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Events scheduled to celebrate 100 years of extension

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This year marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the Smith-Lever Act, which formally established the national Cooperative Extension Service system.

Across Kentucky, the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service is celebrating ways that extension has helped clients change their lives for the better.

Taylor County will kick off its celebration on May 8 with former 4-H agent Wayne Baxter speaking at the Campbellsville/Taylor County Chamber of Commerce luncheon. A reception for the public will be from 4 to 7 p.m. There will be a slideshow, exhibits and light refreshments.

The Smith-Lever Act established the Extension Service system in 1914 to provide federal funding for land-grant universities to educate rural residents in vocational, agricultural and home demonstration topics.

To carry out this work, the act set up a unique funding partnership between federal, state and county governments. The funding would flow from Congress to the U.S Department of Agriculture, then to the land-grant universities and would be matched with money from the states and counties receiving the programs.

One aspect that separates land-grant universities from other institutions is extension, which comes full circle in the land-grant mission. Not only do extension agents keep constituents knowledgeable of the most current research coming from land-grant universities, they also identify problems at local levels. These issues are then solved by research and the solutions are taught in university classrooms and at the county level through extension.

Many of the duties of the first extension agents included helping farmers become better stewards of the land and helping homemakers improve food preservation techniques so they and their families could lead healthier lives. Today, extension agents continue to work to make Kentuckians lives better, but now these duties might include helping farmers keep up with the latest precision agriculture technology, guiding families as they bounce back from the recent recession or teaching 4-H participants about the consequences of bullying.

For more information about local programs, contact the Taylor County Extension Office at (270) 465-4511. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday.

The extension office's website is www.ca.uky.edu/taylor or Taylor County Cooperative Extension Service on Facebook.