Fall means many things, but for Cooperative Extension professionals across the southern region, it’s a time to gather and share resources, build partnerships, and address emerging issues affecting communities as a cohesive unit.

Members of the Southern Region Program Leadership Network, Association of Extension Administrators, and the Association of Southern Region Extension Directors convened for an opportunity for land-grant institutions in the region to advance their missions of fostering and strengthening Extension education programming. The structure of the organization allows multi-institutional communication within and among disciplinary and functional lines.  

Cooperative Extension empowers producers, ranchers, and communities of all sizes to meet the challenges they face, adapt to changing technology, improve nutrition and food safety, prepare for and respond to emergencies, and protect the environment. Extension educators and specialists change lives in the communities they serve.

Virginia Cooperative Extension was established in 1914 and is a partnership between Virginia’s two land grant universities: Virginia Tech and Virginia State University. Today, Extension operates out of 107 local offices, 11 Agricultural Research and Extension Centers, and six 4-H centers across the state.

Throughout the commonwealth, Virginia Cooperative Extension works in communities to share knowledge, support businesses, and implement research that advances the well-being of all Virginians.

Since 1989, the purpose has been to promote multistate cooperation by identifying and addressing emerging issues. Extension professionals serve in eight key areas: agriculture and natural resources, community development, family and consumer sciences, 4-H youth development, communications, information technology, middle management, and program and staff development. Committees meet regularly throughout the year to complete multiple plans of work goals.

Accomplishments from the collaborative effort include a 2022 Southern Region Teen Leadership Conference in Crossville, Tennessee; data collection from a disaster loss assessment survey; community resiliency webinars related to climate change; and communications curricula for institutional trainings.

A land-grant university is an institution that provides research-based programs and resources for residents of its state and has been designated by its state legislature or Congress to receive the benefits of the Morrill Acts of 1862, 1890, and 1994. There is one land-grant institution in every state and territory of the United States as well as the District of Columbia. Some states have more than one land-grant institution because of the second Morrill Act, and some western and plains states have several because of 1994 land-grant tribal colleges. Virginia Tech, founded in 1872, is Virginia’s 1862 land-grant institution and Virginia State University, founded in 1882, is Virginia’s 1890 land-grant institution.

For Extension programs and resources, visit Virginia Cooperative Extension’s website.

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