In the past century, the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service has impacted millions of Kentuckians. This year state extension personnel will celebrate a century of accomplishments and look toward ways the outreach arm of land-grant universities can improve Kentuckians’ lives for the next 100 years.

“To make this next 100 years as successful as the first 100 have been, we need to be continually asking ourselves why we’re doing what we’re doing,” said Jimmy Henning, PhD, director of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. “What we do can and should vary based on the differences in our communities and their needs, but the ‘why’ should always focus on leveraging the knowledge and the research at the university to improve the lives of Kentuckians.”

Over the years, UK Cooperative Extension agents and specialists have implemented countless meaningful, educational programs and grassroots efforts. Such programs and efforts have given young people the self-confidence to speak in front of their peers, provided nutrition advice to young mothers, supplied information to help Kentucky farmers become better stewards of the land, and helped in many other ways. Each year, extension personnel make over 7 million contacts across the state through their programs, events, initiatives, and efforts.

On May 8, the Cooperative Extension System will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Smith-Lever Act, which established the service. A national convocation will be held that day at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. Kentucky State 4-H president Paige Hart, of Caldwell County, will car