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agricultural extension, home economics, 4-H, agricultural history


The College had been doing a certain amount of Extension work since 1901, 13 years before the Smith-Lever Act was passed. This work consisted mainly of holding farmers' institutes, addressing farmers' meetings and judging at county fairs. During this 13-year period (1901-1914), four different superintendents were employed. Stacy Cochran served for two years. The work was discontinued for two years, and in 1905 it was reestablished under M. F. Greeley. He was succeeded in a short time by A. E. Chamberlain. The last man to hold the position before the work finally merged into Extension work was H. F. Stoner of Highmore. In connection with the work of the Farmers' Institutes, there was gradually developing a conscious need of more definite help in solving the farmers' urgent problems. They included control measures of certain crop diseases and pests, as well as animal diseases, especially hog cholera. From 1908-1912 much attention and publicity was given to the Roosevelt Country Life Commission. This report called attention to the unequal development of rural life compared to urban life and it stressed the inadequate opportunities existing in the rural areas. From 1908-1911 farmers cooperative demonstration work, carried on in the South by Dr. Seaman Knapp, received large publicity. Businessmen's organizations, bankers' conventions and state educational associations were endorsing the work and discussing the possibility of having demonstration agents in their communities. The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), through its farm management section, was offering $1,200 per year in federal aid to a limited number of counties that would meet certain requirements in employing a farm demonstration agent. By 1914, when the Smith-Lever bill was finally passed, there were 843 county agents employed in the United States. There were also 349 home demonstration agents. Congress was also getting enthusiastic over the possibilities of farmers' demonstration work. Legislators from ten states were vying with each other to introduce a bill to grant federal aid for this work. Six of the states' represented were from the Midwest. Seventeen different bills were introduced from 1910-1915 before the Smith-Lever bill became a law. [Introduction page 3]




South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service


Project sponsored by: Epsilon Sigma Phi, South Dakota Chapter, National Honorary Extension Fraternity

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Agriculture Commons