- Texas AgriLife Extension Service
Infobox Government agency
agency_name = Texas AgriLife Extension Service
logo_width = 300px
logo_caption = Official Texas AgriLife Extension logo (2008)
formed = 1914
College Station, Texas
employees = 1351 full-time, 527 part-timecite web |url=http://agextension.tamu.edu/report/FY08_Qtr1Extension.pdf |title=FTE State Employee Quarterly Report Texas AgriLife Extension Service (#555) for the Quarter Ending November 30, 2007 |publisher=Texas AgriLife Extension Service |accessdate=2008-01-14 ]
budget = $104.1 million (FY 2007)cite web |url=http://tamusystem.tamu.edu/agencies/tce.html |title=Texas AgriLife Extension Service |publisher=
Texas A&M University System|accessdate=2008-01-15 ]
chief1_name = Dr. Edward Smith
chief1_position = Director
chief2_name = Dr. Margaret Hale
chief2_position = Executive Associate Director
Texas A&M AgriLife
website = http://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/
Texas AgriLife Extension Service was established in 1914 after the passing of the
Smith-Lever Actand in conjunction with Texas A&M University. Originally named Texas Agricultural Extension Service, then later Texas Cooperative Extension, the name Texas AgriLife Extension Service was adopted on January 1, 2008. The primary mission of the AgriLife Extension Service is to provide educational outreach programs and services to the citizens of Texas. In conjunction with Texas AgriLife Research, the Extension faculty members conduct research and bring practical applications of those research findings to the people of Texas.
The early history of Texas AgriLife Extension Service is a blending of the history of the
Cooperative extension serviceservice itself, Texas A&M Universityand Prairie View A&M University. The first step towards the creation of Cooperative Extension occurred in 1862 with the passing of the Morrill Land-Grant College Act. This law granted every state convert|30000|acre|km2 of public land for each of its House and Senate members, with the land being used to endow land-grant collegesfor the teaching of agriculture and other practical arts.cite book |title=Taking the University to the People: Seventy-five Years of Cooperative Extension |lastname=Rasmussen |firstname=Wayne |origyear=1989 |publisher=Iowa State University Press |location=Ames, Iowa |isbn=1557532672 |oclc=18835646 ] This led to the Texas Legislaturefounding the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (referred to as Texas A.M.C. for short in 1871, which was funded through the Morill Act and was Texas' first public institution of higher education.cite web|title=Texas A&M University|publisher= The Handbook of Texas|url=http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/TT/kct8.html|accessdate=2008-01-19|author=Henry C. Dethloff] In compliance with the Morrill Act, in 1876 the Fifteenth Texas Legislatureendowed the Agricultural and Mechanical College for the Benefit of Colored Youth (the future Prairie View A&M University) as part of Texas A.M.C.cite web|title=Prairie View A&M University |publisher= The Handbook of Texas|url=http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/PP/kcp6.html|accessdate=2008-01-19 |author=George Ruble Woolfolk] In 1890, an amendment to the Morrill Act was passed to deal with the issue of providing steading funding to the land-grant colleges and to prohibit racial discrimination at any of the funded colleges.
During its early years, despite its name Texas A.M.C. didn't teach any agricultural classes at all, leading to protests by farmer groups and much of college's leadership being replaced. Despite the new curriculum in agriculture and engineering, the college's enrollment continued to drop. The land-grant colleges around the country were struggling. With the ample land available in the West, most farmers had little incentive to adopt intensive farming methods and other advanced agricultural technologies. As with Texas A.M.C., the agricultural colleges were being criticized for not actually giving their students the training that would enable them to return to their family farms, and instead the graduates were leaving the farm life all together. For most observers, however, the biggest issue was that there was no solid agricultural research on which to base the practical teaching being attempted, so the fill this need Congress passed the Hatch Experiment Station Act of 1887, which provided funding for agricultural experiment stations in each state. This led to the founding of the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station in 1887 at Texas A.M.C. This new organization was given the task of conducting research in all aspects of crop and livestock operations.cite book |title=Historic Brazos County: An Illustrated History |lastname=Borden |firstname=Robert |coauthor=Williams, Scott |origyear=2005 |other=Commissioned by the
Brazos Heritage Society|publisher=Historical Publishing Network |location=San Antonio, Texas |isbn=1893619419 |oclc=173165657 ]
The founding of the Experiment Stations were considered a big step towards improving farming, however the Experiment Station personnel soon realized that without a way to effectively communicate their findings to farmers, all their effort was for not. While they made attempts at out-reach, the results were limited and required diverting critical funds away from their core mission: research. In 1903,
Seaman Ashael Knapp(1831-1911), a US Department of Agricultureagent, began created a demonstration farm, where he could show other farmers how new farming techniques and production methods could benefit them. As Knapp's example spread, Congress took notice. Impressed by the success, Congress passed the Smith-Lever Acton May 8, 1914, which gave states the ability to establish official extension agencies affiliated with their land-grant universities to help "extend" the research findings of the colleges and Experiment Stations in practical ways that helped the citizens in every county.cite web|title=Texas Agricultural Extension Service |publisher= The Handbook of Texas|url=http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/TT/amtpw.html|accessdate=2008-01-19 |author=Irvin M. May, Jr.] Texas quickly took advantage of this new act and formed the Texas Agricultural Extension Service in the same year, associating it with Texas A.M.C.
In 1948, Texas A&M formed the
Texas A&M University System, incorporating the Extension agency and six related agencies which are still part of the system today. [http://tamusystem.tamu.edu/overview/faq.html TAMU System Agency Overview FAQ] ] In 2001, Texas Agricultural Extension Service changed its name to Texas Cooperative Extension, feeling the new name would better reflect its mission and its focus on serving all Texans. In 2007, Dr. Elsa Murano, who was overseeing Texas A&M Agriculture as a whole, implemented another name change. After paying for a consultation from an outside firm, she also undertook to change the name of Texas A&M Agriculture, and Texas Agricultural Experiment Station. On January 1, 2008, Extension's name officially changed to Texas AgriLife Extension Service. The agency felt that "AgriLife" better reflected the agency's foundational message that "agriculture is life."cite web|url=http://www.mywesttexas.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19213517&BRD=2288&PAG=461&dept_id=475591&rfi=6|publisher=Midland Reporter-Telegram Service|work=MyWestTexas.com|title=Extension service changes name to better relect agency's mission|accessdate=2008-01-19|date=2008-01-19|author=Deborah Benge Frost]
Texas AgriLife Extension is the largest extension service in the US and a leading employer in the Brazos County. Headquartered at the Texas A&M University campus in College Station, the AgriLife Extension Service develops much of its own curriculum, which it then teaches across the state through its network of over 600 county extension agents located in 250 of the 254 Texan counties and its nearly 350 extension specialists.cite web|url=http://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/about/|publisher=Texas AgriLife Extension Service|title=What is Extension?|accessdate=2008-01-19] Together, these agents and specialists, aided by more than 150,000 volunteers, education the public through classes, publications, web sites, television series, and other outlets in the areas of
agriculture, family and consumer sciences, human nutritionand health, environmental and natural resources, community development, and 4-Hand youth development. Through its various programs, the AgriLife Extension Service reaches over fifteen million Texans annually, and the Texas 4-H program is the largest in the nation and makes up one-sixth of the national enrollment numbers.
*Handbook of Texas |id=AA/TT/amtpw | name=Texas Agricultural Extension Service
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