Starting in 1907, W.D. Bentley (pictured) and W.M. Bamberge led early extension efforts to help farmers and rural families throughout Oklahoma. Bentley became known as the “father of extension” for his skills in advocating advanced ag practices to help farmers and rural families.
1909 - Bentley founded what was to become the first 4-H Club in Oklahoma. Originally called the corn club, it had 50 members in Tishamingo.
1912 - Bentley appointed the first female home-demonstration agents. In a Feb. 19, 1912 report, he recorded 42 agents presenting farmers’ cooperative demonstrations and 10 women involved in canning demonstrations.
1914 - Bentley cut through the politics of the time to ensure the Agricultural Special Train, billed as a "county fair on wheels," began touring the state in 1914, bringing advice for the farm and rural home as it went and exhibiting horses, cattle, sheep, hogs, and poultry raised at Oklahoma A&M College. One two-week tour drew almost 50,000 visitors.
1914 – Congress passed the Smith-Lever Act, officially creating the Cooperative Extension Service. USDA and Oklahoma A&M College signed an agreement creating the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service.
Bentley continued to work in his campus extension office in Stillwater long after he officially retired, until his death July 5, 1930.