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NDSU Extension Service: Extending Knowledge, Changing Lives

Chris Boerboom. NDSU Extension Service director Chris Boerboom. NDSU Extension Service director
The NDSU Extension Service is celebrating 100 years in 2014.

By Chris Boerboom, Director

NDSU Extension Service

It’s easy to be excited about North Dakota State University and North Dakota. The NDSU Bison just won a third national FCS championship. North Dakota is booming with people, agriculture, oil and new opportunities. Plus, we have one more milestone that you may not know about: The NDSU Extension Service is celebrating its centennial in 2014.

One hundred years ago, the national Cooperative Extension Service was launched to deliver information from the land-grant universities to the people of the state. The NDSU Extension Service extends the boundaries of the Fargo campus to all the counties across the state through a network of Extension agents. These local agents are your source for programs and a gateway to area and state Extension specialists and NDSU researchers.

The Smith-Lever Act, signed on May 8, 1914, created Extension to extend the practical knowledge of agriculture, home economics and rural energy from the universities to the people. While times and technologies have changed, we still use the latest research-based information (which is unbiased from commercial profit). We adapt it to the local situations across North Dakota to help youth and adults enhance their lives and communities. This is driven by local needs and is done in partnership with farmers and ranchers, families, communities and agencies.

What does Extension look like today? Just this week:

  • A team of four Cass County 4-H’ers competed in the national consumer choices contest in Denver. The contest teaches kids to observe, compare and make consumer decisions based on facts and to defend their decisions with oral reasons.
  • More than 600 farmers attended the Lake Region Extension Roundup in Devils Lake to learn the latest ag information on topics from soybean cyst nematodes to in-field optical sensors.
  • Parents in Minot started a five-week course called Nurtured Heart in which they will learn effective techniques to address difficult and intense child behaviors that will improve conduct at home, in school and in public.

This is just a snippet of Extension programs across the state. Next week and the weeks after are filled with Extension programs to help North Dakotans.

Here are three facts you may not know about the NDSU Extension Service:

  • 4-H, which is North Dakota’s largest nonformal youth development program, is a major part of the NDSU Extension Service. We also excel in programs in agriculture and natural resources, nutrition and family education, and community and leadership development.
  • Extension’s outreach provides the third mission of university outreach at NDSU as a land-grant university, complementing the teaching and research missions. Extension is your link to NDSU.
  • Extension is the envy of the world. We recently hosted representatives from Kosovo, Bosnia and Kazakhstan who want to replicate our Extension successes in their home countries.

The NDSU Extension Service provides significant public value by improving the economic and social well-being of North Dakota. A recent national study of the benefit of ag research and Extension found $20 of benefit for each $1 invested.

2014 will be a great year for the NDSU Extension Service as we remember our history, conduct educational events and plan future programs to serve you. If you see an announcement for a celebratory open house on or near May 8 at your local Extension office, please stop in and greet your Extension agents.

For today and tomorrow, the NDSU Extension Service will be extending knowledge and changing lives.

NDSU Agriculture Communication - Jan. 8, 2014

Source:Chris Boerboom, (701) 231-8944,
Editor:Ellen Crawford, (701) 231-5391,
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