Extension > Extension history > A Chronology of Development 1849-Present

A Chronology of Development 1849-Present

1849

Minnesota granted the rights of a territory.

1851

University of Minnesota founded.

1853

Col. John Harrington Stevens founded the Hennepin County Agriculture Society (later to become Minnesota Territorial Agriculture Society).

1858

Minnesota became a state.

Col. Stevens and William S. Chowen introduced a bill to establish an agricultural school in Glencoe, Minnesota. Bill passed, but no funds were allotted.

1861

Civil War broke out, and Stevens returned to the army.

1862

Morrill Land Grant Act passed in Congress (Minnesota received 120,000 acres, 40,000 acres per Minnesota member in Congress.) Proceeds were used to establish agriculture and mechanic arts education.

Organic Act passed to establish United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Homestead Act passed, opening western lands for settlement.

1863

Minnesota legislature accepted the land grant, but sales of land were delayed because of the Civil War and Indian uprisings.

1865

State legislature agreed that the land grant should be used for agriculture school in Glencoe, Minnesota.

1867

Legislature reversed its decision on the Glencoe location under pressure from University of Minnesota Regent John S. Pillsbury. Sales and proceeds from land were used to establish agricultural education as part of the University of Minnesota.

Series of agriculture professors hired by U of M:

  • 1868-69 Edward Twining
  • 1869-70 D.A. Robertson
  • 1872-73 Dalstron Strange
  • 1873-80 Charles Lacy
  • 1881-89 Edward D. Porter
1881

U Farm moved to St. Paul "old Bass Farm" in St. Paul from Prospect Park in Minneapolis.

1882

Farmers lecture course started.

1886

First Farmers Institutes formed.

1887

Orin Gregg appointed superintendent of Farmers Institutes. Hatch Act passed (agricultural experiment stations and agricultural research).

1909

The Extension division was created as a part of the University by the state legislature. The bill was introduced by Joseph Hackney, a St. Paul dairy farmer.

1910

A.D. Wilson appointed first Extension director (a position held until 1920).

West Central Development Association formed.

George P. Howard appointed by the Extension Division of the University of Minnesota to serve as a part-time lecturer for boys and girls club work.

1912

Frank Marshall named Minnesota’s first county Extension agent.

1913

Seventeen Minnesota counties named county Extension agents.

Minnesota state legislature appropriated $860,000 for county agent work for 1913-14 and empowered counties to appropriate money for agent work.

F.E. Balmer named first county agent supervisor.

First county farm bureau organized in Minnesota (Kandiyohi).

1914

Smith-Lever Act passed Congress and was signed by President Wilson. It provided federal funding for Extension work in the states to be matched by the states dollar-for-dollar.

Memorandum of Understanding signed between USDA and the various land-grant institutions in the individual states establishing joint supervisory power over Extension work.

States Relations Division established in USDA to be responsible for Extension work. Minnesota Extension Division reorganized to meet new structure established by Smith-Lever.

1915

Bess Rowe appointed Minnesota's first home demonstration leader.

1917

U.S.A. entered World War I.

First home demonstration agent hired (Rosamund Adams, Mower County).

Emergency Food Production Act approved by President Wilson provided $4,348,000 for Extension to increase food production.

Number of counties with Extension agents increased from 16 to 85.

Smith-Hughes Act passed Congress and was signed by President Wilson. It provided vocational training in agriculture and home economics in schools.

1918

First county 4-H club agent hired in Minnesota (Maynard Coe). National County Agents' Association passed a resolution favoring the organization of a state and national farm bureau federation.

1919

Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation created.

National Farm Bureau Federation created.

Minnesota state legislature required a county to have and maintain 100 Farm Bureau members before a county agent could be appointed.

1920

F.W. Peck became director of Extension upon Wilson's resignation.

1921

Statement signed by A.C. True of USDA and James R. Howard, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, saying that agents would serve all farm people regardless of their organizational affiliations, and agents would not solicit members for the Farm Bureau.

First county home demonstration group organized in Steele County.

1922

True/Howard memorandum was formalized by Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace and established as policy.

1923

Minnesota state legislature revised the Extension law by increasing the required Farm Bureau membership in a county to 200. The county Farm Bureau was also to have a budget committee to be known as the County Cooperative Extension Committee.

1927

Pi Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi organized in Minnesota (fraternity of veteran Extension workers).

1928

Passage of Kapper-Ketchum Act by Congress: provided $1,480,000 additional federal funds for Extension to be matched by the states dollar for dollar.

Minnesota Extension director F.W. Peck signed a Memorandum of Agreement with State Farm Bureau secretary J.S. Jones, stating that "agents cannot organize Farm Bureaus, conduct membership drives, receive dues, handle Farm Bureau funds, edit Farm Bureau publications, or manage the business of Farm Bureau."

1929

Agricultural Marketing Act passed Congress; established the Federal Farm Board and provided funding to encourage cooperative marketing. This established a new Extension priority on agricultural marketing. Economics and marketing specialists are hired.

1930

Deficiency Act provided Extension funds to employ specialists in economics and marketing.

1933

Congress passed the Emergency Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA). This Act established the tradition of Congress encouraging farmers to adjust their production to consumer and market demand.

Purposes of the Act:

  • Restore farm purchasing power to the level it was between 1909-1914.
  • Provide direct payments to those farmers who participated in acreage control.
  • Regulate marketing through voluntary agreements with processors.

Extension was charged with administering the AAA program nationwide. Allotments were made by the Agricultural Adjustment Administration to add county agents in counties not previously served and add more staff in some overburdened counties.

1935

Bankhead-Jones Act passed Congress:

  1. Authorized additional appropriations for research and Extension work in agriculture and home economics.
  2. Stated that federal funds did not need to be matched by the states (a departure from previous Extension legislation).
  3. Directed that funds were to be appropriated based on the number of farms rather than rural population.
1936

Federal Agricultural Adjustment Act declared unconstitutional. The Social Conservation and Domestic Allotment Acts were approved to take the place of AAA. Objectives were to promote soil conservation and reduce agricultural production. Extension moved out of its regulatory role as administrator of AAA.

1937

First rural electrical association organized (Meeker County).

1938

F. W. Peck resigned as Extension director; Paul E. Miller appointed director.

1940

Federal amendment to the Hatch Act restricted political activity of federal employees.

1941

U.S. entered World War II. Agricultural legislation was passed during the war years (1941-45) to create high price supports and encourage production. Extension slogan: "Food for Defense"

1945

Congress passed the Bankhead-Flanagan Act, which provided additional funds for Extension work.

1949

Bills first introduced in the state legislature to formally separate Farm Bureau and Extension in Minnesota.

Federal agriculture legislation continued high price supports to encourage production as reaction to wartime shortages.

Minnesota Grange and Farmers Union step up the fight to separate Extension and the Farm Bureau.

1950

Outbreak of the Korean War was an incentive for Congress to keep price supports high and fixed for agricultural farm products.

1951

Bills again introduced in state legislature to formally separate Farm Bureau and Extension. (Minnesota was one of only five states that still maintained formal ties in 1951).

1952

J.S. Jones died: University of Minnesota Regent and executive secretary of the Minnesota Farm Bureau.

Paul Miller resigned and Skuli Rutford became director of Extension.

Bill passed state legislature to formally separate Extension and the Farm Bureau.

Korean War ended and federal agriculture legislation began favoring production control.

Consolidation Act passed by Congress to bring together under one Act all previous Extension legislation; authorized Congress to appropriate "sums as Congress may from time to time determine necessary."

1954

Public Law 480 passed to authorize sales of surplus agriculture commodities for emergency relay, foreign currency, and barter of farm products for basis materials. Disposed of surplus farm products.

Agriculture Act provided price supports on basic commodities on a flexible basis.

1956

Agriculture Act established soil bank, encouraged crop restriction and conservation.

1957

Minnesota Extension Law of 1953 was amended to more adequately reflect county differences and provide for financing of enlarged county programs.

1958

Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) Scope Report suggested Extension priorities for the 1960s.

1964

Congress passed Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Skuli Rutford resigned; Luther Pickrel became director.

1968

Luther Pickrel resigned; Roland Abraham became director.

ECOP scope report, "A People and A Spirit," suggested Extension priorities for the 1970s.

1969

State Extension Law of 1953 was amended to provide for more funding in counties.

Congress appropriated funds for Expanded Food & Nutrition Program (EFNEP)

1972

Congress passed Rural Development Act. It provided funding for Extension rural development work, "to develop and demonstrate activities which are effective in solving rural development problems at the local level."

Congress appropriated funds for urban 4-H work.

Agricultural Extension Service reorganized into 7 districts.

1973

Affirmative Action plans required by each state Extension service.

Special earmarked federal funds made available for 4-H urban and community development programs.

Agriculture and Consumer Protection Act passed by Congress. Emphasized increased agriculture production because of world crop shortages.

State Extension Law of 1953 amended to remove funds ceilings appropriated by individual counties.

1976

$1,000,000 federal funds earmarked for small and part-time farmers' work.

1977

Food and Agriculture Act passed Congress mandating an internal evaluation of the Cooperative Extension Service to be reported to Congress in March 1978.

Minnesota Extension Citizens Advisory Committee informally organized.

1978

North Central Extension Advisory Committee organized in Minneapolis.

1979

Roland Abraham resigned; Hal Routhe became acting director.

1980

Norman A. Brown became director.

National Extension Advisory Council organized March 28 in Washington, D.C.

Evaluation of economic and social consequences of Cooperative Extension Programs Report is completed and submitted to the Secretary of Agriculture and Congress.

1981

Mission and Goals Statement developed for Minnesota Agricultural Extension Service. Minnesota Extension is reorganized into 5 districts and 4 program areas.

1982

$2,500,000 federal funds appropriated for renewable resources extension work, but President rescinded funds.

House agriculture subcommittee, co-chaired by Representatives Brown and Wampler, conducted oversight hearings on Cooperative Extension System.

"Extension in the 80's," a national committee to help the nation's Cooperative Extension Service determine future direction and scope of its educational programs, was appointed. Minnesota Governor Al Quie was named to the committee.

Minnesota was one of the first states to place computers in every county Extension office through the statewide EXTEND (EXTension Educational Network and Database) program.

1984

Norman Brown resigned; Patrick Borich became dean and director.

1985

Extension strategic plan, "Focus on People," broadened Extension's educational mission as an outreach arm of the University of Minnesota and restated Extension's commitment to serve Minnesota's people.

Minnesota legislature directed the University of Minnesota Board of Regents "to review the functions and responsibilities of county Extension agents and report to the legislature on their future role and mission.

1986

Extension changes its name from Agricultural Extension Service to Minnesota Extension Service. Purpose is to recognize that Extension provides a broad base of educational programming to Minnesota.

Findings of the Regents' review reaffirmed the University's commitment to the land-grant philosophy. It recommended that the Extension function be "of a prominence equal to" that of research and resident instruction.

1989

Blue Ribbon Task Force to study the University-County Extension partnership recommended revisions to the Minnesota County Extension law to broaden the definition of county Extension work to clarify that Extension serves all Minnesotans.

Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich declared 1989 the Year of Minnesota Extension Service, to celebrate 80 years of providing research-based education to Minnesotans.

1990

County Extension Law changed to reflect the 1989 Blue Ribbon Task Force recommendations. Main provisions. It expanded the definition of county Extension work from the areas of "agriculture and home economics" to "educational programs and services provided by extension agents in . . . agriculture, economic and human development, community leadership, and environment and natural resources."

1992

Extension was restructured to reflect broadened educational mission. Restructuring document, "Reinventing Minnesota Extension for the 21st Century," included: reorganizing counties into 18 county clusters; renaming county agents to Extension educators, working in 10 areas of specialization; and establishing direct connections between Extension and colleges throughout the University.

1994

Patrick Borich resigned; Gail Skinner-West became acting dean and director.

1996

Katherine Fennelly became dean and director.

1997

Extension changed its name to University of Minnesota Extension Service to clearly show that the University of Minnesota is integral to the identity and mission of Extension.

1999

Katherine Fennelly resigned; Charles H. Casey became acting dean and director. "Rural Response" to help Minnesotans deal with a rural financial and social crisis was deemed a top Extension priority.

Extension was reorganized into 8 districts

2000

Extension prioritized work into five capacity areas: agriculture, food and environment; community vitality; natural resources and environment; youth development; and family development.

2001

Dr. Charles H. Casey's appointment as dean and director approved by University of Minnesota Board of Regents June 15, 2001.

2002

Extension opened 18 Regional Extension Offices in July. Extension Educators and Extension faculty delivered programs across the state, while locally funded educators and staff in county offices delivered educational programs.

2005

Beverly R. Durgan appointment as dean and director approved by University of Minnesota Board of Regents in September 2005.

2007

Minnesota men and women faced the longest brigade-level deployment in the history of the National Guard. Through Operation Military Kids, Extension’s youth development and family development programs helped create a network of support for military families.

2007

"University of Minnesota Extension Service� became “University of Minnesota Extension."

2009

Extension celebrates 100 years of extending the University into every corner of the state, connecting the University to the people and taking University research from the labs into people’s lives.