- Author: Ryan Krason
Long before people began virtual farming in Farmville, real farmers were raising crops and livestock in California with the help of UC Cooperative Extension advisors. Today California produces about 400 agricultural commodities with an annual value of about $44 billion.
This year, the University of California is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Cooperative Extension. Part of the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, UC Cooperative Extension is made up of advisors, staff and specialists who, like their counterparts in other states nationwide, bring university knowledge to farmers and families to enhance their health, their business and the environment.
“For the past century, UC Cooperative Extension specialists and advisors have been educating Californians in their communities, at their places of work, and even sometimes at their own homes,” said Barbara Allen-Diaz, UC vice president for Agriculture and Natural Resources. “UC Cooperative Extension's network of researchers and educators continue to work with Californians to address local issues and use science to solve problems.”
It was on May 8, 1914, that President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the Smith-Lever Act, which created Cooperative Extension to help farmers, homemakers and youth apply the latest university research to improve their lives.
At first geared toward rural areas, Cooperative Extension soon became integral to urban and suburban communities as well. California's population has grown from 2.5 million people to 38 million since UC Cooperative Extension began. As California has changed, UC Cooperative Extension has continued to work with residents in their own communities to help them adapt and grow.
San Diego county has 6,687 farms, more than any other county in the United States. 68% of those are between 1-9 acres and though the median size farm is just 4 acres, our county's farmers rank number one in both California and the nation in the production value of nursery, floriculture and avocados.