University of Nevada Cooperative Extension

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University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE, Extension, Cooperative Extension) is the educational-outreach college of the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). It employs more than 200 Extension personnel in 20 offices, covering every county throughout the state of Nevada. Cooperative Extension works statewide to bring University-quality education to the citizens of Nevada. UNCE educates and serves Nevadans through instructive programs, public presentations, workshops, demonstrations, publications, local media, interactive video broadcasts and the Internet.[1]


University of Nevada Cooperative Extension provides non-degree, educational programs spanning seven emphases.

4-H Youth Development[edit]

With more than 7 million members nationwide, 4-H is the largest out-of-school youth organization in the United States. More than 50,000 young people engage in 4-H programs across Nevada. The program promotes life-skills development for youth ages 5 to 19 with 4-H Afterschool programs, community projects, military programs, school enrichment, special-interest groups, camping and more.[2]


Cooperative Extension has worked with Nevada’s agricultural community since 1914. Since then, Extension personnel have helped farmers transition from horse-drawn equipment to motorized tractors. Today, Extension programs have expanded to include containment of noxious weeds, food-safety concerns, testing of alternative crops and resolution of public land disputes.[3]

Children, Youth and Families[edit]

With help from teachers, educational professionals, teen mentors and volunteers, UNCE provides programs for school-aged youth in classrooms, 4-H clubs and other afterschool settings. Extension offers nutritional education, parenting programs, job-skill education and encourages local community involvement. Extension offers classes for seniors as well – to reach Nevadans throughout their entire lifespan.[4]

Community Development[edit]

Nevada rural communities face pressures of business retention and expansion, tourism development, job migration and diversification of income sources. Extension personnel provide local communities with university resources to address economic and developmental problems. Cooperative Extension partners with UNR’s Center for Economic Development and Small Business Development Center to address economic expansion, small business development and water allocation issues.[5]

Health and Nutrition[edit]

Cooperative Extension nutritionists encourage good diet, exercise and weight management among children and adults. Extension personnel aim to prevent disease and lower hospital costs in order to lower state health costs.[6]


Extension horticulture programs teach homeowners and industry professionals to irrigate wisely, save water and adopt environmentally friendly landscape techniques. Cooperative Extension provides a Master Gardener program which trains volunteers statewide. The volunteers learn advanced plant science skills through at least 50 hours of classroom instruction. After completing the training, they contribute a minimum of 50 hours a year to educate others on a wide variety of the advanced gardening practices. There are more than 500 trained Master Gardeners in Nevada.[7]

Natural Resources[edit]

Nevada has a limited water supply and a growing population. Cooperative Extension water specialists collaborate with policy makers, agencies, industry managers and homeowners in an effort to save water, protect its quality, find new sources and enhance the health of Nevada’s lakes and rivers. Extension also works to protect rangelands and homes from wildfires and floods.[8]


Cooperative Extension and UNR joined other land-grant universities following the Smith-Lever Act in 1914 with the goal to make education available and affordable to all Nevadans.

Norma Davis was hired in 1914 as the first Nevada Cooperative Extension employee. She officially inaugurated Nevada’s first 4-H clubs. The first agriculture agent, Joe Wilson in Lyon County, began a long tradition of working relationships with local farm bureaus.

During the ensuing World Wars, Cooperative Extension agents were active in promoting food production and conservation. During the Great Depression, Claude "Mud" Townsend educated clients in saloons. He also bought shoes and clothing for children out of his own pocket.

In 1938, the University purchased a permanent 4-H campsite at Lake Tahoe; a joint project between Cooperative Extension, 4-H leaders, farm bureaus and county commissioners. A year later, the first Nevada Junior Livestock Show was held in Reno. In later years, 4-H membership jumped, particularly on Indian reservations. Nevada's alfalfa variety testing and animal vaccines became renowned nationwide.

In 1945, the College of Agriculture, Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension united under one dean and director, Cecil Creel, bringing Cooperative Extension closer to its research base. It remained united under a succession of long-serving leaders, such as Dale Bohmont and Bernard Jones, until 1993, when Cooperative Extension was given its own status as a university college. In 1998, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension received a separate dean's position, and Karen Hinton was named dean and director. Using research from all colleges, UNCE now serves a variety of constituents.[9]


  1. ^ "What is University of Nevada Cooperative Extension?". Retrieved August 4, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Nevada 4-H Youth Development". Retrieved August 4, 2010. 
  3. ^ "UNCE Agriculture Programs". Retrieved August 4, 2010. 
  4. ^ "UNCE Children, Youth and Families Programs". Retrieved August 4, 2010. 
  5. ^ "UNCE Community Development Programs". Retrieved August 4, 2010. 
  6. ^ "UNCE Health and Nutrition Programs". Retrieved August 4, 2010. 
  7. ^ "UNCE Horticulture Programs". Retrieved August 4, 2010. 
  8. ^ "UNCE Natural Resources Programs". Retrieved August 4, 2010. 
  9. ^ "History of UNCE". Retrieved August 4, 2010.