About the District
Edwards and Stafford Counties formed the 21 Central Extension District in July 2021. Extension Districts are an exciting opportunity to provide communities with additional resources, activities and programs. While working together as a district, extension offices are able to be more efficient, effective and sustainable and agents are able to specialize and provide more in-depth programming while having access to additional resources and support.
All universities engage in research and teaching, but the nation's more than 100 land-grant colleges and universities have a third critical mission—Extension. Extension “reaches out,” extending resources and addressing public needs with university resources through non-formal, non-credit programs. Programs are largely administered through County Extension offices that bring land-grant university expertise to the local level.
Today, Extension plays an important role in American life in rural, urban, and suburban settings. Extension Agents help farmers grow crops, help families plan safe and nutritious meals, and help children acquire the necessary skills to become tomorrow’s leaders.
Nearly a century ago, when Congress created the Extension system, more than 50 percent of the U.S. population lived in rural areas and 30 percent of the workforce was engaged in farming. Extension's engagement with rural America supported the agricultural revolution, which dramatically increased farm productivity. In time, less labor was needed to produce the same amount of food on less acreage.
In Kansas, Extension personnel work on the Kansas State University campus and in 105 county offices. Extension programs are designed to meet the needs of the local community. The 21 Central District promotes programs in these areas:
- 4-H Youth Development
- Lawn & Garden
- Community Development
- Crops, Livestock & Farm Management
- Family & Community Wellness
Educational efforts are guided by volunteers that serve on Program Developement Committees (PDC). The PDC collectively constitutes the County Extension Council.
A Brief History of Extension
1862 - The Morrill Act was passed paving the way for a land-grant university in every state.
1863 - Bluemont College was renamed the Kansas State Agricultural College.
1887 - The Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station was created at Kansas State Agricultural College under the provision of the Hatch Act.
1914 - The Smith-Lever Act created the Cooperative Extension Service.
1915 - The Kansas Legislature passed the County Farm Bureau Law that provided funds to implement the county extension program.
1951 - Kansas Legislature revised the law making the county extension program the cooperative responsibility of the county extension council and Kansas State University.
1959 - The university's name was officially changed to Kansas State University of Agriculture and Applied Science.
1991 - Kansas Extension District Law passed by the state legislature which paved the way for two or more county Extension councils to form Extension districts.
1996 - The Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station and Kansas Cooperative Extension Service merged to form the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, also known as K-State Research and Extension.