Extension Roots

College file photo


A historical marker commemorating the first extension agent in Pennsylvania—and one of the first in the United States—was dedicated on June 7 in Schellsburg, Bedford County.

The marker, at 3744 Pitt Street, highlights “the beginning of the Agricultural Cooperative Extension Service” and the approximate location where extension agent A. B. Ross officially began his work helping farmers in Bedford and surrounding counties in 1910.

Dean Bruce McPheron noted that Penn State Extension started serving agricultural producers in Pennsylvania more than a century ago, even before the federal Smith-Lever Act was passed in 1914, which established the Cooperative Extension system connected to land-grant universities.

“What we celebrate here today is the foundation of a powerful system that continues to spur economic development, job creation, and community resilience by providing science-based education to the citizens of Pennsylvania,” McPheron said.

“Our extension presence in communities across the Commonwealth means that Penn State Extension and the College of Agricultural Sciences are literally the ‘front door’ to Penn State and all the solutions that Pennsylvania’s land-grant university can bring to bear to address real-world problems for agriculture, food, natural resources, youth, and communities,” he said.

Bedford County historical marker commemoration; photo by Jennifer Crandell

Commemorating the historical marker in Schellsburg, Bedford County: Kneeling left to right: Tim Elkner, Ron Johnson, Andrew Frankenfield, Emelie Swackhammer, Barbara Christ.

Standing left to right: Duane Duncan, Delbert Voight, Dwane Miller, Bob Pollock, Rick Smith, Keith Dickinson, Mary Jo Depp Nestlerode, Paul Crooks, Lee Miller, Rob Goodling, Paul Craig, Stan McKee, Melanie Barkley, Bruce McPheron, Janice Stoudnour, Eugene Schurman, John Holbert, Chet Hughes, Mark Madden.  PHOTO: JENNIFER CRANDELL