The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service functions as an education agency with a statewide network of professional educators, trained volunteers, and county offices, with a community-based education model that has remained unchanged for almost a century. It operates in every Texas county, seeking to address local priority needs like mitigating drought impacts, conserving water use or improving emergency management. There’s also a strong component related to food security and healthy lifestyles through education about diet, exercise, and disease awareness.
By doing so, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service seeks to teach Texans how to eat well, stay healthy, and manage money, as well as how to prevent problems and use tools for economic stability and to improve stewardship of the environment.
The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service was established in 1914 after the passing of the Smith-Lever Act and in cooperation with Texas A&M University. The designation “Texas AgriLife Extension Service” was adopted on January 1, 2008 — before that, it was called the Texas Cooperative Extension and Texas Agricultural Extension Service, its original name.
People at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
The AgriLife Extension Service headquarters are located at the Texas A&M University campus in College Station. It is the largest extension service in the U.S. and it has its own curriculum, to then teach through the state via a network composed by more than 600 county extension agents (located in 250 of the 254 Texan counties) and approximately 350 extension specialists.
All those agents and specialists rely on the help of 150,000 volunteers, so that together they can educate the public through classes, publications, web sites, television series, and other channels. Every year, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension programs reach more than fifteen million Texans.
Administration & Faculty:
- J. Michael Gould – Center Director
- Hurley Miller – District Extension Administrator
- Susan Ballabina – Associate Director
- Ronald C. Woolley – AGNR Regional Program Learder, East Region
- Joan Jacobsen – Urban Program Manager
- Blake Bennett – Assistant Professor and Extension Economist-Management
- Derrick Bruton – 4-H and Youth Development Specialist
- Ambika Chandra – Assistant Professor, Turfgrass Breeding & Molecular Genetics
- Steve George – Professor and Extension Horticulturist
- Fouad Jaber – Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in Integrated Water Resources Management
- Ellen Jordan – Professor and Extension Dairy Specialist
- Allen Knutson – Professor and Extension Entomologist
- Mike Merchant – Professor and Extension Urban Entomologist
- Xinwang Wang – Assistant Professor, Ornamental Plant Development
- Qingyi Yu – Assistant Professor – Plant Genomics and Molecular Biology
- Paul Rushton – Associate Profesor – Plant Physiology and Biochemistry
For a complete list of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Program staff, click here.
The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension service is available to every resident in every Texas county, with custom-designed programs for different areas of the state. The many educational programs, activities, and resources provided by AgriLife Extension are generally organized around four board program areas: Agriculture and Natural Resources, Family and Consumer Sciences, 4-H and Youth Development, and Community Economic Development.
The Agriculture and Natural Resources program relies on specialists associated with many academic departments of Texas A&M University. Specialists and other personnel are located across the state, outside Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service headquarters, in order to work directly with Texas citizens. Agriculture and Natural Resources program allows specialists to collaborate with teachers, researchers, and other partners to bring the benefits of scientific knowledge into everyday practice.
The Family and Consumer Sciences program offers practical information for families on subjects like raising children, housing and environment, eating well, managing money, and staying healthy. The primary program is Texas 4-H, which annually engages 600,000 youngsters in learning projects, leadership development, and community service.
The main objective for the Community and Economic Development program is to cultivate individual abilities and community support for creating and growing businesses, jobs, wealth and income. To achieve that, the program provides educational workshops and technical assistance to communities throughout Texas.