Michigan State University Extension helps people improve their lives through an educational process that applies knowledge to critical needs, issues and opportunities.
In 1912, the Michigan Legislature authorized county boards of supervisors to appropriate funds and levy taxes to further teaching and demonstrations in Extension work.
In 1914, Congress passed the Smith-Lever Act, which created the Cooperative Extension System and it directed the nation's land-grant universities to oversee its work.
With the passage of the Smith-Lever Act, the first statewide home economics and 4-H youth Extension workers were appointed; county home economics agents were appointed beginning in 1915. In the early years of Extension, "demonstration agents" showed or demonstrated new farming or homemaking techniques. Today, Extension Educators use a wide variety of information systems to deliver educational information from interactive video, computer data bases, decision-making software, bulletins and research reports, community forums, and one-on-one and group instruction. Extension Educators work through other community groups and statewide agencies and enlist thousands of volunteers to extend education to the people of Michigan.