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Smith-Lever Act

Dr. Dwayne Cox, Auburn University

Correlates to Alabama Course of Study: Social Studies 11th Grade Content Standard 2, p. 75
Correlates to Graduation Exam Eligible Content Standard V, Objective 2

In 1914 the federal government passed the Smith-Lever Act, which created a network of county farm agents based in the nation's land-grant colleges. These individuals brought the benefits of the latest agricultural practices directly to America's farm families. In Alabama, the Alabama Polytechnic Institute (later Auburn University) administered the state's extension service. A separate black branch based at Tuskegee Institute reported to the white state director in Auburn. Later, county home demonstration agents were added to the extension service corps. Agricultural demands created by World War I strengthened the extension service. So did the appearance in 1920 of a state branch of the American Farm Bureau, a private organization devoted to cooperative purchasing, cooperative marketing, and promoting the political interests of agriculture.

For more information see: Dwayne Cox, "Alabama Farm Agents, 1914-1922," Alabama Review 47 (October 1994): 285-304.