Interview with Thomson R. Bryant, Sr., September 10, 1976
Project: University of Kentucky: Extension Service Oral History Project
Interview SummaryThomson R. "T.R." Bryant was the associate director of the Cooperative Extension Service within the College of Agriculture at UK. He was born in 1885 in Fayette County, Kentucky and started his formal organization of extension work on July 1, 1910. At the time of this interview, Bryant was the only remaining living administrative pioneer in extension services. Bryant discusses how extension work began. He believes that the experiment stations had made progress with new ideas in agriculture, but their new discoveries were not known to farmers. Bryant explains that cooperative extension work was necessary to convey information and suggestions to rural men and women.
In 1914, the Smith-Lever Act made extension work a national activity. Between 1910 and 1914, U.S. Department of Agriculture funds were available for projects to increase crop production and improve farm management, but these funds had to be matched by the counties themselves. Bryant states that his most difficult job was convincing the counties to match the money offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At the end of 1912, seven counties had raised the necessary money.
Bryant discusses the ways in which extension work has evolved to include marketing, cooperative work, and more youth projects. Bryant talks about the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation as a very wise and careful organization, and describes the relationship between the Kentucky Farm Bureau, the University of Kentucky Extension Service, and other agricultural organizations. Bryant gives credit to Dr. Steven A. Knapp, whose demonstration of cotton production showed that the way to teach someone was to let them teach themselves. Bryant believes that future extension directors will create good and useful projects for the communities, but warns them to keep a watchful eye on the economic and political situation of the country.
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Interview UsageInterviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.
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Bryant, Thomson R., Sr. Interview by Mike Duff. 10 Sep. 1976. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Bryant, T.R., Sr. (1976, September 10). Interview by M. Duff. University of Kentucky: Extension Service Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Bryant, Thomson R., Sr., interview by Mike Duff. September 10, 1976, University of Kentucky: Extension Service Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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