Vol 117 (2004): Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society

The horticultural history of the cooperative extension service in Florida

Elizabeth Lamb
University of Florida
Published December 1, 2004
  • farmers' week,
  • farmers' institutes


Extension work started in Florida in 1899, before there was a formal Extension Service, as Farmer's Institutes and Cooperative Demonstration Work. In 1909 and 1911, respectively, boys' and girls' clubs were added. On 25 May 1915, following the approval of the Smith-Lever Act by the Florida State Legislature, the Florida Agricultural Extension Division was created. Work on citrus has been an important part of Extension in Florida since its inception, including the Citrus Advisory Committee (1947-1964) and Florida Citrus Institutes (1930s-1970s), and continues today. Even though vegetable crops have been important in Florida for decades, formal Extension programs in vegetable crops did not begin until 1948. The program expanded rapidly in the 1950s and the Production Guides were initiated during that period. Extension programs in Ornamental Horticulture started in 1953 to cover commercial and home owner questions on ornamental plants. The broad range of crops, production systems, and markets in Florida requires an expanding emphasis on environmental horticulture. As changes in the demographics of the state and market competition for horticultural products continue, Extension will adapt to support the commercial industry and homeowner interest in Horticulture.