The Smith-Lever Act, signed on May 8, 1914, established the Cooperative Extension Service, the nationwide education system operating through land-grant universities in partnership with federal, state, and local governments. Our foundational goal has remained the same—to deliver education that changes lives. But our subject matter and our methods have changed as the needs of Mississippians have changed. Our mission in Extension is to deliver research-proven information to Mississippians in all 82 counties, and we do that by taking advantage of both face-to-face meetings and all the tools that today’s technology offers.
Our nation and state have come a long way since 1914. We lived through boll weevil invasions, the Depression, and two world wars. Each one might have crippled the state, but Extension agents and faculty were always there to help see their clients through these challenges and others. For example, Mississippi’s cotton farms are 100-percent boll-weevil-free today, due in a large part to Extension’s working with the farmers themselves, who did what it took to eliminate cotton’s historic number one pest.
We can point to similar stories in other commodities, where both simple and complex changes enabled growers to be more successful. Home demonstration clubs in the early years of Extension improved nutrition and living conditions for rural families and continue today in a variety of family and consumer science activities addressing topics such as nutrition, health, financial literacy, volunteer programs, and home-based businesses.
The Extension Service has evolved into a vibrant organization equipping citizens for living in the 21st century. Along with our many state and local partners, we celebrate our past while maintaining a focus on the bright future ahead. An expanded knowledge base; innovations for families, farmers, and government leaders; leadership training through 4-H youth development programs; and community and economic development opportunities are just part of Extension’s forward-thinking mindset.
Mississippi State University Extension Service is also a cooperating partner with Alcorn State University, the 1890 land-grant institution in Mississippi.
The Mississippi State University Extension Service provides research-based information, educational programs, and technology transfer focused on issues and needs of the people of Mississippi, enabling them to make informed decisions about their economic, social, and cultural well-being.
The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 established the Cooperative Extension System, a publicly funded, informal educational system that links the United States Department of Agriculture, the land-grant university system, and individual counties. As the off-campus educational arm of Mississippi State University, Extension provides current research and educational information to individuals in all 82 counties. Mississippi State University Extension Service is also a cooperating partner with Alcorn State University, the 1890 land-grant institution in Mississippi.
Agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer education, enterprise and community resource development, and 4-H youth development are Extension’s ongoing priorities, or “base programs.” From these base programs, specific subjects or efforts emerge to receive emphasis for a period of time.
Vision and Beliefs
Extension’s overall purpose is education - education that will empower people to make intelligent decisions relating to their vocations, their families, and their environment. Extension’s unique interdisciplinary perspective enables the organization to make a real difference in the lives of Mississippians.
Mississippi State University Extension Service is, and will continue to be, a leader for positive change for individuals, families, and communities through the following ways: by providing research and education in a practical and applicable way; by using the latest technology and teaching techniques to serve clients; by developing and using volunteers to help disseminate programs and information; by cooperating with other groups and agencies; and by maintaining a culturally diverse staff responsive to the needs of various audiences at all socioeconomic levels.
We believe that agriculture and its related enterprises are of major economic importance in Mississippi, and we will direct programs and resources to reflect this importance. We also believe that quality of life is affected by the reciprocal relationship between people and their environment and will continue to emphasize environmental issues. We recognize the critical need for human resource development and will continue to search for ways to help families and young people to cope with an everchanging society.
To fulfill our mission and to achieve our vision for the future, Mississippi State University Extension Service must meet the following goals:
- Focus on quality services and programs that are client driven.
- Instill a future-oriented perspective in staff members, advisors, partners, and clients.
- Be responsive to new or different needs by maintaining flexibility in programming efforts.
- Develop a level of alternative resources to allow for adjustments to changing demands or critical needs.
- Expand efforts to help clients compete in a global economy.
- Foster an environment that will enable staff members and volunteers achieve their full potential.
- Project a positive image that will broaden public understanding of Extension's mission, goals, programs, and accomplishments.
Like sea levels, expenses related to flooding in communities and businesses along the Gulf Coast are rising.
One student spent last summer investigating ways to mitigate these costs while enhancing approaches to shoreline protection during her time in the Mississippi State University Extension Undergraduate Apprenticeship program. The program is targeted toward high-achieving undergraduates from across the country to give them firsthand experiences in research and extension to understand how research can be applied.
POPLARVILLE, Miss. — The Mississippi State University Extension Service in Pearl River County has a new temporary location after the building housing its office sustained irreparable damage from an overnight fire.
Located at 204 South Julia Street in Poplarville behind the county courthouse, the facility is scheduled to be operational by April 16. The main office number, 601-403-2280, is still active for clients in need of assistance. MSU Extension operations in Pearl River County will take place at this location indefinitely.
The Mississippi State University Extension Service is launching a new Extension Center for 4-H Youth Development to grow the next generation of leaders. This name change leverages current funding and restructuring of existing positions to allow for greater support and service to Mississippi’s young people. 4-H provides nonformal youth development education across the state for 8- to 18-year-olds through programs delivered locally by Extension agents and registered 4-H adult volunteers.
Longtime Mississippi State University Extension Service administrator and MSU Extension professor Paula Threadgill announced her retirement effective Dec. 31, 2020.
Staggers encourages individuals, businesses to support Extension
Contributing to the Mississippi State University Extension Service just got a little easier. William “Will” Staggers joined the MSU Foundation in December 2015 as an assistant director of development. He works to attract additional support for Extension’s research-based educational programs, facilities, professional development, and other needs.
Mississippi Shines as Spotlight State at Sunbelt Ag Expo
The MSU Extension Service, along with Alcorn State University, the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, and the Mississippi Farm Bureau, hosted the Spotlight State building at the Sunbelt Ag Expo, North America’s premier farm show, in October 2015.
Mississippi Small Businesses Receive Extension Support
When federal and state lending programs specifically geared toward small businesses were announced as part of the government’s response to natural disasters and COVID-19, Mississippi State University Extension Service personnel went into action to distribute information to Mississippi Main Street’s businesses, organizations, and farmers markets.
See what's new in Extension: Gather for First Extension Beef-Production Workshop, the Food Factor Goes Digital, Extension Professionals Share Expertise, and Extension Offers New HappyHealthy Program.
See what's new in Extension: a new monarch garden, a storytelling series will begin, the Garden Expo highlights Extension education, and Keep America Beautiful recognizes MSU Extension.