Extending Knowledge, Providing Solutions

Extending Knowledge, Providing Solutions

October 1, 2019 0 By Ewald Bahringer


A unique education agency, the Texas A&M AgriLife
Extension Service reaches into every Texas county, “Extending Knowledge, Providing
Solutions.” Along with other members of The Texas A&M
University System, our challenge is to find real-world solutions for Texans through teaching,
research, service, and Extension education. What is Extension education? It’s an American
innovation to help people prosper and build stronger communities. In 1914, the federal Smith-Lever Act established Extension
education so the nation’s land-grant universities could extend education to the people. Thus
began the national Cooperative Extension Service, a state-by-state network of educators who
extend the benefits of research-based knowledge beyond the laboratory, beyond the test fields and beyond the classroom, into everyday living. Historically, Extension educators have addressed
the issues of the day — starting during the era of an agrarian society. Today we face
five grand challenges of the twenty-first century: Feeding Our World, Protecting Our
Environment, Improving Our Health, Enriching Our Youth, and Growing Our Economy. By advancing agriculture, AgriLife Extension
helps to feed the rapidly growing population in Texas and beyond. Working with Texas A&M
AgriLife Research, Extension specialists and county agents demonstrate and teach proven
practices and technology to help farmers and ranchers improve crop and livestock systems,
reduce risks, and enhance the sustainability of agricultural lands. We expand best practices in horticulture through
our gardening and landscape programs — by teaching Earth-Kind methods, training Texas
Master Gardeners, introducing improved plant varieties, and supporting local growers and
markets. To safeguard our state’s natural resources,
AgriLife Extension conducts conservation and stewardship programs that reduce drought impacts,
reclaim and preserve water quality, minimize wildfire risks, and maximize water supplies.
We help restore damaged lands and protect wildlife habitats. And we promote integrated
practices for pest management in both rural and urban environments. Through nutrition and health education, AgriLife
Extension helps Texans fight obesity and manage chronic diseases, improve meal planning and
food budgeting, and increase food safety at home. We also train certified food handlers
to help protect Texas consumers. To strengthen families, our programs in Family
and Consumer Sciences educate parents and caregivers, train day-care providers, demonstrate
home and child safety, teach money management, and promote fitness for all ages and lifestyles. For generations, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
Service has conducted youth development programs, including Texas 4-H. Across the state, we
offer hands-on learning projects and school enrichment curricula. We give young people
opportunities to learn responsibility and leadership and develop a spirit of service.
And we help them prepare for college and the workforce — crucial steps in today’s economy. Whether preventing or mitigating problems,
improving profitability, reducing costs, or enhancing quality of life, all Extension programs
make an economic impact. For more targeted economic development, we help Texas communities
grow by supporting entrepreneurship, developing leaders, and providing job-related continuing
education. AgriLife Extension achieves this outreach
through a statewide network of professional educators, 250 county offices, and 100,000
trained volunteers. This delivery system provides valuable infrastructure for joint programs
with hundreds of other organizations and government agencies. By engaging with researchers, funding partners,
collaborators, and volunteers, we make the most of our capacity to deliver lifelong learning
opportunities to the people of Texas. Whether we are teaching programs face-to-face, giving
demonstrations, conducting field days, creating Web-based resources, or answering questions
one-on-one, we use our expertise, experience, and land-grant university resources to serve
you. In the twenty-first century, the Texas A&M
AgriLife Extension Service will continue to extend knowledge and provide solutions — for
all Texans. Although we face the challenges of the future as a global society, AgriLife
Extension knows that you, your family, and your community make up that society — and
we will keep reaching out, to you, for a lifetime.