Historical Markers StoppingPoints.com Historical Markers, Sightseeing & Points of Interest Scenic Roads & Points of Interest
About Us | Photo Gallery | Free Widgets | Featured States | Search Site
Home North Carolina Iredell County City of Statesville Historical Markers Agricultural Extension Service

Agricultural Extension Service

US 70, Statesville, NC, USA

Latitude & Longitude: 35° 46' 20.4888", -80° 53' 42.2736"
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"First N.C. cotton & corn demonstration supervised by a county agent held here on a farm of J. F. Eagle, 1907-1908."
     In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Land-Grant College Act providing grants of public land to each state, paving the way for institutions of higher learning dedicated to providing educational opportunities for the industrial classes, particularly in agriculture and the mechanical arts. As the land-grant colleges developed, their agricultural research programs were expanded and farmers looked to them for help on agricultural problems. To meet the demand, various types of extension work were undertaken such as farmers' institutes, corn schools, and agricultural trains.

     By the turn of the century, the boll weevil had become a big problem for cotton crops. In 1903, at a meeting of businessmen and farmers in Texas, Dr. Seaman A. Knapp proposed the establishment of a demonstration farm (under the direction of the U. S. Department of Agriculture) to help fight the boll weevil. Knapp’s demonstration and others were successful, and farm demonstration work spread from Texas into other southern states.

     In the fall of 1907, C. R. Hudson was sent to start the work in North Carolina. He set up shop in Statesville and arranged to begin work in seven other counties in 1907 and 1908—Catawba, Lincoln, Gaston, Mecklenburg, Union, Cabarrus, and Rowan. James A. Butler was appointed the first county agent in North Carolina in 1907. He arranged with J. F. Eagle and other farmers around Statesville to undertake demonstrations on more effective ways of growing cotton and corn. In 1908 or 1909, Hudson organized boys' corn clubs in Iredell. Girls' club work started in 1911 when clubs were established to encourage the production, sale, and canning of tomatoes.

     The demonstration of approved farm practice by farmers on their own farms, under the technical guidance of trained agriculturists, was an effective method of getting people to adopt approved practices. A similar technique encouraged women to adopt improved practices in the home. In May 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Smith-Lever Act into law. The legislation allowed extension agents to provide instruction and practical demonstrations in agriculture and home economics to persons not attending college. During World War II, the Extension Service was given key positions in the “Food and Feed For Family Living'' campaign, as a part of the national defense program. After the war several campaigns that later added tremendously to the state's farm income were started: increased livestock and poultry production, greener pastures, and increased corn yields.

     New programs emerged in the 1950s, including community and rural areas development. By the 1960s, people living in rural North Carolina were the primary audience for the Extension Service’s educational efforts—but programs began to help with the transition from rural to urban areas. Today the service continues through the North Carolina Cooperative Extension based at North Carolina State University in Raleigh.

Dr. I. O. Schaub, Agricultural Extension Work: A Brief History, North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service (1953)
North Carolina Cooperative Extension: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/
Agricultural Extension Service Historical Marker Location Map, Statesville, North Carolina