Smith Lever Act
Research papers on the Smith Lever Act explain the elements of the act and why it was important back in 1914.
The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 was a federal law designed to provide cooperative agricultural extension services that connected land-grant universities to the general public. The Smith-Lever Act informed people about current developments in the field of agriculture, including:
- Home economics revelations
- 4-H opportunities
- Leadership developments
The Smith Lever Act and Land Grant Colleges
Land grant colleges had been established under the Morrill Act of 1862. With the Smith-Lever Act, introduced by Senator Hoke Smith of Georgia and Representative A.F. Lever of South Carolina, the federal government was expanding vocational, agricultural, and home demonstration programs across rural America. The Act specifically stated as a goal the spreading of practical information by setting up a partnership between federal, state and county levels of government. Funding went from the U.S. federal government, to the Department of Agriculture, and then to the land-grant universities, where it was to be matched by funds from the states and counties where the programs were implemented.
Smith-Lever was a systematic process to fund ongoing extension education through the land-grant universities. Professional educators were sent out into local, rural communities in order to improve the lives of the people. The Smith-Lever Act has been amended twice, but is still in effect after a century.