Elena Serrano with President Sands

Our Virginia Cooperative Extension program plays a critical role in the department's translational mission.

Extension specialists put “knowledge to work” by reaching out to communities and extending resources through educational programming that solves public needs.

In addtion, students have excellent opportunities to get real world experience through:

  • Developing, designing, and delivering research- and evidence-based educational handouts, modules, and programs in foods, nutrition, and exercise for diverse audiences.
  • Conducting research related to food, nutrition, and exercise education, behavior, and policy.

History of Extension

Congress created the extension system over a century ago to address  rural agricultural issues. At that time, more than 50 percent of the U.S. population lived in rural areas, and 30 percent of the workforce was engaged in farming. Extension's engagement with rural America helped make the American agricultural revolution possible, which dramatically increased farm productivity.

Today, extension extends beyond agriculture and covers six major areas:

  • 4-H youth development
  • Agriculture
  • Community and economic development
  • Family and consumer sciences
  • Leadership development
  • Natural resources