Cooperative Extension Celebrates 100 Years of Service

— Written By Janine Rywak and last updated by

In North Carolina and across the country, 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of Cooperative Extension programs. Extension’s centennial is linked to the signing of the federal Smith-Lever Act, signed by Woodrow Wilson on May 8, 1914, that provided funds for the organization of Cooperative Extension at county, state and federal levels.

Today, Cooperative Extension programs are based in all the state’s 100 counties and on the Qualla Boundary of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. These programs draw on research-based knowledge from the state’s land-grant universities — N.C. State and N.C. A&T – to provide education to citizens.

Anson County Cooperative Extension will hold a birthday party on Thursday, May 8 of 2014 to celebrate this milestone. Guests are invited to the Extension Center at 2:00 p.m. for cake and punch.

Old photos will be on display, along with some history about Cooperative Extension, and opportunities for the future. Please call the Extension Center at 694-2915 to rsvp no later than Friday, April 25.

Throughout the past 100 years and earlier, Extension has helped farmers overcome pests like the boll weevil and learn ways to increase crop yields, educated rural families and helped bring electricity to the state, assisted during times of war and disaster, helped families to provide safe, healthy meals and encouraged youth to develop skills that made them better citizens.

Even before the Smith-Lever Act, agricultural Extension work had begun in Anson County. In 1908, Dr. W.J. McLendon was hired by the Anson County Commissioners as the first County Agent.

In 1911, the county hired Mr. J.W. Cameron who would lead the county’s Extension program for the next few decades, along with Mrs. Rosalind Redfearn in 1913, the county’s first female agent.

Today, Cooperative Extension continues this important role, serving communities and families, supporting agriculture and empowering youth to be leaders. To help tell that story, N.C. Cooperative Extension has developed a centennial website.

Visit to see a timeline of Extension milestones, historic photos, examples of Extension programs “Then and Now,” the history of the Smith-Lever Act and much more.

Then plan to celebrate with the Extension staff on May 8, the history of this 100-year old organization. A centennial is a good reason to have a birthday party!