Banner Image. One Hundred Years of Extension
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Agricultural Extension Today

The agricultural diversity which was a challenge to Oregon a century ago has become one of its greatest assets.  Today, Oregon produces more than 220 agricultural commodities.  Currently, over 80 percent of the total agricultural products are marketed out of state, reaching markets as far away as Asia and Europe.  The 39,000 farms currently in operation are as diverse as the crops they grow.  Even today, family farming remains a strong part of the state’s agricultural industry, with over 90 percent of Oregon’s farms owned by individuals, families, or partnerships.  Sixty-two percent of the farms that make up Oregon’s 17 million acres of agricultural land are less than 50 acres in size. 

Extension Agent, 1993
An Extension agent collecting grass samples from a pasture in Lane County, 1993.

To help meet the needs of the state’s wide ranging crops, growing conditions, and farming styles, Extension draws on the expertise of its agents to help continue their mission of bringing the latest in agricultural techniques from the experiment station to the field.  The equivalent of 90 full time faculty members work out of the 36 county offices, 11 research and extension centers, and 11 academic departments on OSU’s campus.   Many in Oregon, from gardeners and small farms, to commercial and industrial agricultural interests, food processors, and marketers continue to receive guidance from extension agents.  

Dillard Gates, Extension Range Specialist, 1965
Dillard Gates, Extension Range Specialist, inspects Sherman Big Blue Grass, Gilliam County, 1956.
Cliff Conrad with Champion Herd, 1931
Cliff Conrad of Imbler, Oregon (Union County) with champion cattle herd at the Pacific International Livestock Exposition in Portland, 1931.