Legislation & Resources

Legislation & Resources

Revisiting the Purpose of the Renewable Resources Extension Act (RREA)

In June of 1978, Congress passed the Renewable Resources Extension Act (RREA) “to provide for an expanded and comprehensive extension program for forest and rangeland renewable resources”.  The first appropriation from Congress was in 1982.  Given that more than three decades have passed since this initial legislation was enacted by Congress, and due to considerable new challenges and pressures on government, academic, and stakeholder finances, as well as on global environmental conditions, it is important to revisit the original intention of the RREA.  The following excerpts clearly articulate Congress’s intention:

  • the extension program of the Department of Agriculture and the extension activities of each State provide useful and productive educational programs for private forest and range landowners and processors and consumptive and nonconsumptive users of forest and rangeland renewable resources, and these educational programs complement research and assistance programs conducted by the Department of Agriculture;
  • to meet national goals, it is essential that all forest and rangeland renewable resources (hereinafter in this Act referred to as ‘‘renewable resources’’), including fish and wildlife, forage, outdoor recreation opportunities, timber, and water, be fully considered in designing educational programs

Further, USDA and State directors of Cooperative Extension are called on to implement enhanced educational programs on renewable resources that:

  • enable individuals to recognize, analyze, and resolve problems;
  • disseminate the results of research;
  • transfer the best available technology;
  • give special attention to small, private non-industrial forest landowners;
  • provide continuing education programs; and
  • deliver a comprehensive education program for landowners and managers, public officials, and the public, with particular emphasis on youth.

Example programming included, but was not limited to meetings, short courses, workshops, tours, demonstrations, publications, news releases, and radio and television programs.

In addition, State directors and heads of Extension programs were tasked to develop “a single comprehensive and coordinated renewable resources extension program in which the role of each eligible college and university [land-grant] is well-defined.”  Key to this process is consultation and agreements with extension professionals and key State and Federal organizations.  The overall purpose of RREA clearly stated a commitment to promote policies and practices that enhance the health, vitality, productivity, economic value, and environmental attributes of the forest [and range] lands of the United States. 



Supported By

This work is supported by the Renewable Resources Extension Act Program [grant no. USDA-NIFA–EXCA-005457] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

United States Department of Agriculture
The project to update the 2012-2016 RREA Strategic Plan was awarded to The Rangelands Partnership in 2016.