Extension services have been around since President Abraham Lincoln signed laws setting up land grant colleges and the extension services.

Extension services have been around since President Abraham Lincoln signed laws setting up land grant colleges and the extension services.
The objective was to share, with all the people, the information and research gathered at colleges and universities. Some people classified this as “Putting Ivory Tower knowledge in the hands of the people.”
At that time, most Americans were involved with agriculture. Extension services still concentrate on agriculture with soil sampling, hay and manure testing, the popular 4-H programs and Master Gardener programs.
On Friday, Feb. 2, Mike Coffey, of the Newton County Extension office, explained to the Neosho Lions the new goals that have been set by the extension service. No one 150 years ago realized that today’s world would have computers and the internet, putting knowledge at one’s fingertips.
The Internet can give instant information on almost any topic. So the putting out of information, which was the basis of extension, has been replaced by modern computers.
Although the extension office will still answer questions and disperse information, its overall objective is to help prepare people for today’s changing world.
 For a period of time, the pursuit of a college degree was the ultimate goal of all high school graduates. But now, one of extension’s major objectives is to make young people aware of the many vocations available. Today, there are demands for many blue collar workers. There will always be a need for plumbers, carpenters, electricians and skilled laborers, especially those who can understand and control computerized machines.
One program Coffey talked about was “Annie’s Project.” This is a group of seminars set up for women who want to farm.
The topic of “farm to table” is of interest to many people today. What is happening to our foods is important and several extension offers programs on this subject.
Small businesses are always popping up. Nearly 80% of all new businesses do not succeed. Extension will help new businesses overcome some of their startup problems.
While extension will still have many programs they have always had, they will become more of a more guiding and aiding organization and less a distributer of information.
If you have questions about agriculture, health, business or almost anything else, call 417-455-9500. People there are equipped to dispense the knowledge of the great universities to all people. They are also there to help guide people on whatever project they chose to try.