IMPACT Leaflet No. 11

University of Missouri Extension Roles and Responsibilities

Charles St. Clair, Community Development Specialist

In Extension, three levels of government-federal, state and local-work together. At each of these levels, Extension involves a great number of participants. Each participant has prescribed roles and responsibilities. The success of the University of Missouri Extension depends upon each participant performing his or her role effectively and efficiently. This paper gives an overview of participation in the Extension system at each level.


The federal partner is the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the Cooperative Extension System. ES-USDA roles:

  • Identification of issues and trends that affect and can be affected by Extension;
  • Recommendation of appropriate legislation and policy to Congress;
  • Communication of funding needs to Congress;
  • Consultation on program development with state Extension services; and
  • Evaluation of program implementation and progress.


At the state level, Extension is implemented through land-grant universities. In Missouri, these are the University of Missouri Extension and Lincoln University, working under an agreement to cooperate in programming. The UM Extension's responsibilities:

  • Maintenance and promotion of the land-grant system, including research, resident teaching and Extension;
  • Receipt and disbursement of funds for Extension activities from a variety of sources;
  • Cooperation with USDA and other federal agencies that affect Extension or participate with Extension in the delivery of programs;
  • Identification of issues and trends that may affect the state's residents;
  • Provision of information to regional specialists related to research, trends and issues;
  • Employment of professional staff at state and local levels to carry out Extension programs; and
  • Supervision of county Extension offices.


At the county level, University of Missouri Extension field faculty specialists work in partnership with local people to identify, plan and execute appropriate educational programs.

Each county has a county program director (CPD) who has coordination duties in addition to his/her programmatic responsibilities. The CPD assists the county extension council in planning and implementing local educational programs using available resources — financial, professional staff and volunteers. The CPD is responsible for managing Extension resources and facilitating the election, training and operation of the extension council.

County commissions have three roles related to Extension:

  • Participating in extension council deliberations through an appointed member to the council;
  • Helping identify local educational needs and priorities; and
  • Providing funds from county revenues for support of local Extension office and programs.

The county extension council's responsibilities in Extension education include:

  • Assisting in the identification, planning and delivery of educational programs to meet local needs, including the collection of fees, solicitation of contributions, and cooperation with other counties;
  • Approving the assignment of regional specialists headquartered in the county, making recommendations concerning their removal and being consulted prior to discharge of personnel;
  • Managing the finances of local Extension activities, including working with county commissioners to prepare a local budget that will meet the needs of the county plan of work; paying salaries and expenses related to operation of the local office; collecting fees for programs and activities; requisitioning the monthly appropriation from the county commission; and providing the commission with an accounting of expenditures;
  • Electing and organizing the local extension council, including setting a time, date and place for elections; nominating at least two people for each elective position on the council; soliciting appointments of members by farm organizations and eligible municipalities; publishing notices of election, canvassing the vote and certifying the election to the county clerk; electing a chairman, vice chairman, secretary and treasurer, who will meet at least once a month; and holding and annual meeting and at least bimonthly meetings.

In Summary

University of Missouri Extension is a complex organization requiring the involvement of many participants to be successful. It is a three-way partnership with federal, state and local governments cooperating to provide educational resources to the citizens of the state.