‘New face in town’ offers lesson on Extension history

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Rumor has it there is a new girl in town.

I hear she is young, but energetic.  People tell me she is a third-generation agriculture agent, who attended school at the University of Kentucky and is a genuine people person. 

Furthermore, I hear she’s working with the 4-H program as well. The talk is that she is honored to be in Carroll County, and eager to do all she can to assist its residents.

Rumor has it right – my name is Christin Herbst, and I am your new Cooperative Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources/4-H youth development.

The Extension service, and the vital role it plays in the community, is not a new concept to me. Coming from an Extension family, I have experienced firsthand what the Extension service can do and the people it can help.  Understandably, there are those in the community who are not familiar with the Extension service.

For my first news article, let us settle in for a brief history lesson. …

In the 1860s, a Vermont congressman named Justin Morrill sought to increase educational opportunities for the farming community in the United States. The Morrill Act of 1862 established land-grant colleges. The act authorized the federal government to provide each state with 30,000 acres of federal land per representative in Congress.

With this land, public colleges were to be built for the purpose of instruction in agricultural science and engineering.  Kentucky received 330,000 acres in Lexington and, in 1865, the Agriculture and Mechanical College of Kentucky University was founded. This college would later be collectively known as the University of Kentucky.

The Second Morrill Act of 1890 ensured equal educational opportunities to all Americans, regardless of race. Thus, Kentucky State University became the state’s second land-grant institution, and one of the 105 historically black colleges and universities in America.

The Hatch Act of 1887 allowed land-grant colleges to develop agriculture experiment stations.  These stations were created to conduct research in agricultural sciences, with the goal to improve existing management techniques and overall production.

With a solid education center in place, and research in motion to improve farming methods, a “bridge” was needed to relay information and research findings of the college to the residents of the state.

The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 created one such bridge by establishing Cooperative Extension Services. The Extension services focused on educating people in agriculture, home economics and, later, 4-H. With this final act, the three branches of the land-grant system were in place: teaching, research and outreach.

The UK Cooperative Extension Service has offices in each of Kentucky’s 120 counties, and collaborates on a regular basis with Kentucky State University.

Most counties have at least three agents:  agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, and 4-H and youth development. Larger counties also employ horticulture and fine-arts agents.

Please do not think farmers and homemakers are the only ones benefiting from Extension. We support all residents. 

Our network of resources from UK and KSU are far-reaching in topics, and readily available at our fingertips.

I encourage all citizens of Carroll County to stop by the Extension office, and get to know your Extension agents. Ask us your questions. Our job is to serve you in any way we can.

Class dismissed.

Oh, and go meet that new ag agent. I have, and she seems like an all-around good gal.

Upcoming dates of interest

The new 2011 County Agricultural Investment Program (CAIP or Phase I) applications are now available at the Extension Office.

Applications must be returned to the Extension office by 4:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14. For more information, call (502) 732-7030.


Christin Herbst is the Carroll County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources. Call her at (502) 732-7030 or send e-mail to Christin.Herbst@uky.edu.