Portage County derived its name from the Native Americans who lived, hunted, and fished there – they had to portage, or carry their canoes between the rivers. Now a mixture of urban, suburban, and rural townships, Portage County once was supported primarily by agricultural commodities.

In 1912, Dan Hanna called the first meeting of the Portage County Improvement Association, a group of local farmers and businessmen, and the association launched its membership with 2,000+ members. The first action was to secure the services of a county agricultural agent. In 1913, H.P. Miller, a staff member of the Ohio Experiment Station, assumed his duties in Portage County as the first county agent in Ohio and the 23rd Extension agent in the United States. 

The Portage County Improvement Association’s goals were to improved the roads, livestock services, and cooperative farming services and to establish a county cooperative store. The association also made provisions to sponsor the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs, which would later evolve into 4-H clubs.

Through many years of dedication and help from our county commissioners, we have grown to an office of four Extension professionals, focusing on 4-H, Agriculture and Natural Resources, and EFNEP.


About OSU Extension

Since 1914, Extension has been helping all Ohioans build better lives, better businesses and better communities.

Ohio State University Extension brings the knowledge of the university directly to you. We fulfill the land-grant mission of The Ohio State University by interpreting knowledge and research developed by Extension and other faculty and staff at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Ohio State main campus, and other land-grant universities – so Ohioans can use the scientifically-based information to better their lives, businesses and communities.

The Extension system is the world’s largest non-formal educational system. Extension programs address the needs of the local community while also addressing state, national, and global issues. Our practical educational programs combine the needs of local citizens and communities with new research and technical information.

No matter which county you visit, you can find people who are helped by the four major OSU Extension program areas: family and consumer sciences, 4-H youth development, community development, and agriculture and natural resources. These program areas – and many other special topics – are continuously evaluated and updated to meet the changing needs and issues facing each community. Extension provides practical advice, sensible solutions, and realistic down-to-earth answers for ALL Ohioans.

OSU Extension is...

Our mission: Engaging people to strengthen their lives and communities through research-based educational programming.

Our vision: OSU Extension is a dynamic educational entity that partners with individuals, families, communities, business and industry, and organizations to strengthen the lives of Ohioans.