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How Extension Works


NC State Extension transforms science into everyday solutions for North Carolinians through programs and partnerships focused on agriculture and food, health and nutrition, and 4-H youth development.

Cycle of Solutions

NC State Extension faculty and staff work throughout the spectrum of innovation to deliver research-based solutions to local issues.

  • Identify local needs and challenges.
  • Collaborate with specialists to find potential answers.
  • Transfer research-based knowledge to North Carolinians.
  • Translate knowledge into practical applications.
  • Improve the economy.
  • Enhance citizens' quality of life.

Program Focus

Agriculture and Food

NC State Extension connects farmers, agribusinesses and communities with vital research-based information and technology. Research at NC State targets society’s grand challenges. Extension delivers this research directly into the hands of North Carolinians, helping them to translate knowledge into everyday solutions.

Health and Nutrition

Extension offers a wealth of educational programs that address public health issues, improve economic well-being, and help people make healthier, better-informed decisions. Programs range from local foods, food safety, and food preservation to gardening and environmental efforts.

4-H Youth Development

4-H is the largest youth development organization in North Carolina. Hundreds of thousands of young people learn the skills to succeed through 4-H educational programs and camps. NC State Extension and the Cooperative Extension Program at N.C. A&T State University conduct 4-H programs where youth learn by doing.

101 Local Centers

NC State Extension has locally-focused services in every North Carolina county and the Eastern Band of Cherokee

How Extension Works

North Carolina is home to two land-grant institutions – NC State University and N.C. A&T State University. Land-grant universities have a unique and important obligation to serve our state through Extension. It’s what sets us apart from other universities.

Each school coordinates Extension programs that work in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA), as well as state and local governments. This strategic partnership is called N.C. Cooperative Extension. Together we enrich the lives, land, and economy of North Carolinians.

Extension and Program Grants
Smith-Lever Act

National Focus on Local Issues

The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture is a cornerstone of Extension. Their financial and programmatic support help strengthen Extension efforts to identify emerging research questions and to apply science and technology to improve the nation’s agricultural, economic, and social well-being.

Land-Grants Lead the Way

Since the passage of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, land-grant universities have worked toward a common mission to extend knowledge to the public. NC State and N.C. A&T ensure that research discoveries are delivered from the campus to the community.

NC State
N.C. A&T
Extension Offices
Local Government

Serving All N.C. Citizens

Extension has offices in every county of North Carolina and the Eastern Band of Cherokee. The staff and volunteers work with local government to support agriculture, horticulture, conservation and environmental protection, nutrition and health, as well as a variety of consumer, youth, and economic concerns.