What does a county agent do?

Cooperative Extension System

The pace of innovation in the agriculture-related, health, and human sciences demands that knowledge rapidly reaches the people who depend on it for their livelihoods. The Cooperative Extension System (CES), in partnership with NIFA, is translating research into action: bringing cutting-edge discoveries from research laboratories to those who can put knowledge into practice.

Cooperative Extension System (CES) empowers farmers, ranchers, and communities of all sizes to meet the challenges they face, adapt to changing technology, improve nutrition and food safety, prepare for and respond to emergencies, and protect our environment.

NIFA’s key role

CES is operated through the nation’s Land-Grant University System in partnership with the federal and state and local governments. As the federal partner, NIFA develops methods to address national priorities, funds and awards grants, and provides program leadership. The agency supports both the universities and local CES offices to bring science directly to the regional and county level.

Relying on a proven system

CES is a nationwide, non-credit educational network that addresses public needs by providing non-formal higher education and learning activities to farmers, ranchers, communities, youth, and families throughout the nation. With an organization that has been operating for over a century, CES is well positioned to efficiently get needed tools and knowledge into the hands of the people who need them.

An unprecedented reach

At a time when agricultural, food, and environmental challenges are mounting and needs are growing, CES is more relevant than ever. With its wide reach — an office in or near most of the nation’s approximately 3,000 counties — extension agents help farmers grow crops, homeowners plan and maintain their homes, and youth learn skills to become tomorrow’s leaders.

How it works: translating research into action

University faculty members, who are disciplinary experts, translate science-based research results into language — written, verbal, and electronic — appropriate for targeted audiences. County-based educators work with local citizens and interest groups to solve problems, evaluate the effectiveness of learning tools, and collect grassroots input to prioritize future research. By living and working in communities, county educators are able to rely on existing relationships to respond to local needs, build trust, and engage effectively with citizens.

Website widens extension’s audience

Land-Grant University System faculty and staff experts extend extension’s reach even further by providing science-based content for the eXtension website. The site offers an online resource where users have continual access to research information on a wide range of topics.

External Resources

  • eXtension.org For Extension Professionals and the Public They Serve

Got gardening questions? You can ask the Almanac, but you should also know about your state’s cooperative extension service. They have local experts who provide on-the-ground advice with tricky insect problems, the best varieties to plant in your area, and more! Here’ a list of cooperative extension offices by state.

What is a Cooperative Extension?

In 1914, the U.S. Department of Agriculture partnered with a nationwide network of universities to create a system of “extension” services. The goal of these services was to provide farmers across the country with advice from local experts regarding all things agriculture and farming.

The program was a huge success, and today, there are extension services in all 50 states (though some are not associated with the USDA). Extension services routinely put on community events, hold lectures and courses, and answer gardening and farming questions from locals. Typically, an extension service has a “home base” located at a prominent university in the state, but will often have a series of county offices, too.

Contact your state’s extension service (sometimes called “cooperative extension” services) for advice on anything from combating local pests to choosing plant varieties suitable for your area. Extension services are also the place to turn to to get your garden soil tested (usually for a small fee), enroll in a Master Gardener program, or get your child involved in a 4-H club.

Cooperative Extension Services by State

Although we LOVE to answer your gardening questions here on our website, sometimes the knowledge of a local expert is required! Consult the list below to find the cooperative extension service in your state for free advice.

Note: These website links may change occasionally, so please comment below if you find the link is not working and we will update it. Thank you.

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

What Is An Extension Service: Using Your County Extension Office For Home Garden Information

(Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden)

Universities are popular sites for research and teaching, but they also provide another function – reaching out to help others. How is this accomplished? Their experienced and knowledgeable staff extend their resources to farmers, growers, and home gardeners by offering Cooperative Extension Services. So what is an Extension Service and how does it help with home garden information? Keep reading to learn more.

What is an Extension Service?

With its beginnings in the late 1800s, the Extension system was created to address rural agricultural issues, but it has since changed to adapt to a wider range of needs in both urban and rural areas. These typically cover six major areas:

  • 4-H Youth Development
  • Agriculture
  • Leadership Development
  • Natural Resources
  • Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Community and Economic Development

Regardless of the program, all Extension experts meet public needs at a local level. They provide economically sound and environmentally friendly

approaches and products to anyone who needs them. These programs are available through county and regional Extension offices supported by NIFA (National Institute of Food and Agriculture), the federal partner in the Cooperative Extension System (CES). NIFA appropriates annual funds to state and county offices.

Cooperative Extension Services and Home Garden Information

Each county in the United States has an Extension office that works closely with experts from universities and helps provide information about gardening, agriculture and pest control. Anyone who gardens knows it can present unique challenges, and your local County Extension Office is there to help, providing research-based, home garden information and advice, including information on hardiness zones. They can also help with soil tests, either free of charge or low-cost.

So whether you’re starting a vegetable garden, choosing appropriate plants, needing pest control tips, or seeking information about lawn care, the Cooperative Extension Services experts know their subject matter, resulting in the most credible answers and solutions to all your gardening needs.

How Do I Find My Local Extension Office?

Although the number of local Extension offices has declined over the years, with some county offices consolidating into regional centers, there are still nearly 3,000 of these Extension offices available nationwide. With so many of these offices, you may wonder, “How do I find my local Extension office?”

In most cases, you can find the phone number for your local county Extension office in the government section (often marked with blue pages) of your telephone directory or by visiting the NIFA or CES websites and clicking on the maps. In addition, you can place your zip code into our Extension service search form to find the nearest office in your area.

Co-op Research and Extension Services

Rural Development Cooperative Services

Rural Development’s Cooperative Services Program promotes understanding and use of the cooperatives to market and distribute agricultural products. The Cooperative Services division serves cooperative members, directors, management, educational institutions, organizations, rural residents, and others interested in cooperative-based business.

  • Rural Development Cooperative Services
  • Rural Development Cooperative Grants
  • Cooperative Publications

Cooperative Research

USDA advances knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being, and communities by supporting research programs in the Land-Grant University System and other partner organizations.

  • Cooperative Research Partnerships
  • Federal Assistance
  • Cooperative Agreements and Grant Awards
  • State and National Partners
  • Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) Program
  • CRADA Partnering
  • International Cooperative Research Programs

Cooperative Research Emphasis Areas

USDA manages a broad portfolio of cooperative research programs which cover the scope and breadth of USDA.

  • Agricultural and Food Biosecurity
  • Agricultural Systems
  • Animal and Animal Products
  • Biotechnology and Genomics
  • Economics and Commerce
  • Families, Youth and Communities
  • Food, Nutrition and Health
  • Food and Nutrition Research Program
  • Natural Resources and Environment
  • Pest Management
  • Plants and Plant Products
  • Technology and Engineering

Extension Services

Cooperative Extension Service offices are conveniently located in courthouses, post offices, or other local government buildings to improve the quality of people’s lives by providing research-based knowledge to strengthen the social, economic and environmental well-being of families, communities and agriculture enterprises. Extension experts focus on, among other subjects, food safety and quality, plight of young children, revitalizing rural America, sustainable agriculture, and waste management.

  • Extension Services
  • E-Extension
  • Local Extension Offices

USDA Local Offices

Find USDA Offices Near You

Want to apply for a loan, learn about water conservation, get involved in your community?
The information provided below is to assist you in identifying local USDA offices. This is not an exhaustive list of resources, and we encourage you to notify us of any links that you think should be added by e-mailing us at [email protected]

Descriptive summaries about each of the below listed locator tools is provided in the following section.

  • USDA Service Center Locator
  • USDA Cooperative Extension System Offices
  • USDA FSA State Office Websites
  • NRCS Center Regional Boundaries, State Offices, and Centers
  • USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) Regional Office (RO) State Directory
  • USDA RD Agencies and Office Websites
  • Outreach Directory

USDA Service Center Locator
Find your local office for Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and Rural Development (RD).

USDA Service Centers are designed to be a single location where customers can access the services provided by FSA, NRCS, and RD. This web site will provide the address of a USDA Service Center and other Agency offices serving your area, along with information on how to contact them.
USDA Cooperative Extension System Offices
The Cooperative Extension System is a nationwide, non-credit educational network. Each U.S. state and territory has a state office at its land-grant university and a network of local or regional offices. These offices are staffed by one or more experts who provide useful, practical, and research-based information to agricultural producers, small business owners, youth, consumers, and others in rural areas and communities of all sizes.
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is the federal partner in the Cooperative Extension System. It provides federal funding to the system and, through program leadership, helps the system identify and address current issues and problems.

About USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA)

USDA FSA State Office Websites
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) makes and guarantees loans to family farmers and ranchers to promote, build, and sustain family farms in support of a thriving agricultural economy. FSA maintains its headquarters in Washington, DC, with offices located in each state, usually in a state capital or near a state land-grant university, as well as in most agriculturally productive counties. Farmers may apply for direct loans at local FSA offices. Guaranteed loans may be available from local commercial lenders who apply for loan guarantees from FSA. Although general information may be obtained from headquarters and state offices, all programs are administered through local offices.
The goal of FSA’s farm loan programs is to graduate its borrowers to commercial credit. Once a farmer is able to obtain credit from the commercial lending sector, the Agency’s mission of providing temporary, supervised credit is complete.

About USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

NRCS Center Regional Boundaries, State Offices, Centers
NRCS has expanded to become a conservation leader for all natural resources, ensuring private lands are conserved, restored, and more resilient to environmental challenges, like climate change. NRCS works at the local level– in field offices at USDA Service Centers in nearly every county across the nation. NRCS employees’ understanding of local resource concerns and challenges result in conservation solutions that last.

About USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA)

RMA helps producers manage their business risks through effective, market-based risk management solutions. RMA’s mission is to promote, support, and regulate sound risk management solutions to preserve and strengthen the economic stability of America’s agricultural producers. As part of this mission, RMA operates and manages the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC).

USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) Regional Office (RO) State Directory
ROs are RMA’s eyes in the field, keeping in close contact with local producers, grower groups, universities, and government agencies. ROs provide information on local pilot programs, growing conditions, participating crop reinsurance companies/agents, and events.

About USDA Rural Development (RD)

USDA RD Agencies and Office Websites
RD financial programs support such essential public facilities and services as water and sewer systems, housing, health clinics, emergency service facilities and electric and telephone service. RD promotes economic development by supporting loans to businesses through banks, credit unions and community-managed lending pools. RD offers technical assistance and information to help agricultural producers and cooperatives get started and improve the effectiveness of their operations. RD provides technical assistance to help communities undertake community empowerment programs.
Program assistance is provided in many ways, including direct or guaranteed loans, grants, technical assistance, research and educational materials.

USDA Office of Advocacy and Outreach (OAO)

Outreach DirectoryThe Outreach Directory is a listing of projects funded by a USDA Outreach and Technical Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmer and Rancher (OASDFR) Competitive Grant. Organizations awarded grants offer various types of assistance that improve access to USDA Programs and Services. The directory provides a summary of projects; the geographic region serviced; and the organization’s contact information.

Find your local county extension office with this list of the agricultural extension offices across the US

Looking for Find your local county extension office with this list of the agricultural extension offices across the US in 2020? Scroll down this page and follow the links. And if you bring home some fruit or vegetables and want to can, freeze, make jam, salsa or pickles, see this page for simple, reliable, illustrated canning, freezing or preserving directions. There are plenty of other related resources, click on the resources dropdown above.

If you have questions or feedback, please let me know! There are affiliate links on this page. Read our disclosure policy to learn more.

Are you looking for help with a question about your garden, lawn, finding a farm or anything agricultural? The solution is your local county extension agent from the Cooperative Extension office; and they’re free! To find your local county extension agent’s office, just click on your state on the map below! The Cooperative Extension System is a nationwide, non-credit educational network. Each U.S. state and territory has a state office at its land-grant university and a network of local or regional offices. These offices are staffed by one or more experts who provide useful, practical, and research-based information to agricultural producers, small business owners, youth, consumers, and others in rural areas and communities of all sizes.

On this page, you will also find links to each state’s department of agriculture.

County Extension Office Map

Just click on your state or territory:

U.S. States:

AK | AL | AR | AZ | CA | CO | CT | DE | FL | GA | HI | IA | ID | IL | IN |KS | KY | LA |

MA | MD |ME | MI | MN | MO | MS |MT | NC | ND | NE | NH |NJ | NM | NV | NY | OH |OK |

OR | PA | RI | SC |SD | TN | TX | UT | VA |VT | WA | WI | WV | WY |Washington D.C. |

U.S. Territories:

Puerto Rico |

American Samoa | Guam |

Northern Mariana Islands

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida –
Georgia

Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina

South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

Land Grant University Map

The 100 colleges and universities that comprise the nation’s Land-Grant University System are institutions that have been designated by their state legislature or Congress to receive federal support. Click here, or on the map for a larger more legible version:

Welcome to the home page for the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Cooperative Extension Program in Bexar County. For a snapshot of Extension programs, view our 2018 Annual Report.

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service staff in Bexar County provides a high level of expertise in the following core service areas:

Agriculture and Natural Resources
4-H and Youth Development
Family and Community Health
Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)
Earth-Kind® Horticulture
Insects & Integrated Pest Management

Extension programs educate Texans in the areas of agriculture, environmental stewardship, health and wellness, youth and adult life skills, human capital and leadership, and community economic development and offers the knowledge resources of the land-grant university system to educate Bexar County residents for self-improvement, individual action and community problem solving. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension is a statewide educational agency and a member of the Texas A&M University System (TAMUS), linked in a unique partnership with the nationwide Cooperative Extension System and Texas county governments.

AgriLife Extension values and promotes principles of citizen and community involvement, scientifically-based education, lifelong learning, and volunteerism. It provides access to all citizens and works cooperatively with other TAMUS parts, county departments, and external agencies and organizations to achieve its goals.

During Extension’s centennial celebration of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Director Dr. Doug Steele said, “With our 100th anniversary, we see some grand challenges ahead.” These grand challenges include feeding the world, improving health, protecting the environment, enriching our youth, and growing the economy.

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension provides equal opportunities in its programs and employment to all persons, regardless of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Office Hours :
8:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
(Closed 12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m.)
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Open Monday – Friday, but closed on County Holidays.

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