Cooperative Extension System

CCE is part of the nationwide Cooperative Extension system of educational programs that are funded by federal, state and county governments. The U. S. Department of Agriculture is the federal partner while land grant universities are state partners. The passage of two laws by the U. S. Congress made this nationwide system possible. The Morrill Act passed in 1862 established the land grant universities and the Smith-Lever Act in 1914 funded the federal portion of Cooperative Extension.

In New York State, Cornell is the land-grant institution charged with responsibility for extension programs around the state. The name Cornell Cooperative Extension reflects this history and partnership:

Cornell – the land-grant university for New York State.
Cooperative – cooperation among the land-grant institutions, USDA and New York county governments.
Extension – the extending of Land-Grant university resources into communities, enabling all citizens to put research-based knowledge to work in their daily lives.

County governments throughout New York State provide substantial funding for Cornell Cooperative Extension programs conducted within their boundaries. County Cooperative Extension Associations, governed by elected Boards of Directors, provide local input to the program development process and monitor expenditures to ensure that these funds are used to effectively meet the needs of county residents. The county name is added to the Cornell Cooperative Extension title to identify these local Associations.

Empowered by this unique organizational structure, Cornell Cooperative Extension engages citizens and community leaders in processes that identify the educational needs of local people, design programs that support lifelong learning and initiate actions that improve communities. This process of linking research-based knowledge with local citizen participation is summarized in the CCE mission statement.