the nationwide transformational education system operating through land-grant universities in partnership with federal, state and local governments. The goal of the act was to expand the vocational, agricultural and home demonstration programs in rural America by bringing the research-based knowledge of the land-grant universities to people where they live and work.

America was much different 100 years ago when rural living was much greater. Today, Cooperative Extension offices still provide valuable information to both rural and urban dwellers with 4-H, master gardener programs, home services, such as food and nutrition education, and a rapid response network in responding to natural disasters.

The Ohio State University Extension-Trumbull County is a member of the Western Reserve Extension Educational and Research area that provides educational programing for the following program areas: Agriculture and Natural Resources, Family and Consumer Sciences, 4-H and Youth Development and Community Development.

OSU Extension-Trumbull County is housed at the Agriculture and Family Education Center at 520 W. Main St. in Cortland. The center is also the home to the Trumbull County Soil and Water Conservation District, USDA Farm Service Agency, USDA Natural Resources and Conservation Service, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Soil Sciences.

The 4-H program teaches stewardship of the land and good citizenship. The 4-H kids plant flowers at cemeteries, the county fairgrounds and at schools.

They go to nursing homes to sing at Christmas and provide bags of supplies to shut-ins throughout the year. They also collect food for food pantries and deliver gifts and colorful pillow cases to the pediatric floor of hospitals.

The organization also is known for teaching kids about proper care of farm animals and the competitions at county fairs.

4-H is all about growing the leaders of tomorrow.

America has changed since the Cooperative Extension offices were established 100 years ago, but the principles have remained the same.

The education provided by Cooperative Extension offices has been a valuable part of rural and urban living over the years through its non-formal education network.