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a young girl with brown hair in a ponytail and wearing a pink and white shirt looks at a plastic bin of canning supplies during a Family and Consumer Sciences exhibit during Oklahoma's Lincoln County Fair
People of all ages learn through Cooperative Extension programs, including this child at the 2023 Lincoln County Fair in Chandler, Oklahoma. Extension empowers youth, farmers, ranchers and communities of all sizes to overcome their challenges, adapt to changing technology, improve nutrition and food safety, prepare for and respond to emergencies, and protect the environment. (Photo by Mitchell Alcala, OSU Agriculture)

Cooperative Extension advances reach in Southern region

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Media Contact: Gail Ellis | Editorial Communications Coordinator | 405-744-9152 |

Oklahoma State University Extension and Langston University Extension members joined fellow professionals from other states at the Southern Region Program Leadership Network annual conference Aug. 21-24 in Orlando, Florida.

The event invited attendees to share resources, build partnerships and address emerging issues affecting communities.

Extension empowers farmers, ranchers and communities of all sizes to overcome their challenges, adapt to changing technology, improve nutrition and food safety, prepare for and respond to emergencies, and protect the environment. Extension educators and specialists help change lives in the communities they serve.

This year’s theme for the conference was Next Generation: Evolving the Extension Enterprise. Attendees heard from keynote speaker Mansfield (Pete) Key III, a leading growth development strategist and international motivational speaker. Also, Manjit Misra, director of the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, discussed the future of Extension with the group, in particular how Extension is uniquely structured to help address some of the country’s most pressing health issues. Tom Davidson of Leadership Nature presented a two-part virtual session on Treating Your Employees Like Volunteers (and Your Volunteers Like Employees) for pre- and post-conferences

This working meeting provides an opportunity for land-grant institutions in the Southern region to advance their mission of fostering and strengthening Extension education programming. The structure of the Southern Region Program Leadership Network allows multi-institutional communication within and among disciplinary and functional lines.

“This conference provides a great platform to spark innovative ideas and think differently,” said Damona Doye, associate vice president of OSU Extension. “It also promotes cross-state collaboration to help make each of our institutions more efficient and effective.”

Since 1989, the Southern Region Program Leadership Network has promoted multistate cooperation by identifying and addressing emerging issues. Extension professionals serve in eight key areas: Agriculture and Natural Resources, Community Development, Family and Consumer Sciences, 4-H Youth Development, Communications, Information Technology, Middle Management, and Program and Staff Development. These committees meet regularly throughout the year to complete multiple plans of work goals.

Accomplishments from this collaborative effort include a 2022 Southern Region Teen Leadership Conference in Crossville, Tennessee, data collection from a disaster loss assessment survey, organizing community resiliency webinars related to climate change, and communications curricula for institutional training.

Land-grant universities

A land-grant university is an institution that provides research-based programs and resources for residents in their state and has been designated by its state legislature or Congress to receive the benefits of the Morrill Acts of 1862, 1890 and 1994. There is one land-grant institution in every state and territory of the U.S. and the District of Columbia. Certain states have more than one land-grant institution as a result of the second Morrill Act, and some western and plains states have several because of 1994 land-grant tribal colleges.

OSU is a modern land-grant university focused on student success through leadership and service. The institution is built on high-quality teaching, research and Extension. It is one of the only universities in the country with each of the three land-grant designations: Morrill Act of 1862, Morrill Act of 1890 for African Americans and Morrill Act of 1994 for Native Americans.

For more information, visit Find programs in OSU Extension.

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