LOGAN – On May 8, 1914 the Cooperative Extension Service was created with the signing of the Smith-Lever Act to help provide the public with research from its land-grant universities, such as Utah State University. On Extension’s 100-year anniversary, another important signing took place when a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed in Washington, D.C. that helped define the mission of Extension and the other two key partners involved in 4-H programming. USU-Extension helped play a key role in the MOU.
The MOU was signed by representatives from Cooperative Extension, USDA – National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the National 4-H Council. Former Associate Vice President for USU-Extension Charles Gay, who was also chair of the committee that created the memorandum, said that there were differences in how the organizations were working together, but that each partner now knows its responsibilities because of the MOU.
“Now it’s in black and white what each entity is intended to do to move 4-H programming forward to provide more opportunity for young people,” he said, adding that it will help prevent “crossed purposes” between the organizations.
Gay said when he became chair he attended a committee meeting where it was discovered that there was an MOU between USDA and the National 4-H Council on how they would operate together, but that the land-grant universities were not involved. Gay said changing that became his immediate goal.
“It left the land-grant universities, who were actually responsible to provide the programming, out of the loop,” he said. “This is really serious when your national partner has a sort-of back-door agreement with the entity that’s responsible for raising big money and the people that’s responsible to actually provide that programming is not included. We felt like this is a fairly serious breach.”
According to a press release from USU-Extension, representatives from each land-grant university were in attendance at the ceremonies.
“Nobody knew exactly how they should operate with the other two partners to provide this programming and so that’s what the committee that I chaired did,” Gay said. “We developed the draft document. It was a year’s worth of work. It was passed unanimously and accepted.”