Auburn University President Ed Richardson recently announced that Gaines Smith will serve as the director of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, removing interim from his title.

"Gaines Smith has led the Alabama Cooperative Extension System with determination and distinction. In addition, he has served as a valued advisor to me concerning agricultural issues,” said Richardson. “I have been most impressed with his ability to establish a positive and substantive working relationship with Alabama A&M University. Gaines is certainly deserving of this recognition as Auburn University has been well served.”

Smith’s career in Extension stretches back more than four decades. He worked as a county agent in Jefferson County before moving into administration as a district agent in Selma.

Smith, who had served as interim director for almost six years, expressed his appreciation for the recognition.

“It’s been an honor to lead this organization no matter what my title was,” said Smith. “My job has been made easier because of the hard work of the Extension professionals at both universities and across the state.”

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System is the primary outreach organization for the land-grant mission at Auburn University and Alabama A&M University. In addition to its presence on the two university campuses, the System maintains offices in all of Alabama’s 67 counties and employs more than 800 professionals and staff.