What is Extension?
Michigan State University (MSU) Extension helps people improve their lives by bringing the vast knowledge resources of MSU directly to individuals, communities and businesses. For more than 100 years, MSU Extension has helped grow Michigan’s economy by equipping Michigan residents with the information that they need to do their jobs better, raise healthy and safe families, build their communities and empower our children to dream of a successful future.
Everyone belongs here, from staff to program participants. That’s why MSU Extension is committed to fostering a welcoming and inclusive organization that recognizes and celebrates every one of us. Please visit our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion page to learn more about our vision for a more inclusive and equitable world.
What We Do
With a presence in every Michigan county, Extension faculty and staff members provide tools to live and work better. From a personal meeting to information online, MSU Extension educators work every day to provide the most current information when people need it to ensure success – in the workplace, at home and in the community.
Whether it’s helping grow Michigan’s agriculture economy, capturing opportunities that use our natural resources in a sustainable way, controlling health care costs by giving individuals the information they need to manage chronic illness or preparing tomorrow’s leaders, MSU Extension is creating opportunities and building communities that make Michigan strong, prosperous and a great place to live.
The Legislative Report contains stories on the latest developments in MSU Extension and MSU AgBioResearch, including scientific research, key programs, community outreach and how each organization has had a positive impact on Michigan residents.
Michigan Extension work began before the organization was officially organized. The Michigan State College's (now MSU) first livestock field agent was hired in 1907. In 1912, the Michigan Legislature authorized county boards of supervisors to appropriate funds and levy taxes to further teaching and demonstrations in Extension work. Eleven agricultural agents were named that year. In 1914, Congress passed the Smith-Lever Act, which created the Cooperative Extension System and 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 agents use a wide variety of information systems to deliver educational information.
Michigan State University Extension helps people improve their lives through an educational process that applies knowledge to critical issues, needs and opportunities.