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What is Cooperative Extension?

Cooperative Extension, as a nationwide organization, got its start in 1914 when the US Congress authorized Cooperative Extension in each state. It was at this time that each state began to identify a land grant university to administer Cooperative Extension. In California, our land grant university is the University of California Davis. The San Luis Obispo Office provides programming in agriculture, natural resources, nutrition, and consumer science, as well as youth development through our 4-H programs. Click on our brochure, Putting Knowledge to Work , to view the descriptions of our local programs.

What's in a Name?

When it comes to understanding Cooperative Extension, the name says it all. The word Cooperative is in our name because our funding is from "cooperative sources." The University of California (UC), San Luis Obispo County, and the USDA are the three main funding sources for our program. Yearly, each of these partners provides support for CE programming in San Luis Obispo County. Typically, a partner provides funding for specific components: The University of California serves as the lead partner and administers the program statewide. Advisors are UC employees who are headquartered in the County. Other typical support from the UC includes funding for program and curriculum development such as the -Glassywinged Sharpshooter research and educational program, Rangeland Water Quality Shortcourse and the training curriculum, Children and Weight-What Health Professionals Can Do. We also offer bilingual educational resources like the Food Guide Pyramid with a Mexican Flavor/Pirámide del dia con el sabor popular mexicano curriculum, and the Glassey-Winged Sharpshooter/Chicharrita de Alas Cristalinas brochure. Three UC campuses--Berkeley, Davis, and Riverside--support CE. Each of these campuses employs Specialists who serve as the link between the UC research staff and County CE Advisors.

San Luis Obispo County provides for local administrative resources. Typical contributions from the County include office facilities, clerical support, transportation, and office supplies. Our San Luis Obispo Office is housed in a county facility at 2156 Sierra Way #C, San Luis Obispo. It is through the County contributions that CE programs are extended locally.

USDA is the federal parent organization for Cooperative Extension. Contributions from the USDA typically include funding to land grant institutions to assist in program development at the state level. Other contributions include federal postage, program oversight, and targeted grants. The funding for our Food Stamp Nutrition Education Programs originates with the USDA and is provided to Cooperative Extension through the California Department of Social Services. Federal funds also support our Rangeland Quality Shortcourse and our Irrigated Agriculture Water Quality Shortcourse.

Grants & Gifts compliment the support provided by our three partners. Targeted at specific local needs, grants and gifts offer us opportunities to extend our services to more San Luis Obispo County residents. Our SLO Scientists youth program are sponsored by gifts and grants. Our new Power of Play and The Lunch Box programs are underway as a result of local Prop. 10 funding from the Children and Families Commission of San Luis Obispo County. Grants and Gifts also support long term Rangeland and Water Studies, as well as varietial trials including longans lychees, and edible soybeans (edamame). The other part of our name, Extension, indicates what we do. We extend research-based information from the University of California, other universities, and federal agencies, as well as our own local applied research. Our programs are extended in San Luis Obispo County in a variety of ways, aiming to reach diverse audiences. We deliver programs in our communities by conducting educational programs such as workshops, field days, and professional in-service training. Additionally, we develop written educational resources, including curricula, publications, news releases, and newsletters. The goal of all of our extension efforts is to help people solve their problems using knowledge.