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The Benefits of the Cooperative Extension

A go-to for many of your gardening questions should be your state Cooperative Extension service. In 2014, the Land-Grant University Systems celebrated a century of their service in the United States.

The earliest version of the Cooperative Extension (not called that yet) started shortly after the American Revolution with the “American Farmer” journal recruiting information from farmers to keep track of their problem-solving methods in their farmlands. It was in 1914 that Congress formalized the USDA’s partnership with the land-grant universities to apply research and provide education about agricultural practices.

During the Great Depression, the Extension services were key factors in America’s health and well-being by outreach and education about good nutrition, home economics, and skills needed in households and homesteads. Where is the Cooperative Extension service nowadays? The land-grant universities maintain Extension offices in nearly each of the 3,000 counties in the US, according to the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture website.

My local Extension service was able to identify this pest I spied on a late winter walk. I suspected what it was, from descriptions I have read and info from conferences I have attended, but somehow I wanted a person to tell me. . .Hemlock Wooly Adelgid. Not only did I get the name, but I got a lot of information about where it has been reported in my county and state and some suggested remedies. The life cycle of HWA was interesting to read about, and learning a lot about what our local recent weather does for it’s life cycle helped me understand a lot about this “famous” invasive and well-established pest.

You will find many courses, webinars, conferences and YouTube Live videos along with podcasts and InfoLine sources for specific answers to your garden questions through your Cooperative Extension area of your land-grant university. Everything from learning your USDA Hardiness Zone to help with identifying a pest in your garden is available through the UNH Cooperative Extension. Check it out, wherever you live!

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