NDSU Extension - Traill County


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Trailll County Extension History Overview 1933-55

Traill County Extension Narrative Report History - 1933-1955

The Smith Lever Act, signed on May 8, 1914, created the Cooperative Extension Service whose purpose is to deliver information from the land-grant universities to the people of the state.

Traill County has reason to be proud of our part in the history the North Dakota Cooperative Extension Service. Traill County is credited with being the first county in the state to have a 4-H program. Below is an article taken from the 1952 Traill County Extension Service Yearly Narrative Report written by R. L. ( Rudy) Nelson, who was the Traill County Extension Agent from 1933-1955. A variety of pictures and reports on Traill County's history in agriculture, 4-H and homemakers are included in the table below.

4-H Growth Had Roots in Traill County

A corn growing contest held among the youth of Traill County almost half a century ago (1904) is credited with being one of the fore-runners to the present highly successful 4-H club movement.

Back in 1904 when Cap E. Miller, who later was a professor at N.D.A.C. (North Dakota Agriculture College), was superintendent of schools in Keokuk, Iowa, he organized several boys’ and girls’ clubs. The agricultural courses he taught were so successful the idea spread to several neighboring counties.

The same year, County Superintendent, J. F. Hetler of Traill County, inaugurated a corn-growing contest among youth of this area. The contest was encouraged by the agricultural college and blossomed into a county-wide agricultural and home culture program.

In 1905, the NDAC attempted or organize the program on a state-wide basis, but only Traill County carried through to a county-wide exhibit and contest. The contest here was so successful that NDAC actively promoted industrial contest work which led directly into organized extension work at the college.

In 1914, the Smith Lever Act made cooperative extension work nation-wide in scope and the following year club work was organized in North Dakota.

Traill County Corn Grower Club


(A group of Traill County participants enrolled in the First Corn Growers Contest in 1904)




Excerpts from Traill County Narrative Reports 1933-1955


1933 1934 1935 1936 (unavailable) 1937 1938
1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944
1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950
1951 1952 1953 1954 1955
Filed under: NDSU, Extension
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