Extension - The third arm of the land grant system was provided by the Smith-Lever Act in 1914. This Act
established the Cooperative Extension Service and
specified that the service would be associated with a
land grant college. The University of Florida in Gainesville is
Florida's land-grant university. The transfer of
knowledge from UF to people throughout the
state is facilitated by "Extension" faculty
located in each of Florida's 67 counties. This
partnership between counties and the university
is the heart of the "Cooperative" Extension
Service mission and enables the university to
extend its knowledge base to each community.
Orange County entered into this educational partnership
earlier than most counties by acquiring it's first
County Agent on February 23, 1914. A Home Demonstration
Agent (Home Economics) was added to staff in 1914 and the
Agriculture Agent (Animal Industries) was added in 1938.
Over the next 56 years, six different County Agents served
Orange County as the population grew from 20,000 to over
Other agents were added and staff grew as population
projections indicated greater needs of educational programs.
Another Home Economics Agent was added in 1956, a
Horticulture Agent in 1959, a 4-H Coordinator in 1968, a
Commerical Horticulture Agent in 1966 and an Urban Horticulture
Agent in 1966.
The mission of extending and implementing research-based
information to the people of Orange County has not changed,
however the information and delivery methods have enormously
improved. The driving force for these information delivery
methods are the needs of citizens in the county. County extension
faculty develop educational programs based on issues such as
sustainable agriculture, competitiveness in world markets,
natural resource conservation, energy conservation, food safety,
child and family development, consumer credit counseling, and
youth development. These priority issues form the basis for major educational programs that are conducted.