Helpful Solutions for Everyday Lives

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I just recently returned from an international study tour in Brazil. It was wonderful visiting many farms, agribusinesses, and even some high-tech think tanks supporting the growing global agricultural needs of the future. Our group had the opportunity to visit the campus of Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture, part of the University of São Paulo, located in Pircacicaba, Brazil. One of the things that stood out to me was the difference in how knowledge from the University was delivered and their lack of a formal Cooperative Extension system. It made me appreciate even more the foresight our elected officials had over 150 years ago, which passed legislation to create land-grant universities across the U.S. and, some 52 years later, formally creating Cooperative Extension.

I think it is important for citizens to understand the difference between traditional universities and land-grant universities. The terminology “land-grant” refers to the federal land given to the respective states in which the sale of these federal lands was to be used to create a university to provide practical education to agricultural and industrial workers. The original mission of land-grant institutions, as set forth in the first Morrill Act, was to teach agriculture, military tactics, and the mechanic arts, as well as classical studies, so members of the working class could obtain a liberal, practical education. As an enhancement to this vision, Cooperative Extension was formally created in 1914 to help deliver researched-based knowledge out into the communities for an even greater benefit to our society. Among teaching and research, land-grant universities have an intentional mission to extend that knowledge beyond the limited students on campus.

So why do I even bring this up? Times have obviously changed over the last 150 years. Access to information is now literally at your fingertips with the use of mobile devices and the internet. But what separates Cooperative Extension from the competition? The power of research-based information! As many of you know, there is an overabundance of information, hacks, and tricks. I’m sure you may have even used or attempted to try some of the available advice. But how reassuring is it to know that the information you are using has been properly researched and evaluated?

Although we continue to serve our traditional audiences, educational resources are now available to a broader audience on a much wider variety of topics than 100 years ago. Whether it is information for your home garden, on the farm, or in your kitchen, Cooperative Extension has what you need. A great new resource for the average citizen can be found at the NC State Extension Homegrown site. This is a wonderful place to find helpful information for everyday lives, whether you are preparing a nutritious seasonal recipe, learning the best way to start your garden, or discovering where your food comes from.

I invite you to tap into to our resources and experience the power of Extension providing trusted knowledge and resources from Extension experts across our state. Don’t forget our team of trusted local professionals are available to assist you as well. If it’s practical knowledge you need, we are here to help!

For more information contact Mac Malloy, County Extension Director and Field Crop Agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, at (910) 671-3276, by E-mail at, or visit our website.