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N.C. Cooperative Extension celebrates centennial birthday with bash, proclamation

Media Contacts:Dr. Joe Zublena, Cooperative Extension director at N.C. State University, 919-515-2813; and Dr. Fletcher Barber, Cooperative Extension associate administrator at N.C. A&T State University, 336- 334-7956

North Carolina Cooperative Extension has been changing lives for 100 years, and it’s time to celebrate. Extension personnel from throughout the state will converge in Raleigh on May 19 and 20 for festivities that will kick off with a celebratory dinner and culminate with a proclamation by Gov. Pat McCrory. Media are invited to attend both events.

“The impact of North Carolina Cooperative Extension, then and now, is immeasurable,” said Dr. Joe Zublena, Cooperative Extension director at N.C. State University. “We are thrilled to celebrate 100 years of helping improve the lives of our state’s citizens, and we’re excited to charge ahead into the next 100.”

North Carolina’s celebration is one of many taking place throughout the country in 2014.

The May 19 dinner celebration at the Expo Building on the N.C. State Fairgrounds will spotlight North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s past, present and future with multimedia presentations and remarks from the organization’s leadership. County exhibits will be on display, and “Legend Awards” will be given to those whose significant contributions have made Extension what it is today. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the program begins at 6:10 p.m.

On May 20 at 1 p.m., the state will issue a proclamation that celebrates May 20 as Cooperative Extension Day in North Carolina. The proclamation signing will be held at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh.

In 1914 the federal Smith-Lever Act paved the way for a new system of federal, state and county demonstration work, which came to be known as Cooperative Extension. Today, Extension programs in North Carolina are based in all 100 counties and on the Qualla Boundary of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. These programs draw on research-based knowledge from the state’s land-grant universities — North Carolina State University and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University — to provide education to citizens.

“In the last 100 years North Carolina Cooperative Extension has helped farmers overcome pests like the boll weevil and learn ways to increase crop yields,” Zublena said. “Extension helped bring electricity to the state and assisted during times of war and disaster. We also helped families to provide safe, healthy meals and encouraged youth to develop skills that made them better citizens and leaders. This work continues apace today, evolving as the needs of our state’s citizens change and grow.”

S. Stanard