Section 1: The National Cooperative Extension System

National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

Extension is a unique partnership established by Congress in 1914. It is a national educational network designed to meet the need for research, knowledge and educational programs that enable people to makepractical decisions.

This publicly funded, non-formal collaborative educational network combines the expertise and resources of federal, state, and local governments. It includes the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the 106 land-grant universities(in every state and territory) and more than 3,000 county/city offices.

Through the local/county and state offices, staff provide research-based information, non-formal educational programs and technical advice directly to individuals, families and communities that enable them to be self-reliant and improve their lives. Historically, these efforts have been described in various ways -as major projects, programs, areas, or core programs.

Some current major programs include:

  • Agriculture
  • Community Resource and Economic Development
  • Family Development and Resource Management
  • 4-H Youth Development
  • Leadership and Volunteer Development
  • Natural Resources and Environmental Management
  • Nutrition, Diet and Health

In addition, Extension provides leadership in areas of critical concern for the people of the United States. These programs bring the resources of Cooperative Extension together to provide information, research, education and assistance to families and communities. Such critical issues have included Managing Change in Agriculture; Food Safety and Quality; Workforce Preparation; Healthy People, Healthy Communities; and Child Care.

National 4-H Headquarters

The 4-H Youth Development Unit of Extension/4-H Headquarters provides administrative and youth educational leadership to the Extension System by:

1.Addressing current issues in youth development education;2.Strengthening 4-H content in priority subject areas; 3.Enhancing management of the 4-H volunteer system;4.Supporting experiential education;5.Implementing renewal of the 4-H organization; and6.Improving accessibility to 4-H through affirmative action efforts.

Responsibilities of the Federal Cooperative Extension Staff

  • Use of the 4-H Name and Emblem
  • Overall Policies Relating to 4-H Youth Development
    • 4-H Program Quality and Accountability
    • 4-H Access, Equity, and Opportunity
    • 4-H Learning
    • 4-H Professional and Volunteer Development
    • 4-H and PYD Partnerships

The National 4-H Council

National 4-H Council Mission

To advance the 4-H youth development movement to build a world in which youth and adults learn, grow and work together as catalysts for positive change.

About Council

National 4-H Council is the national, private sector non-profit partner of 4-H and the Cooperative Extension System. National 4-H Council manages the National 4-H Conference Center, a full-service conference facility in Chevy Chase, Md., and the National 4-H Supply Service, the authorized agent for items bearing the 4-H name and emblem. National 4-H Council partners with 4-H at all levels -national, state and local -providing training and support, curriculum development, fostering innovative programming, and facilitating meetings and connections within the 4-H partnership.

Council is governed by its own Board of Trustees,made up ofyouth, representatives from 4-H/Extension/land-grant universities, corporate executives and other private citizens from a wide array of backgrounds.

National 4-H Council enhances the development and education of youth by acquiring and administering resources used primarily in 4-H youth programs.

Responsibilities of the National 4-H Council

  • Communications and marketing at national level.
  • Resource development for parents (programs, awards, youth events), alumni and professionals (curriculum, marketing, professional development, common measures). Individual and corporate giving. Donor and volunteer relationships.
  • National 4-H Center. Operation and management of the Center including Citizenship Washington Focus, National 4-H Conference and others.
  • Public Affairs. Liaison with national association, federal agencies and interest groups
  • National 4-H Mall, warehouse and shipping management.