UF/IFAS Extension Timeline

1862
President Abraham Lincoln signs the Morrill Act, establishing the land-grant university system.

In this photo-illustration, Pres. Abraham Lincoln is seen in front of a portion of the Morrill Act. Credit: UF/IFAS.

1884 Florida College of Agriculture, Florida's first land-grant university, established in Lake City.
1887 Hatch Act establishes Agricultural Experiment Stations tied to land-grant universities for the purposes of scientific research.
1887 State Normal College for Colored Students (later Florida A&M) established in Tallahassee.
1890 Second Morrill Act establishes African-American land-grant universities.
1899 First "Farmers Institute" established in Florida to provide demonstrations in modern agricultural techniques.
1902 Seaman Knapp appointed by USDA to help Texas cotton farmers combat boll weevil infestation.
1906
Florida College of Agriculture moved to Gainesville as part of new University of Florida.

Florida College of Agriculture building on the UF campus, circa 1920s. Credit: UF.

1908 Agnes Ellen Harris conducts a canning demonstration in Ocala, eventually leading to the creation of Extension Home Demonstration.
1909
J.J. Vernon, University of Florida Dean of Agriculture, organized the first "corn" clubs for boys (a precursor to 4-H clubs) in Alachua, Bradford and Marion counties.

Teaching youth the science of grafting and budding, circa 1900s. Credit: State Archives of Florida.

1911 "Better Farming Special" train tours Florida, giving demonstrations in modern techniques of farming, livestock and domestic arts.
1912 First "tomato" clubs for girls (a precursor to 4-H clubs) organized in Florida schools.
1914
U.S. Congress passes Smith-Lever Act, establishing national Agricultural Extension Service.

Hoke Smith and Asbury 'Frank' Lever (wearing hat).
Credit: UF/IFAS.

1915 • Florida Legislature accepts the Smith-Lever Act; P.H. Rolfs becomes first director of Extension, as well as Florida Agricultural Experiment Station.
• Segregated Extension work with African-American Floridians begins when more than 1,200 youth enroll in farm and home makers' clubs organized through Florida A&M University.
• Extension agents begin program to inoculate hogs against hog cholera epidemic.
1916 Florida Extension Homemaker Council Established to promote new scientific information through practical demonstrations.
1917 • Agricultural News Service, Florida Extension's first mass media effort, publishes first issue.
• The Citrus Experiment Station, the first permanent branch research station in the state, opens in Lake Alfred.
• U.S. entry into World War I. Extension called on to help increase Florida's food production and preservation.
1919 State Girls' 4-H Council formed.
1921 North Florida Experiment Station Established at Quincy.
1922
• First school lunches in Florida's rural schools organized by extension home demonstration agents in Orange and Osceola counties.
• First Farmers Week established at University of Florida.
• Capper Volstead Act gave legal status to farm co-ops.

Tractors under a tent during Farmers Week in 1931. Credit: State Archives of Florida

1924 • 4-H name and clover emblem patented.
• Everglades Experiment Station established at Belle Glade.
1925 Purnell Act provided funds for economic, social research by ag experiment stations.
1926 Camp Timpoochee becomes the first permanent 4-H camp in Florida.
1927 Extension office opens in Sarasota County, with P.M. Childers as first agriculture agent.
1928 • Capper-Ketcham Act provides for the further development of agricultural extension work at the 1862 land-grant colleges.
• Florida Extension Service begins radio broadcasts.
1929
Great Depression begins. Florida Extension Home Demonstration agents respond by giving courses in canning, clothing repair and selling home-produced products.

Students line up for a hot lunch served by a home demonstration agent with help from 4-H club members in 1928. Credit: 1928 Extension Annual Report.

1934 4-H Camp McQuarrie acquired.
1935 Bankhead-Jones Act adds to annual appropriations for land-grant institutions and Extension programs.
1937 • 4-H Camp Cherry Lake opens in North Florida.
• Range Cattle Experiment Station established at Ona.
1939 Florida Legislature created the School of Forestry at the University of Florida.
1940s Extension service and USDA eradicate cattle tick infestation in Florida.
1940
Extension begins work with USDA's Rural Electrification Administration to bring electrical power to Florida's farms and ranches.

Setting up power lines in Marianna, circa1940. Credit: State Archives of Florida

1943 West Florida Experiment Station established at Jay.
1945 Bankhead-Flanagan Act furthers the development of cooperative extension work in agriculture and home economics.
1948 Indian River Field Laboratory established at Fort Pierce.
1949
4-H Camp Doe Lake in the Ocala National Forest established for African-American 4-H'ers.

Campers gather around cabins at Camp Doe Lake, in this 1950 photograph. Credit: 1950 Report, Florida Agricultural Extension Service.

1950 • Suwannee Valley Experiment Station established at Live Oak.
• 4-H Camp Cloverleaf opens.
1952

WUFT-TV studio in Gainesville, 1956. Credit: Smathers Archives.

First Extension-produced television show airs on Jacksonville's WMBR-TV (now WJXT).
1952 4-H grows to 1,294 clubs in Florida, reaching 110,113 youth.
1953 Smith-Lever Act Amendment simplified and consolidated 10 laws relating to Extension. Established new funding procedures based on rural/urban population formula and amounts.
1955 • Florida 4-H club established with Seminole Tribe in South Florida.
• Smith-Lever Amendment authorizes work with disadvantaged farms and farm families and funds for Extension outside the traditional funding "formula."
1958 Extension Plant Disease Clinic established to diagnose diseases of crops, ornamentals and trees, and to suggest control measures.
1959 Screwworm eradicated in Florida with help from Extension.
1961 Food Science Extension Program initiated, offering short courses on food additives, water quality, and flavor chemistry research.
1964 Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) established as the unifying umbrella for UF's agriculture, forestry and related programs.

• Civil Rights Act outlaws most forms of discrimination by race, religion and gender.
• State Extension Home Demonstration offices move from Tallahassee to Gainesville.
• 4-H becomes co-educational.
1965 Florida Extension programs racially integrated.
1966 • African-American youth attend the statewide 4-H club conference for the first time.
• 4-H begins transition out of school-based programs into volunteer-led community project clubs.
• Sea Grant established through the National Sea Grant College and Program Act.
1968 Special Help for Agricultural Research and Education (SHARE) Council established to raise funds for agricultural research and education.
1969 USDA and Extension initiates Florida's Expanded Food Education Program (EFNEP) to educate limited-income families on diet and nutritional issues.
1970 • Florida declared free of hog cholera.
• Florida Agricultural Extension Service changes its name to Florida Cooperative Extension Service in order to reflect the expansion of Extension's mission.
• State Extension Management and Information System computerizes Extension reporting for the first time.
1971

Florida Sea Grant agent Douglas Gregory tags a Florida lobster in the West Sambos Ecological Reserve in Monroe County. Credit: UF/IFAS, Thomas Wright

Florida Sea Grant established as a joint effort between the National Sea Grant College and Florida Cooperative Extension Service.
1973 Florida 4-H Foundation chartered.
1975 • Extension Indian work merged with other Extension work.
• Names of all experiment stations and field labs changes to agricultural research and education centers (RECs).
1979 Extension's Florida Master Gardener Program established to offer intense home horticulture training to individuals who then volunteer in their communities.
1984 Over 10,400 adult and teen volunteers work with 84,000 Florida 4-H youth.
1987 Florida Lakewatch, a volunteer program to monitor water quality, takes first water sample.
1990 Farm Bill authorizes the Extension Indian Reservation Program.
1994 • National Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching Act confers land-grant status on 29 Native American colleges.
• Agricultural Reorganization Act establishes the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) to coordinate USDA and state cooperative agricultural research, extension, and education programs.
1995

The Family Nutrition Program (FNP) is the Florida component of the USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed). Credit: UF/IFAS.

• Family Nutrition Program (FNP) established for food stamp recipients in 35 Florida counties.
• Extension's first comprehensive website, the Florida Agricultural Information Retrieval System (FAIRS) goes online.
1998 • Florida Automated Weather Network (FAWN) established to collect and share weather data with Florida's growers.
• The Extension Data Information Source (EDIS) established as the online source for UF/IFAS Extension's research-based, up-to-date educational resources.
1998 Fishing For Success, a program that uses fishing and other activities to introduce children to aquatic environmental sciences, begins at UF/IFAS' School of Forest Resources and Conservation.
2003 Distance Diagnostic Information System (DDIS) enables homeowners and commercial growers to treat plant and insect problems over the internet.
2004 "Family Album Radio" program debuts, covering such topics as nutrition, family relationships and communication.
2005 • Extension's Program for Resource Efficient Communities established, begins work with developers on sustainable community planning in Harmony.
• 4-H's Operation: Military Kids partners with U.S. Armed Forces to help families adjust to military deployment.
2006 "Gardening in a Minute," a UF/IFAS Extension radio series, begins broadcast.
2008
Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ program established to help Floridians create beautiful, sustainable landscapes using native plants that need little irrigation.

This home in Sarasota's Gran Paradiso neighborhood features Florida-Friendly™ landscaping. Credit: UF/IFAS.

2009 On its 100th anniversary, Florida 4-H membership reaches 234,000 youth, with help from 10,000 volunteers.
2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in Gulf of Mexico; Florida Sea Grant and UF/IFAS Extension mobilize to test safety of gulf's seafood.
2014
UF/IFAS Extension celebrates 100th anniversary!

UF/IFAS Dean for Extension Nick Place (center) helps to cut the cake at the anniversary celebration. Credit: UF/IFAS.