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Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties, UC Cooperative Extension Records
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  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Organizational History
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement
  • Preferred Citation

  • Contributing Institution: University of California, Merced Library
    Title: University of California Cooperative Extension Records, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties
    Identifier/Call Number: UCCE.SBSLO
    Physical Description: 15 Linear Feet
    Date (inclusive): 1923-2013, undated
    Language of Material: English

    Conditions Governing Use

    This collection is intended to support teaching, research, and private study. Copyright belongs to the Regents of the University of California. Use of the materials beyond that allowed by fair use or by any Creative Commons licenses assigned requires the written permission of the copyright owner(s). For further information, please contact the University of California, Merced Library at library@ucmerced.edu.

    Conditions Governing Access

    This collection is open for research. A portion of the records have been digitized and are freely available online. The material is located at the University of California, Merced Library. For help locating material please contact library@ucmerced.edu.

    Organizational History

    At the turn of the previous century, growing concern over the quality of life for rural Americans prompted President Theodore Roosevelt to appoint a Commission on Country Life in 1908. One of the direct outcomes of the Commission's recommendations was the passage of the Smith-Lever Act in 1914, which established a national extension service to place the knowledge generated at land-grant universities into the hands of farmers and rural citizens. The Agricultural Extension Service formalized and built upon existing efforts of land-grant universities to enhance the knowledge of farmers and apply scientific discoveries for improved agricultural practices. Beginning in 1913, the Agriculture Extension Service, later known as UC Cooperative Extension, placed farm advisors employed by the University of California in every county that formed a farm bureau and agreed to sponsor Extension Service work. While arrangements have evolved, advisors continue to work in all California counties today and address problems ranging from soil conditions and land reclamation to irrigation; from livestock breeding to improved varietals; and from mechanization to disease and pest management, to enable farms to increase efficiency and productivity.
    While the Farm Bureau was established in San Luis Obispo in 1916, it was difficult to raise funds to support a farm advisor. They finally succeeded in 1922 and hired their first extension agent Frank T. Murphy in 1923. Murphy worked with the Farm Bureau and established committees on dairy, beef, horticulture, grain growing, and poultry farming. In 1925, funds were raised to hire Edna Hewitt as a home demonstration agent and Parker Talbot took over as the head farm advisor for the office, a position he would maintain for 25 years.
    In 1927, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors established a farm advisor's office in that county. Over the years, the Santa Barbara Cooperative Extension office expanded into two county offices and the University of California, Santa Barbara. Advisors often supported farmers in the tri-county area of Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo, and conducted research at UCSB and at California Polytechnic State University. With so much time spent outside of the county offices, the Santa Barbara County Board determined that it would be most cost effective to close the Santa Barbara county offices but continue to supply funds to advisors in the San Louis Obispo and Ventura county offices, so as to maintain Cooperative Extension services for the county.

    Scope and Contents

    The San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties, University of California Cooperative Extension Records span the years 1914-2000 (bulk) and consist largely of material from the San Luis Obispo offices. The first series, Annual and Historical Reports (1923-1998, undated), contains statistical and narrative reports recorded on standardized forms, allowing for uniform reporting. The annual reports are written by farm advisors, specialists, and home demonstration agents and document their extension activities for the year. Narrative reports provide textual information on extension activities. Farm advisors and home demonstration agents describe the successes and challenges of their work, educational topics covered in trainings and demonstrations, and the variety of meetings held for farmers and their families. The reports provide a comprehensive indication of UCCE's influence in rural communities. Additional topics outlined in both the statistical and narrative annual reports involve dairy, grain, and poultry projects, 4-H club work, food and nutritional programs, home improvement projects such as septic tanks and utilities, and the results of crop and livestock production.
    Many of the historical reports convey seeding and fertilization recommendations to ranches and farms in the region. Other records in this subseries offer information about seeding practices and soil conservation. There are also handwritten notes, correspondence, and reports of work, including a report about low-income projects. This report documents community programing and youth involvement in 4-H, as well as partnerships with Cuesta College. There are also references to bilingual programing and the difficulties of reaching various demographic groups, including senior citizens. Staff reports, written in narrative format, are also included in this subseries. They cover a range of topics such as family nutrition and food, water, dairy waste and disease, new home improvement technologies, 4-H activities like the selling of Christmas trees, county fairs and the 4-H Leadership Conference in Davis, CA.
    Material regarding centennial history reflect the history and chronology of Agricultural Extension work in California. A document by B.H. Crocheron looks at the origins of itinerant teachings and how the program has developed since its inception. Another record highlights the history of agricultural education in San Luis Obispo County and synopsizes work conducted with various crops, including research trials and yields, and disease control. A dedication to Parker Talbot, who served as the San Luis Obispo County Director until 1949, is also found in this subseries.
    The second series, Topical Files (1923-1999, undated), is further divided into subseries which are range and pasture, citrus and other sub-tropicals, water, weather and climate, soil, ornamental and lawns, vegetable crops, weeds, wildlife. Types of materials include, but are not limited to, trial results and reports, as well as documents about best practices in seeding, pasture and rangeland improvement, and fire hazard reduction. Information about lesser-grown crops in the United States such as pomegranates, mangoes, and kiwis are provided, as are materials regarding avocado and citrus production in the region and related production costs, economic trends, and disease prevention. Material about water includes irrigation system documents, economic analyses of water, and cost estimates of water systems. There is also material related to droughts and climatology.
    Detailed reports about the production of several herbs including coriander, marjoram, thyme, and fennel, and more are included. Vegetables that are documented in the topical file include, but are not limited to, beans, carrots, artichokes, broccoli, cucumbers, peppers, corn, potatoes, lettuce, and asparagus.
    Please refer to the container list for a complete record of materials found in this series.
    The third series, Photographs (1951-1968, 2002-2013, undated), primarily consists of undated black and white negatives and photographic prints. The image content varies, though some major themes can be identified. Many of the photographs showcase machinery and equipment used for harvesting. Other photographs demonstrate fire prevention and the creation of fire breaks. There are also several images that depict small specimens such as caterpillars and beetles. Color photographs in this series illustrate 4-H celebrations and events.


    This collection consists of 4 series and 13 subseries:
    Series 1. Annual and Historical Reports
    Subseries 1. Annual Reports
    Subseries 2. Historical Reports
    Subseries 3. Centennial History
    Series 2. Topical Files
    Subseries 1. Range and Pasture
    Subseries 2. Citrus and Other Sub-Tropicals
    Subseries 3. Water
    Subseries 4. Weather and Climate
    Subseries 5. Soil
    Subseries 6. Ornamental and Lawns
    Subseries 7. Vegetable Crops
    Subseries 8. Weeds
    Subseries 9. Wildlife
    Subseries 10. Berries
    Series 3. Photographs
    Series 4. Publications

    Preferred Citation

    University of California Cooperative Extension Records, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties, UCCE SBSLO, UC Cooperative Extension Archive, University of California, Merced Library, 5200 North Lake Road, Merced, CA 95343