Cooperative Extension

Within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture is the federal partner in the Cooperative Extension System. NIFA provides federal funding to the system. The Cooperative Extension System is a nationwide, non-credit educational network. Each U.S. State and territory has a state office at its land grant university. The State Cooperative Extension Office then manages county extension offices. Depending on the office, you can:

  • Get your soil tested free
  • Find out what is wrong with your plant
  • Get plant/pest information
  • Obtain publications on specific topics
  • Attend lectures and workshops sponsored by them
  • Get involved in the Master Gardener Program.

In Maryland, the University of Maryland manages the Maryland Cooperative Extension. The Home and Garden Information Center is located at 12005 Homewood Road, Ellicott City, MD 21042. Maryland residents can talk with a horticultural consultant or find out about the Master Gardener Program in their county.

In Virginia, the Virginia Tech University manages the Virginia Cooperative Extension program. Headquarters is at Virginia Cooperative Extension, 101 Hutcheson Hall, 250 Drillfield Drive, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0327; (540) 231-9347.  Each county in Virginia has at least one extension agent.

In DC, the University of the District of Columbia manages the Cooperative Extension Service through its Center for Urban Agriculture and Gardening Education. This is part of the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences at 4200 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20008, (202) 274-5000.

Produced and written by Peggy Riccio, June 2019, copyright Peggy Riccio,