On July 24, 1911, Oregon Agricultural College's Board of Regents organized the Oregon Extension Service in response to requests from citizens of Oregon for assistance (particularly in agriculture) from the college. In May of 1914, nearly three years after Oregon had established its Extension Service, President Woodrow Wilson signed the federal Smith-Lever law, which provided federal money for the establishment of extension services in all states for developing off-campus programs, primarily in agriculture and home economics. The first home extension agents were hired in August 1917 to do wartime emergency work; several of the agents were retained by counties after World War I. By 1937, all counties had at least one county extension agent. During the Extension Service's first forty years, it concentrated on three traditional programmatic areas -- agriculture, home economics, and 4-H.
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