Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on April 6, 2011 at 11:15 AM by Global Reach

Seaman KnappSeaman Knapp - "Father of Cooperative Extension"

4-H Efforts: Knapp's ideas in agriculture and education later became the Agricultural Experiment Stations and Cooperative Extension Service. In 1906 Knapp organized boys' cotton and corn clubs to promote his agricultural ideas and in 1910 a girls' corn and poultry club was added. These were some of what later became known as 4-H Clubs.

Knapp graduated with a B.A. from Union College at Schenectady, New York in 1856. He married and later moved to Benton County, Iowa, where they purchased a small sheep farm. While superintendent of the Iowa State School for the Blind, he organized and became the first president of the Iowa Improved Stock Breeders Association. In 1876 he began publishing the Western Stock Journal and Farmer, which talked about modern farm methods and some of his farm experiments. His farming
renowned led to his selection as professor of agriculture at Iowa State College of Agriculture at Ames, Iowa, in 1879. He served as president of the college from 1883 to 1884.

At Iowa State, Knapp started the concept of a demonstration farm. He drafted a bill to establish agriculture experiment stations at agricultural college that became the Hatch Act of 1887. He left Iowa in 1886 to work in the South. In 1906 Knapp initiated the county-agent plan, and he organized boys' cotton and corn growing clubs to promote his agricultural ideas. In 1910 a girls' corn and poultry club was added - the forerunners of the modern 4-H Clubs. Knapp came to Washington DC in 1907 and served at USDA until his death in 1911. His early efforts led to the Smith-Lever Act that established Cooperative Extension Service in 1914.

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