University of Vermont

Cultivating Healthy Communities

UVM Extension: Then and Now

  • 1913

    Extension started as an organization to serve Vermonters outside the University community.

    We continue to build partnerships between academic, business, non-profit, government and community leaders to bring the benefits of research-based education to our citizens.

  • 4-H Youth Outreach

    Life skills education has been a focus for 100 years. Early programs were sewing and cooking for girls, and livestock for boys.

    Youth now engage in traditional activities as well as science, technology, natural resources and leadership.

  • Water Quality

    Farmer education on manure storage and use has given way to focus on implementing agronomic practices to maximize farm profitability while protecting water quality.

  • Tax and Finances

    Early on, Extension agents helped farmers fill out income tax forms. In the 1960's, Extension started using ELFAC (Electronic Farm Accounting System).

    Today's farmers are using smartphones and apps to manage their records on the go.

  • World War II

    Had huge effects on rural Vermont. Extension developed food conservation, clothing and household equipment programs.

    Since 1969, EFNEP (Expanded Food & Nutrition Education Program) has helped improve nutrition knowledge for low-resource families.

  • Pest Management

    Some of the earliest work on IPM (integrated pest management) began with UVM Extension's apple program.

    Today, IPM helps producers grow cold-climate grapes for the expanding commercial wine production market.

  • Across the Fence

    Began in 1955 and is the longest-running daily farm-and-home television program in the country.

    Produced right here in Vermont for over 50 years, it continues to address the needs and interests of Vermonters.

100 Years of UVM Extension (1913 - 2013)

UVM Extension started on February 15, 1913, when the Vermont Legislature passed an act that appropriated funds "solely for the work in agricultural extension." Since that day, UVM Extension has been helping individuals and communities put research-based knowledge to work.

In the early days, much of our work was helping farmers increase their crop yields and productivity through the use of fertilizers and machinery, and building 4-H youth education programs. Today, Extension is educating low-income families how to prepare nutritious meals on a limited budget, teaching youth life skills through 4-H, providing marketing and business planning services to farmers, and working with producers, distributors and retailers to promote a local foods system.

Much has changed over the years but one thing has not: our commitment to working with the people in Vermont to strengthen families, communities, and our working landscape.

Find out more about our history and Centennial in the media and publications and listen to stories of some of the men and women of Extension.

In 2014, we celebrate the Smith-Lever Act, which established the Cooperative Extension Service, a unique educational partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the nation's land-grant universities that extends research-based knowledge through a state-by-state network of extension educators.

For 100 years, the Smith-Lever Act has stimulated innovative research and vital educational programs for youth and adults through progressive information delivery systems that improved lives and shaped a nation. Join us as we celebrate 100 years of extending knowledge and changing lives.

Last modified May 08 2014 10:28 AM