Commonwealth Journal

Local News

April 30, 2014

Extension Service will be celebrating 100th anniversary

Somerset —

The Pulaski County Cooperative Extension Service on May 8 will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Extension services, triggered by passage in 1914 of the Smith-Lever Act. 
The Act provided funding for outreach endeavors at land-grant universities to expand vocational, agricultural, and home demonstration programs in rural America. Land grant universities in Kentucky are the University of Kentucky and Kentucky State University.
“We want all our clientele and people with whom we work to join us at the Extension office between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on May 8,” said Richard Whitis, agricultural Extension agent for Pulaski County. “We’ll have cake and punch for everybody.”
“So many people don’t know what we do,” said staff assistant Mary McAdoo. The planned celebration on May 8 will be educational, showing slides of work and services performed by the Extension Service.
Exact date that Pulaski County Cooperative Extension Service was formed is lost in antiquity. However, the late Hugh Hurst, called the “Baron of Agriculture” who came here as Extension agent in 1944, said at the time Pulaski County was known as the “burial ground for county agents.” In other words, an agent didn’t last very long.
“There were two paved roads -- U.S. 27 and Ky. 80 -- in 660 square miles. The job of county agent was a road-weary assignment,” said Hurst.
Hurst took the county agent’s job for $1,600 a year. During 34 years as county agent, he assuaged growers’ fears when Southern Corn Leaf Blight threatened the county’s agricultural economy. He comforted farmers when dreaded blue mold paled and crinkled burley leaves. He convinced farmers that alfalfa was a high-energy feed and the alfalfa weevil could be controlled. He supervised the Green Pastures Program with Ky. 31 fescue.
Hurst persuaded many dairy farmers to build silos, drastically enabling them to increase the number of cattle. If a farmer couldn’t afford an upright silo, Hurst showed him how to construct a less-expensive bunker silo. 

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