|Funding||Location||Area of Emphasis||"Issues" Approach|
In 1912, the Michigan Legislature authorized county boards of supervisors to appropriate funds and levy taxes to further teaching and demonstrations in Extension work.
In 1914, Congress passed the Smith-Lever Act, which created the Cooperative Extension System and it directed the nation's land-grant universities to oversee its work.
In the early years of Extension, "demonstration agents" showed or demonstrated new farming or homemaking techniques. Today, Extension agents use a wide variety of information systems to deliver educational information. These include satellite downlinks, interactive video, computer data bases, decision-making software, bulletins and research reports, community forums, and one-on-one and group instruction. Today's agents also work through other community groups and statewide agencies and enlist thousands of volunteers to extend education to the people of Michigan.
Extension has three major funding sources: the federal government, state government, and local government.
The federal funding links Extension with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and to national trends and issues. State funding ensures that the needs of Michigan citizens are being met. Local funding means that Extension is in place to deal with the problems and issues in every county.
Increasingly, additional funding is being sought through grants from various foundations and the private sector.
Extension programs are very cost effective. They involve volunteers, community people who have special expertise or knowledge. Using volunteers expands the outreach of Extension's educational programs without hiring additional professionals.
Extension offices and staff cover every county in Michigan. Extension faculty on the campus of Michigan State University do research and translate research results into educational programs. They act as resource people for Extension staff members in counties. More than 29 academic departments and eight colleges work directly with Extension.
Together, these county-based and university-based Extension workers make sure that Extension stays on the cutting edge and is accessible to everyone.
Extension provides information and offers on-going educational programs in four areas:
These program areas have similar goals-they seek to help people better understand their environments, make the best possible use of their resources and enhance the quality of life for themselves, their families and their communities through education and wise decision making.
Local input has always been important to Extension. Advisory committees at state and county levels help direct Extension's efforts toward the areas of greatest need.
Extension undertook a comprehensive statewide issues identification process that, in the spring of 1993, identified three areas of major concern to the citizens of Michigan. As a result of this process, Extension and MSU will focus special attention over the next two to three years on these areas identified by the citizens of this state as being of major importance.
Statewide issues teams are currently exploring and developing the university responses to these critical issues.