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Timeline

1887 Congress creates Agricultural Experiment Stations at Land-Grant Colleges to conduct research to improve farming methods.

1900 In Macoupin County, W. B. Otwell of the County Institute provided corn seed to young people and encouraged them to compete for prizes in the fall. This evolved into the organization of 4-H corn clubs.

1914 Smith Lever Act passed nationwide to establish the Extension Service.

4-H Logo1915 A grain harvesting demonstration in DeKalb County showed how the "modern" automobile could be used to pull grain harvesting equipment.

1915 Kankakee County hired Eva Benefiel as the first Illinois home adviser to develop a home improvement association. Mercer County followed in 1917.

1915 The first 4-H Club in Illinois was the Union Pig Club organized by C.C. Coots in Macoupin County. War conditions brought about rapid expansion of the work and by 1917 more than 15,000 members were enrolled in Illinois. Not only were there corn and pig clubs, but also canning and sewing, garden, strawberry, and calf clubs.

First high compression tractor in the US

1923 Illinois 4-H was organized by local units known as the local 4-H Club.

1924 The Illinois Home Bureau Federation was established. It is now known as the Illinois Association for Home and Community Education for promoting social and economic well-being in Illinois homes and communities.

A Boy and his Pigs (c.1920-25, photo by Clara R. Brian)1927 Railroads cooperated with Extension on a livestock Extension program called, "Cow, Sow, and Hen Special." Railroad cars featured exhibits including animals, how to make up feed rations, and various types of equipment. Extension staff would teach at various train stops. In November 1927, the train made 29 stops in 19 Illinois counties in seven days.

In the 1930s the telephone and radio speeded up the transfer of current information from the county agent to farm and ranch families.

1948 4-H Memorial Camp is established at Allerton Park outside of Monticello.

4-H Memorial Camp is established at Allerton Park outside of Monticello1954 U. S. Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson directed that all Extension employees would be under USDA. This separated Extension from the Farm Bureau and other farm groups.

1957 4-H started in Chicago.

In the 1960s the community development staff in Illinois saw that local townships faced a difficult problem in maintaining rural roads and bridges. The staff began work on the problem and was joined by Wisconsin, Ohio, and Minnesota staff. Their research documented the condition of rural road systems and the fiscal health of townships responsible for maintaning roads. Their efforts improved the ability of elected township road officials to manage limited resources more effectively.

Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program began in Illinois1969 Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) began in Illinois with 42 counties participating to provide nutritional education to low resource families.

1970 Telenet - the first distance learning system - was introduced and used by Illinois Extension.

1975 Illinois Extension developed the first Master Gardener program for community volunteers in Will County.

1996 First Illinois Extension website was launched.

2012 Cooperative Extension marked the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act that established land-grant universities to educate residents in agriculture, home economics, mechanical arts, and other practical professions.