Local Celebration Provides Opportunity to Share Stories and Say Thank You

Attendees viewing displays

Lincoln County Cooperative Extension held a reception to celebrate Extension’s 100th Anniversary on Tuesday, October 16, 2012.  The celebration provided an opportunity for those in attendance to share Extension stories as well as an opportunity for us to thank those in attendance for their support of Extension educational programs.  Later that evening, the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors adopted Resolution 2012-10-45– A Resolution Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Cooperative Extension, a division of the University of Wisconsin-Extension.

“Our centennial creates opportunities for us to celebrate 100 years of Cooperative Extension history through stories that highlight how we’ve evolved and changed to meet the needs of people, businesses and communities in Wisconsin and beyond,” said Cooperative Extension Dean and Director Richard M. Klemme. “Our past serves as the foundation for our current work. Throughout 2012, we will explain and demonstrate how the work we do today positively influences the future of Wisconsin.”

The Lincoln County staff would like to extend a thank you to all of our current and past volunteers, partners, program participants and Extension committee members for their support of our educational programs.  This recognition of Extension’s 100th Anniversary, is all of our celebration.  We look forward to working with you in the future to meet the educational needs of individuals, families, businesses, organizations and communities.

With an office in each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties and on three Native American reservations, Cooperative Extension develops practical educational programs tailored to local needs and based on university knowledge and research. Cooperative Extension delivers expertise to the public, addressing a wide range of needs, in both urban and rural areas of the states.

History of Cooperative Extension:

Cooperative Extension’s first agent, E.L. Luther, hired in 1912 in Oneida County, made farm visits using a two-cylinder motorbike. One hundred years later, both modes of transportation and Cooperative Extension programming have changed, but one important point remains the same.  

Cooperative Extension educators continue to serve as a portal to educational resources from the University of Wisconsin to address issues faced by individuals, families, businesses and communities around the state.

In 1911, the Wisconsin legislature provided funds for counties to jointly employ with the University of Wisconsin College of Agriculture “an agriculturist who is an agent of a restricted area, a county or a part of one.” The Oneida County Board was the first county to send three of their members to Madison, asking the University for this service, with expenses to be shared on a 50/50 basis. Luther was hired in February 1912, and two additional agents were hired that same year, one in Eau Claire County and the other in Barron County.   The first Extension Agent in Lincoln County, A.H. Cole, began as the Agricultural agent in 1914.

In 1912, Luther provided agricultural information about livestock, winter feed, soils and legumes. Today, Cooperative Extension is home to four program areas offering local information in person and online, providing research-based information 24/7.  Local Cooperative Extension offices also connect communities with University of Wisconsin campuses, where Cooperative Extension faculty and staff provide research-based information about the issues facing the people of Wisconsin.

Lincoln County Staff* have included:

Agriculture Educator: A.H. Cole, G.A. Sell, Verlen Hillesheim, Kenneth Wedin, Robert Sumnicht, Bob Kaiser, Tom Cadwallader, and current Dan Marzu

Community Development Educator: Erv Leverance, Tom Geiger, and current Art Lersch

Family Living Educator: Ruth Chambers, Mary Hamilton, Margaret Koenig, Irene Halverson, Myrtle Henrickson, Beverly Peterson, Elaine Buch, Susan Futterer, Jan Lewis, Brenda Janke, Bonnie Rudie, and current Interim Amanda Kostman

4-H Youth Development Educator: George Schneider, Tom Geiger, Mary Beth Lange, Diane Klinger, John Arendt, Anne Anderson (Fischer), Cindy Sanford, Arlen Albrecht, and current Debbie Moellendorf (Buettner)

4-H Youth Development Program Advisor: Amber Rehberg, Angie Cornell, and current Amanda Kostman

F & H Agent: Robert Kinney

Farm Labor Agent: William Steckling, Earl Wright

Support Staff: Nancy Hayes, Joy Heideman, Mary Curtis (Shrock), Bonnie Huth, Roxie Hoffman, Deloris Schiller, Joyce Procknow, Charlene Woller, Diane Belter, Mary Marthaler,  Pam Schotz, Val Nicholson, Rebecca Kludy and current Beryl Vandre Emerich and Jeni Blaubach

Wisconsin Nutrition Education Program: Pam Cira, Mary Rattman, Jackie Carattini, Toni Rogers, Brenda Herrell, Karen Thell, Deb Warren and current Tammy Hansen

 (* We apologize if we have missed anyone.  Please let us know any errors so we can correct them.)

More information about the Cooperative Extension 2012 Centennial, including historical photos and timeline, is available online at http://100.ces.uwex.edu.