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franklin county times

From the Extension: Celebrate County Extension Week Oct. 23-28


What is the Alabama Cooperative Extension System? The ACES provides university-based knowledge, delivered straight to the people where they live and work. The system is an organization of educators who take cutting-edge research from our land-grant universities, Alabama A&M and Auburn, and turn it into practical uses that improve the lives of all people across the state.


Luther Noble Duncan was born Oct. 14, 1875, near Russellville in Franklin County. He enrolled at Alabama Polytechnic Institute in Auburn. During his studies, he became a student leader and taught at a rural school near his home during summer months for $25 a month. 

In 1900, Duncan graduated with honors. He worked as State 4-H Club Supervisor until 1920. Working with API, Duncan visited almost every county in Alabama. By working with farmer institutes, he strengthened his knowledge of educational outreach, which came to be known as Cooperative Extension. He then became director of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. He became president of Auburn University in 1935 and held that position until his death in 1947. 

Duncan, remembered as a director who demanded perfection from employees, once said, “A man entering upon his duties of the day without a shave or with a dirty collar … will never get very far with what he represents.” Alabama Cooperative Extension headquarters at Auburn University was named Duncan Hall after Luther Noble Duncan and his achievements. 


The Alabama Cooperative Extension System offers specialists and programming in the following areas: 

  • Agriculture
  • Forestry, Wildlife and Natural Resources
  • Urban Affairs and new nontraditional programs
  • Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Economic and Community Development
  • 4-H and Youth Development

Agents are located in all 67 Alabama county offices and offer educational programs adapted to needs and interests of local residents.

For more information, contact the local Extension Office today or view online services at www.aces.edu. To contact the Franklin County Extension Office, send mail to P.O. Box 820, Russellville, Alabama 35653, or call 256-332-8880. The office is located in the basement of the Franklin County Courthouse in downtown Russellville. 

Personnel serving Franklin County include:

  • Katernia Cole Coffey, County Extension Coordinator
  • Austin Blankenship, 4-H Foundation Regional Extension Agent
    Annette Casteel, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education Agent
  • Alexandra Gotcher, Animal Sciences & Forages Agent
  • Cade Grace, Agronomic Crops Agent
  • Susan Hill, Food Safety and Quality Agent
  • Gwen Hood, First Teacher Program
  • Shirley Jimenez, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program Agent
  • Jayne Luetzow, Home Grounds, Gardens and Home Pests Agent
  • Stephanie Miller, First Teacher Program
  • Darlene Minniefield, Urban Regional Extension Agent
  • Ida Robinson, TES Administrative Support 
  • Kristina Rossin, Administrative Support Associate
  • Patricia Smith, Human Science Regional Extension Agent
  • Elaine Softley, Human Science Regional Extension Agent
  • Treca Springer, First Teacher Program
  • Kerry Steedley, Forestry, Wildlife and Natural Resources Agent
  • Tyler Thompson, Urban Regional Extension Agent


1862 – Congress creates the land-grant university system to make higher education more accessible to the average citizen through research in agriculture and the mechanical arts. Alabama’s first land grant college is established, which later becomes Auburn University.

1881 – Booker T. Washington moves to Tuskegee and sets the stage for off-campus education. The information he gathers will soon become the core of the “school on wheels” offered through Tuskegee University.

1882 – Congress creates Agricultural Experiment Stations at land-grant colleges to conduct research to improve farming methods.

1890 – Congress grants land to institutions educating black citizens.

1906 – The first four county demonstration agents begin working in Alabama, taking information to farmers to make their operations more efficient and profitable. Tom Monroe Campbell of Tuskegee Institute is appointed the nation’s first black Extension agent.

1914 – The Smith-Lever Act enables states to establish statewide Cooperative Extension programs through their land-grant colleges to coordinate the education being delivered to the people by the demonstration agents.

1915 – Cooperative Extension begins assisting minority farmers in nine Alabama counties, growing to serve 28 counties by 1920. 

1971 – A new Extension program is established at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville to serve 12 north Alabama counties. 

1995 – The Alabama Cooperative Extension System is created. Alabama becomes the first state to combine the Extension programs from its “1862” and “1890” land-grant universities, Auburn and Alabama A&M, into a unified statewide system, with Tuskegee University as partner.


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