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What is Cooperative Extension?

Posted 6/5/2009

What is Cooperative Extension?

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 provided 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.

My first priority is to conduct an extensive needs assessment of the major issues that the residents of Pershing County feel are important to them. I will be contacting area leaders and organizations for their input into this assessment. I would also like to improve our communications with the residents of the county by starting email lists on specific topics such as crop production, livestock production, farm management and horticultural information. If you would like to receive up-to-date information on these and other topics of interest, send your email address to fosters@unce.unr.edu. Be assured that this information will not be shared with others.

No matter how our professionals deliver their educational programs — by workshops, demonstrations, publications, 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. If you would like more information about Extension, feel free to stop by our office at 810 Sixth St. Lovelock, NV or call us at (775) 273-2923.

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