By Jessica Nickels, columnist
Enid News & Eagle
The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service (OCES) kicked off its celebration of 100 years of extending knowledge and changing lives of Oklahomans.
Earlier this month in Stillwater, with Extension staff from across the state on hand, Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb presided over a cake-cutting ceremony, and Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis read a proclamation marking the centennial.
“As a land-grant university, our job is to train great talent, do great research and share that with our state, our nation and the world. One of the important ways we share with our state is through the Cooperative Extension Service,” Hargis said. “For 100 years, Extension has been changing lives by providing research-based expertise in everything from agriculture to health and nutrition to 4-H to community development. So, happy birthday to OSU’s Cooperative Extension and thanks for a century of service.”
OCES will mark its birthday with a variety of county and statewide events leading up to and through the spring anniversary date, including a feature-length documentary set to premiere May 8 on OETA-TV.
“Extension’s mission is to harness all the research and know-how of land-grant institutions like Oklahoma State University, and use it to help Oklahomans live the best lives possible,” said James Trapp, associate director of OCES. “We’re proud of our history of putting that mission into action in Oklahoma.”
OCES operates offices in all 77 Oklahoma counties and provides programming and information on a wide range of topics such as lawn and gardening, health and nutrition, home and family, crops, personal and family finances, community development, and animal science.
Extension also generates two weekly television shows — “SUNUP” (agriculture) and “Oklahoma Gardening” — shown statewide on OETA-TV.
Most OCES resources and activities, including a database of more than 5,000 downloadable, research-based fact sheets (www.osufacts .okstate.edu), are free or low-cost for participants.
“Whether you are an agricultural producer striving to keep up with new technology and the markets, or a citizen needing help identifying a plant in your yard, wanting to learn how to safely operate an ATV or needing guidance on setting up a household budget, these are just a few of the areas where Extension can serve as a resource for Oklahomans,” Trapp said.
The Smith-Lever Act formally established the national Cooperative Extension Service May 8, 1914. The legislation created a unique partnership between county, state and federal governments, and provides funding through land-grant schools to expand vocational, agricultural, and home and family programs beyond the university.
“For 100 years, Extension educators and specialists have worked one-on-one, side-by-side with Oklahomans to solve local issues and assist families with everyday challenges,” Trapp said. “For us, it’s personal. It always has been and it always will be.”
In Oklahoma, OSU and Langston University engage in Extension outreach activities.
Do you have a story to tell how Extension has been a part of your life? We would love to hear it and share it with others.
To share your story or if you would like more information about OCES, contact the Garfield County Extension office at 237-1228 or visit us at 316 E. Oxford. We have several programs available, including the Oklahoma Home and Communication groups that meet monthly to learn and share ideas, and the 4-H program for youth.
Nickels, MS, RD/LD, is Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service Family and Consumer Sciences educator for Garfield County.