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Virginia State University is one of Virginia’s two land-grant universities. There’s a lot that goes into making VSU a land-grant institution, including the fact that together with Virginia Tech, VSU manages and administers the Virginia Cooperative Extension program across the Commonwealth.

WHAT’S COOPERATIVE EXTENSION???

Cooperative Extension is a national program offered in all 50 states that brings university-based, scientifically-proven information to the public to improve people’s quality of life. In Virginia, Cooperative Extension brings together the resources of Virginia's land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, to solve problems facing Virginians every day, like opioid addiction, obesity, and poor financial management skills. Agents and specialists from each university form a network of educators whose classrooms are the communities, homes and businesses across Virginia.

WHAT DOES COOPERATIVE EXTENSION HAVE TO DO WITH ME?

Well, it’s up to you. There are probably an infinite number of ways you can collaborate with Virginia Cooperative Extension faculty and specialists at both Virginia State University and Virginia Tech to engage the public statewide through Extension agents in 108 county/city offices, 11 agricultural research/Extension centers, and six 4-H educational centers. Here’s how:

  • Develop community educational programming in your area of expertise for promotion and tenure considerations (Service to the community and/or university).

  • Develop research projects, grant proposals, publications, and/or Virginia Cooperative Extension fact sheets in the areas of agriculture, youth development, 4-H activities, financial management, disaster education, community & leadership, lawn & garden, natural resources, environmental conservation, nutrition & wellness, STEM fields, and more.

  • Showcase your research or VSU programs to parents or youth audiences for recruitment purposes.

  • Ask an expert! VSU’s Cooperative Extension Specialists are subject matter experts in a wide variety of fields. They offer the latest research-based information in fields like:

  • Become an Extension volunteer! There are structured volunteer opportunities across the state and even on the VSU campus through the Master Gardener, Naturalist, 4-H and Food volunteer programs, as well as on a day-by-day or program-by-program basis.

The possibilities are really limitless!

DID YOU KNOW THAT VSU IS HOME TO ANOTHER STATE AGENCY?

Yep! Virginia state Agency 234, otherwise known as Cooperative Extension and Agricultural Research Station (ARS), calls the VSU campus home. Cooperative Extension is housed in the L. Douglas Wilder Building, and the ARS is in the M.T. Carter Building. Both share the 416-acre Randolph Farm five minutes down River Road from VSU’s main campus.

Here’s How Agency 234 Made An Impact On People’s Lives In 2018

01: Obesity • Studied ginger’s active ingredients (6-gingerol and shogaol) to determine if they can reduce the risk of obesity. • Taught residents in the Petersburg area with pre-diabetes or those at high-risk for it how to set weight-loss goals, eat healthier and track their eating and exercise, which resulted in healthier behaviors and moderate weight loss.

02: Food Safety • Are developing biodegradable films with antimicrobial and antioxidant activities from grape pomace extract (derived from leftover skins and seeds from winemaking) to improve food safety and reduce reliance on non-biodegradable materials. • Studied disease-causing microorganisms in the gut of young meat goats and identified methods producers can take to improve herd health and ensure these pathogens are not passed on in the meat they sell and consumed.

03: Building Profitable Small Farms • Increased its outreach to the second-largest minority segment in the state’s farming industry, Hispanics, by hiring two Spanishspeaking staff and hosting numerous agricultural training programs in Spanish. • Determined after extensive research that Virginia farmers are perfectly positioned to play a bigger role in the nation’s $5.8 billion berry industry, thereby increasing their profitability and the state’s economy. Extension specialists are now training Extension agents and others to help growers with berry production, food safety and marketing. • Identified a gene in draught-resistant plant (purslane) that has shown potential to be transferred into corn and soybeans to improve the crops’ heat tolerance. The last 17 years, the warmest on record, have made tolerance to increasing heat critical to sustainable staple crop production.

04: Assisting Social-Economically Deprived Farmers Globally • Released a leaf-feeding beetle and a stem-boring weevil on farms in Ethiopia to stop the spread of parthenium, an invasive, noxious weed that threatens the livelihood of rural farmers. These bio-agents were extremely effective, saving farmers time, energy and money; they will provide long-term sustainable control of parthenium with no cost to farmers; and they will now be repeated in all parthenium-infested regions of Ethiopia. • Efforts by a researcher to help producers and manufacturers in Bangladesh grow cassava for industrial use earned her the President’s Volunteer Service Award. She taught improved production methods, created a surveillance unit to monitor pests and diseases, and developed training modules.

05: Developing the Future Ag Workforce • Employed 34 VSU students at the university’s Randolph Farm and Agricultural Research Station, providing them with hands-on experience in using lab equipment and in project management, critical thinking, data analysis and graphic design for scientific presentations to prepare them for terminal degrees and the workforce. • Helped meet the growing demand for academically trained urban agriculture professionals by graduating nine participants from VSU’s Sustainable Urban Agriculture Certificate Program. • Exposed 40 youth aged 11 to 13 to career opportunities in the lucrative field of agriculture and taught them invaluable social and life skills during a one-week 4-H iLeadership Institute.

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