By Eric Barrett
OSU Ext. educator
What is OSU Extension?
Sometimes when I’m out and about, I get just that question.
Most people associate 4-H with Extension work.
You probably think of horticulture or gardening based on reading the Valley Grows page each week.
That’s a great place to start, but it’s only part of what Extension does.
We support agriculture, Ohio’s No. 1 industry, through educational programs on everything from fruits and vegetables to beef cattle.
But that’s just the beginning.
OSU Extension is the outreach branch of The Ohio State University. It was started in 1914 with the passing of the Smith-Lever act in Congress. It was first created to extend the agriculture and mechanical knowledge of the land grant universities to each and every citizen in the rural communities of each state.
Today, we basically do the same thing — but adapted to the changes in agriculture and society.
Extension is a partnership among county commissioners, the state Legislature and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for us to help all of you.
These groups work together to provide the service throughout Ohio and in your county.
Faculty members on campus in Columbus and at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster do research and find ways to solve problems. Some current research projects range from improved nutrient management in farm fields to the threats related to Asian Carp in the great lakes, and countless projects relating to green energy.
They, in turn, get that information to us and we educate the public through newsletters, classes, farm visits and much more.
We even do research projects at the county level throughout Ohio.
Through the 20th century, Extension grew into the areas of 4-H, family and consumer sciences and community development. Each of the educators in these areas does the same type of outreach to youths, families and the community as I do in agriculture and horticulture.
Programs in areas other than agriculture include CarTeens — a class taught by our 4-H youths to help other youths develop better driving habits, and food safety courses for food service workers and food business managers, just to name a couple.
We also teach nutrition, helping residents learn how to make healthier, safer and lower-cost food choices for themselves and their families.
Further, we have traditional 4-H clubs that offer special projects from livestock to rocketry.
OSU Extension is your connection to the trusted resources of The Ohio State University. We offer practical information on issues of home, family, farm, business and community and well-being that improve your everyday life.
For a list of our upcoming programs, see go.osu.edu/MahoningCalendar or to find a specific program or expert from across Ohio, see extension.osu.edu.