inform - eXtension

inform - eXtension


“To have this great resource

created by eXtension is

phenomenal. The technology is

working GREAT and the research

and information are invaluable.”

- Nancy Hirshberg, Stonyfield Farm




America’s Research-based

Learning Network

America’s Research-based

Learning Network

An Initiative of the National Cooperative

Extension System and the eXtension Foundation


For 150 years, Public Land Grant Universities, some of our nation’s oldest and most trusted

education and research institutions, have been defining – and redefining – what it means to

be relevant and innovative. Signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln, the Morrill Act

of 1862 established federal funding for what would become the foundation for a national

system of Public Land Grant Universities and Colleges that today includes 75 institutions

in the United States and its territories. In1887, the Hatch Act created a network of Agricultural

Experiment Stations (AES) closely aligned with the Land Grant Universities in each

state. The creation of this early network of educational institutions, and the added impact

of the research to be conducted at the AES, brought higher education and the vast advances

resulting from unbiased, peer-reviewed research, to millions of Americans - a development

that reshaped the nation’s social and economic fabric. Congress formalized Cooperative

Extension in 1914 with the Smith-Lever Act. It mandated that the federal government,

through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), provide each state with grants based

upon a population-related formula. This was the first step in making peer-reviewed, research-based

information available to all citizens who might benefit.

Today, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), an agency of the USDA,

distributes these grants annually. The national Cooperative Extension System operates in

partnership with NIFA and the 75 Land Grant Universities located in every state and territory,

including 17 historically black institutions. The mission of the national Cooperative

Extension System is to enable people to improve their lives and communities through

learning partnerships that put knowledge to work. Cooperative Extension provides practical

education to help rural, urban and suburban people, businesses and communities solve

problems, develop skills and build a better future.

“I really do believe that the work being done (by eXtension)

is the most significant work since the creation of the landgrant

system itself, and absolutely critical to its future.”

William Nelson, President, CHS Foundation

“A Google search provided an answer but I needed someone with

authority and experience to corroborate/validate that answer so I

could do my calculations.” – eXtension Online Feedback

eXtension is a collection of high-value programs and

services capable of meeting a variety of individual and

institutional needs.”

Jimmy C. Henning, President, eXtension Foundation

“Wow, I have been into horses my entire life

and this is the first video I have ever watched

that was easy to understand and follow. Great

video!” – HorseQuest Online Feedback

“Excellent videos. Cheers from Australia.”

– HorseQuest Online Feedback

“These few neck reining videos were the most

amazing things I could have come across.”

– HorseQuest Online Feedback

(Cover photo of corn technician used with permission from Research Triangle Park)


America’s Research-based Learning Network TM

eXtension (pronounced E-extension) is a vital part of the national Cooperative Extension System

(Cooperative Extension), a nationwide, non-credit educational network. Cooperative Extension

has offices in every state and United States territory, located at Land Grant Universities. Our

nation’s Land Grant Universities are some of the oldest and most trusted education and research

institutions. The Cooperative Extension network also includes more than 3,000 local or regional


Cooperative Extension recognized that, as the

world changed because of technology, the sharing

of information was no longer limited by traditional

boundaries. In 2003, a team from Cooperative

Extension collaborated with Accenture, a global

management consulting, technology service and outsourcing company, to create a way to take

advantage of the ever-increasing availability of the Internet. The result: eXtension – America’s

Research-based Learning Network.

eXtension allows subject-matter (called content when provided online) experts to work with their

peers across the country to make innovative online educational information available and to

interact with people who are seeking solutions to problems and answers to questions. In this way,

Cooperative Extension recognizes and serves all Americans, including the newest generation of

customers – the tech-savvy generation – as they increasingly demand around-the-clock access to

online resources.

eXtension partners with faculty, educators and researchers across all of Cooperative Extension

to do the work of bringing the information, knowledge and problem solving of this vast network

to the public via the Internet. As an integral part of Cooperative Extension, eXtension has ready

access to research-based information and knowledge from the brightest Land Grant University

minds, using the most innovative and advanced Internet technology and applications, to improve

the lives of Americans by solving real-life problems in real time.

Through eXtension, the national Cooperative Extension System has become an even more vital,

responsive and viable entity, combining the power of its people with today’s technology. The

information provided by eXtension is considered the best of the best.

eXtension is supported by the eXtension Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization.

The eXtension Foundation invites you to learn

more about this transformative educational

initiative and how you can help it reach its

full potential.

eXtension is about discoverability and research. It helps

people solve problems by putting research-based information

to practical use. With the eXtension

network, what was an open door to learning is now

an open road.”

Dan Cotton, Executive Director, eXtension Foundation

Photo by Edwin Remsberg


eXtension – America’s Research-based Learning Network – is using the Internet to teach, inform

and inspire a large and diverse audience. According to the Pew Research Internet and American

Life Project:

● 79% of all American adults now use the Internet.

● 68% are actively searching for information.

● 65% use social networking sites including MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn, up from 61%

one year ago.

● 65% of the general public believe new Internet technologies make people more efficient.

Today, nearly half of all American adults (47%) get at least some news and information on their

cellphone or tablet computer and the information they seek on these mobile platforms is both

practical and real time. Over the last five years, time spent online has grown 121% (Source:

Forrester Research). And these numbers continue to grow.

eXtension uses a variety of technologies, including social media and online learning, to

provide the public with research and information on a broad array of topics and current issues.

These issues include agriculture and natural resources, energy, community development and

entrepreneurship, family finances, health and nutrition, family care giving, gardening, disaster

management, diversity and many, many more.

eXtension is a vast network of expertise available to consumers at any time, from any Internetready

device. It provides the national Cooperative Extension System the ability to touch almost

every aspect of people’s lives, regardless of where they live or work.



The eXtension network provides research-based answers and interaction with experts from

throughout the land-grant university system. The network builds virtual Communities of

Practice, or CoPs, that promote collaboration among peers, creating improved efficiency across

the land-grant system, offering the public unprecedented access to a diverse selection of online

content of the highest standard.

Drawing on the popularity of online social networking, eXtension provides a framework where

individuals interested in a specific topic or subject area can form a virtual Community of Interest.

As that Community of Interest grows,

professional educators and researchers

with expertise in that topic or subject

area join together to form an eXtension

Community of Practice. Information

is collected, further developed and,

ultimately, undergoes peer review.

Once launched, or published, the

content is available to anyone, allowing

a CoP to interact with, and serve, the


Consumers now have 24/7 access to information that


Credible expertise

Reliable and objective answers based upon sound research

Connections to the best minds in American universities

Creative solutions to today’s complex challenges

Customized answers to users’ specific needs

Trustworthy, field-tested data

Dynamic, relevant and timely answers

Communities of Practice are multiinstitutional,

multi-state and multi-disciplinary, providing the best of the best educational and

research-based resources. eXtension experts answer knowledge-seekers’ questions and offer

opportunities for consumers to interact with each other to increase their knowledge in a particular

field. Today, more than 50 CoPs – a virtual powerhouse of online information and expertise – are

available to the public. An additional 17 are under development and the demand for this kind of

online assistance and information continues to increase.

“I’ve consulted the financial management articles as I was thinking about

retirement and attempting to get our financial house in order. I have found

the articles helpful and they guided me......” – eXtension Online Feedback

“With environmental issues becoming more critical to large livestock producers,

having a resource like this is very valuable.” – eXtension Online Feedback


eXtension is a network where university researchers, faculty and staff collaborate to produce

new educational and information resources on diverse topics, from blueberries to financial crisis

management to horses to human nutrition and more. Products offered include articles, news,

events, learning lessons, webinars and user interaction via social media such as blogs, Facebook,

YouTube and Twitter. Users also have access to a huge frequently-asked-questions (FAQs)

database, giving them the ability to submit questions, and get answers, from university experts

using the Ask an Expert application.

Through Ask an Expert, questions are answered at no cost to the consumer. Questions may

be accompanied by uploaded images to better communicate a condition or situation. Answers

are provided within a few hours by Cooperative Extension agents, staff and professionals located

around the country.

How should I invest during a recession?

Ignore daily market “noise” and focus on the long term. Every day, a different headline

causes some financial analysts to interpret the news as a good sign for the stock

market, while others interpret it as bad news. Take charge of your finances by controlling

what you can (e.g., selecting investments with low expenses) and by keeping

up with, and even increasing, your saving and investing. It is often tempting to say,

“I might as well spend my money since investments are paying so little.” But what

you end up with is a bunch of stuff that has no opportunity for compound returns

when the market and interest rates revive…The longer you invest and the higher the

interest rate earned, the more compound interest will grow your money. In addition,

investments are less volatile when their returns are averaged out over time. For

additional information, read the eXtension “Investing for Your Future” home study

course at

How much water should a 1-month-old baby drink per day?

According to pediatricians, your baby will get all the hydration he needs from breast

milk or formula, even in hot weather, during the first six months of his life. Typically

pediatricians do not encourage giving a baby under six months of age water because

too much water can interfere with a baby’s ability to absorb the nutrients in breast

milk or formula. Offering baby water can cause him to feel full, which may curb

his appetite so he doesn’t want to eat his regular serving of breast milk or formula.

While small sips of water probably won’t hurt your baby, it is always best to check

with your child’s doctor before offering water during those first six months.

Photo by Edwin Remsberg


eXtension continues to grow steadily in activity since its launch.

Today, statistics point to its success:

● 20 million+ page views

● 10 million+ visits to

● 85% of the traffic is from the public

● 65+ CoPs have been published or are in development

● 4,500 active Community of Practice participants

● 2,400+ Ask an Expert questions answered monthly

● 50,000 published pages of content

● 2,200 participants use professional development

● 400+ online courses

And eXtension continues to expand its reach using Facebook, Twitter, flickr and YouTube.

eXtension – America’s Research-based Learning Network – recognizes the opportunity for

extending its reach on the world stage. Currently more than 20% of eXtension visitors come

from outside the United States. eXtension is involved in a number of on-going discussions with

organizations involving significant global and international partnerships including:

● United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

● International Sorghum and Millet Collaborative Research Support Program


● United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development – Learning Center

● Peace Corps

● Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI)

● Asia-Pacific Economic Consortium (APEC)

Photo by Edwin Remsberg

Photo used with permission from

Research Triangle Park


The national Cooperative Extension System has always provided practical education to help

people, businesses and communities solve problems, develop skills and build a better future. Now

eXtension is truly extending the reach of Cooperative Extension,

“I got a reply that, although not

what I wanted to hear, I trusted.”

eXtension Online Feedback

as it serves as a trusted agent of change in our communities, the

nation and the world.

In a recent study conducted in the United States and its

territories, 71% to 84% of respondents indicated Cooperative

Extension programs, addressing the following key areas of need, were important and relevant in

today’s world:

Teaching people how to better manage finances

Helping youth develop leadership skills

Teaching parenting and family communication skills

Educating the public on protecting the environment

Teaching people how to live healthier lives

Teaching business owners the skills needed to succeed

Respondents overwhelmingly said that Cooperative Extension is:

● An organization you can trust 89%

● A trustworthy source 88%

● Provides information you can trust 87%

(Source: Copernicus Marketing and Research)

To build upon this legacy of relevance and trust, eXtension has implemented a Strategic Plan to

serve as a roadmap for continued success and to guide the organization through 2014.



Traditional sources of federal funding alone will not sustain this innovative and educationally

transformative endeavor. The eXtension Foundation’s mission is to support this national Internetbased

educational network, which complements and leverages the community-based national

Cooperative Extension System. Today, the eXtension Foundation is actively reaching out to new

public and private funding partners. It is vital that eXtension has additional support in order to

grow and to reach its full potential, allowing all people to fully benefit from this time-tested, yet

innovative, resource.

The eXtension Foundation has developed policies to ensure

that partnerships and sponsorships can flourish. Underwriters

benefit from tremendous national exposure and enhanced public

perception. By partnering with eXtension, government agencies,

businesses, corporations, organizations and individuals may

reach out in new ways to provide critical information to citizens

from all walks of life.

Your investment in eXtension

is an investment in an

improved quality of life for

millions of people.

Through the powerful content available from Communities of Practice, eXtension is providing

information that addresses many of the issues facing everyone in today’s world with a focus on

these critical areas:

Protecting our Natural Resources and the Environment

Ensuring an Abundant and Safe Food Supply

Working for Greater Energy Efficiency and Independence

Improving Physical, Mental and Emotional Well-being

Strengthening Financial and Investment Skills for Individuals, Families and Businesses

The reach and impact of eXtension will continue to grow. Existing Communities of Practice

regularly enhance and expand content and new CoPs are developed each year.

“We were supplied with the information we wanted in an expedient, competent

and professional manner (which is so unbelievably rare these days).”

eXtension Online Feedback

“Thanks for these postings. It makes it easier to identify disease after seeing it

on screen like this. Thank you.” – eXtension Online Feedback


eXtension’s goals are lofty. Harnessing the power and global reach of the Internet, eXtension is

positioned to take the lead in the dissemination of high-quality, peer-reviewed information with

the power to improve communities, businesses and local governmental and non-governmental

agencies, in addition to serving private citizens. Your support of the eXtension Foundation is

critical as we work to empower people to take the steps necessary for making the world a better

place, not only for this generation, but also for the next.

Based upon the research, education and outreach of the Public Land Grant University System

and the national Cooperative Extension System, eXtension – America’s Research-based Learning

Network – is the 21 st century vision of what life and learning in America can be.

We invite you to be a part of eXtension – America’s Research-based Learning Network.

For more information on eXtension and the eXtension Foundation contact:

Dan Cotton, Executive Director, eXtension Foundation



• Bayer Environmental Science

• Bonnie Plants

• Brookdale Foundation

• CHS Foundation

• Citi Foundation

• Cooperative Foundation

• Critter Control

• Financial Industry Regulatory

Authority (FINRA) Investor

Education Foundation

• Land O’Lakes - Purina Mills

• Land Grant Universities

• U.S. Department of Agriculture

• U.S. Department of Energy

“The answer was well-written and included even more information than I had expected.”

eXtension Online Feedback

“Loved it! I have recommended and sent the links to friends via Facebook. Looking forward to

more great webinars!” – eOrganic Online Feedback

“I am glad that I found the eXtension website yesterday. I appreciate all the ‘free’ education…

thanks for being there!” – eOrganic Online Feedback

America’s Research-based Learning Network

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