Extension documentary ‘Agents of Change’ to air May 21 on LPB

BATON ROUGE — The television documentary “Agents of Change: The Story of Louisiana Cooperative Extension” will be broadcast on Louisiana Public Broadcasting and its statewide Public Broadcasting Station affiliates on at 8:30 p.m. May 21. The LSU AgCenter produced the 30-minute historical program.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service and of the Smith-Lever Act which was passed by Congress in May 1914 to create a national agricultural extension system.
“Agents of Change” explores how Louisiana extension agents and specialists have led people on a transformational journey of progress and profit, solutions and survival — by educating and inspiring improved farming and agriculture, better health and stronger communities.
“The system has changed, but our mission — helping people help themselves — has not changed and should never change,” said retired Louisiana extension director Denver T. Loupe, who is featured in the documentary.
The television program includes reenactments, rare images and interviews with farmers, fishers, agents and specialists that reflect the effectiveness of extension’s delivery of research-based information.
“My father listened to the county agent and 4-H agent,” said retired district agent Kermit Coulon. “They were his bible. Everything they wanted him to do, he’d do it. The family survived because of cooperative extension.”
“People don’t really stop and think how important the extension service is,” said Union Parish farmer John Van Bennett. “It’s been there ever since I was big enough to remember anything. Extension has played a big part in my life and my family’s life.”
For 100 years, county agents, family consumer science agents (formerly known as home demonstration agents) and specialists have been educators and leaders — helping improve crops and livestock while conserving the environment, developing youth into better citizens and leaders through 4-H and connecting schools, families and communities with tools to improve health and nutrition.
“For a century, Louisiana Cooperative Extension has taken valuable university research and delivered it to the people of the state,” said Bill Richardson, LSU vice president for agriculture. “Extension work continues to boost Louisiana’s agricultural economy, which is worth billions. Our extension programs also provide communities with outstanding opportunities for developing personal growth and improving health.”
The documentary will take viewers on a century-long journey that explores extension contributions from forest to wetland and from harvest to home. Along the way, they’ll discover how people of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service have fulfilled their roles as agents of change.

By RANDY LABAUVE LSU AgCenter

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