Promoting Agricultural and Rural Sustainability — Cooperative Extension Service

A Century of Improving Lives

On May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson put his signature to a Congressional act that would create, in his words, “one of the most significant and far-reaching measures for the education of adults ever adopted by the government.”

The law, known as the Smith-Lever Act, created a national agricultural extension service — an action that would help transform America and Arkansas.

Today, agents and faculty of the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service are the face of a partnership among federal, state and county governments whose work goes beyond agriculture.

Over the last century, the Cooperative Extension Service helped introduce modern production technology, made statewide childhood immunizations a reality and helped bring electricity to Arkansas.

The Cooperative Extension Service is still delivering the latest research advancements and lending its expertise to individuals and communities.

  • As drought severely damaged pastures and livestock operations in 2012, Extension responded by showing ranchers how to recover, rebuild and make their farms more resilient to future drought.
  • When avian flu was diagnosed in an Arkansas flock in 2014, Extension Veterinarian Dustan Clark and extension agents quickly convened grower groups and taught intensive sessions on biosecurity to prevent spread of the disease and ease industry concerns.
  • The spotted winged drosophila, blamed for billions of dollars in losses to the fruit industry nationwide, was confirmed in Arkansas in late 2012. Extension entomologists, agents and growers worked together to identify, monitor and manage this pest effectively.
  • The Arkansas 4-H program continues to demonstrate its youth development success. Research shows that youth involved in 4-H are two times more likely to go to college, two to three times more likely to study science and engineering and much less likely to abuse substances.
  • Extension nutrition programs touched the lives of more than 270,000 adults and youth by helping them stretch their budgets and create healthier meals.
  • Extension agents provided public policy and conflict resolution expertise to help communities preserve and enhance water quality within the state’s watersheds.