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Gov. Rick Scott signs resolution honoring Extension service at Florida State Fair

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TAMPA, Fla. – Florida Gov. Rick Scott pauses to be in a photograph with 4-H members, left to right,  Marissa Coughlin, Meagan Borg and Krista Baker at the Florida State Fair. Scott attended the fair and the Fresh From Florida breakfast to talk about the importance of agriculture in Florida. In the photograph, he and the 4-H’ers stand in front of cutouts of political leaders who helped create the land-grant university and cooperative extension systems. UF/IFAS photo by Javier Edwards.

 

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a resolution, sponsored by state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Thursday, at the state fair in Tampa recognizing the centennial of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, which established the federal Cooperative Extension Service.

Scott formally opened the 110th Florida State Fair and held a cabinet meeting on the fairgrounds as a way to highlight the state’s agricultural heritage. He spoke briefly at the Fresh From Florida Breakfast.

Through the Smith-Lever Act, extension agents in every state work to share research information with various constituents, including farmers. Florida has an Extension office in every one of its 67 counties.

The state’s Extension Service, administrated by the University of Florida and Florida A&M University, has helped millions of Floridians by converting scientific research and discoveries into practical knowledge used every day, the resolution says.

UF’s Extension Service, Research and Education Centers and College of Agricultural and Life Sciences are part of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

“Cooperative Extension has helped many businesses, individuals and communities grow and strengthen over our 100-year existence,” Nick Place, UF/IFAS dean for Extension, said recently. “This year’s centennial is a great opportunity to ensure that Extension continues providing meaningful impacts through the next 100 years and to ensure that cooperative extension is highly recognized as the ‘front-door’ to our land-grant university, the University of Florida.”

Extension faculty educate the public on issues such as sustainable agriculture, competing in global markets, natural resource conservation, food safety, child and family development, consumer credit counseling and youth development.

Florida’s Cooperative Extension Service includes an array of programs, including Fishing for Success, Florida Bird Monitoring, Florida’s Forest Stewardship, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Florida Lakewatch, Florida Master Gardener, Green Communities, Program for Resource Efficient Communities, Integrated Pest Management, Florida Small Farms and Florida 4-H.

Thursday’s resolution also recognized the Morrill Act of 1862, which offered states thousands of acres of land that could be sold to fund land-grant universities that would teach agricultural, mechanical and military skills.

Modern-day UF/IFAS and its services emanate from a 1964 act of the Florida’s higher education governing board. It created UF/IFAS by combining UF’s what were then known as the College of Agriculture, the School of Forestry, the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service into one unit.

The fair continues through Feb. 17.

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By Brad Buck, 352-294-3303, bradbuck@ufl.edu