Tap Into Your Local Extension Services

Learn how to better utilize your local extension services and get answers to your agriculture questions, from pest management to health and nutrition.

  • Utilize your local agricultural extension offices for anything from soil testing to farm and garden questions.
    Photo by Darcy Cahill
  • Gaffney sought advice from her Maine extension office and was able to develop her business.
    Photo by Darcy Cahill
  • The leaves of this lowbush blueberry plant are high in antioxidants.
    Photo by Darcy Cahill
  • Don’t hesitate to call your local extension offices with any ag-related questions.
    Photo by Janet Horton

For answers to most agricultural questions, many turn to their local agricultural extension service. Every state has one or more locations. Each extension office offers assistance to local individuals, communities, and organizations looking for answers to questions about pest management, health and nutrition, meeting federal and state food and safety standards, expanding their value-added products, and much more. Extensions exist to answer the most basic agricultural questions to the most complex, and they have a long history of helping farmers find ways to develop, expand, and sustain their farms.

Extension services in the United States began in the early 1900s as a way to support farmers and their families with science-based knowledge. Extension services have always maintained close ties to local universities with strong agricultural programs. Scientists and university professors at these universities offer their expertise on subjects ranging from agriculture, life sciences, economics, engineering, food safety, pest management, veterinary medicine, and other related disciplines.

If you’re unfamiliar with your local extension agency, this valuable resource can be found most often in courthouses, post offices, and other government buildings. The internet is a good source for tracking down the closest extension office to you. Go to www.Extension.org, and it will identify the location and contact information for each extension office in the U.S. Once you’re on the homepage, click on any topic in the “Resource Area” at the bottom of the page, then plug in your zip code. That’ll lead you to your nearest extension service.

This site is also a comprehensive resource for anyone from agricultural professionals to gardening hobbyists, and includes agricultural fact sheets, blogs, webinars, links to conferences, and research-based articles.

All extensions can be found in the phone book business pages under “Extension.” Whether a question is simple or complex, an extension specialist will find the answer.

Mary Peabody, a University of Vermont extension professor, says, “We live in an age where there is a lot of information available, and while that can be a great thing, it can also be a little overwhelming. It is also hard sometimes to know what information you should trust.” Peabody says that extension information is current, unbiased, and trustworthy. If there’s something you want to know about that isn’t being done at your local extension office, they know where it is being done and will connect you with ways to access that information.

12/8/2017 4:07:54 PM

Here in Pennsylvania the Extension Service is at Risk due to Funding cuts by the State to Penn State University! A Huge Budget Crisis in the State has affected Funding to Penn State university which runs most of the Extension programs and services. I know other states have been affected by a Budget Crisis and that it has affected their extension services too. So the number of programs and services available may be diminished in some states. Also the amount of money coming to the states from the federal government is also dwindling, which also cuts into the amount of money that goes to the extension services! And from what I have been hearing and reading, President Trump wants to Drastically Cut the funding even more!! Which will mean the States may be forced to Eliminate their Extension services or Drastically cut back the services and programs they offer! Some states have already begun to do that. So it is best to check with your local extension service to see what they offer and what programs they have available.

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