Professor Charles M. Hampson was the original source of program development in the Florida Cooperative Extension Service. His ideas and thinking influenced most of Florida’s cooperative extension programs in their early years.
He was born in 1891. As a professor of extension education at the University of Florida, Hampson was known for being patient, understanding, observant, and willing to teach what was needed. Hampson's knowledge of what 4-H was, coupled with his vision of what 4-H could become, made him the ideal "Go Between" in planning the future of the 4-H program.
“Professor Hampson at one time served as the only University of Florida faculty member teaching classes related to cooperative extension activities,” said BJ Allen. He taught an “Extension Methods” course that helped early cooperative extension workers think about how to structure programs and conduct community outreach.
His work inspired and educated extension professionals for decades. Hampson taught academic classes and also made his nights and weekends available to offer county extension programs to educate youth and adults. His workshops used everyday problems as examples, which helped his students learn by doing.
In 1948, Professor Hampson wrote a book for well-known publisher McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. called Starting and Managing a Farm. The purpose of the book “is to help beginners get a proper start in farming and to help them farm successfully.”
One reviewer wrote, “The book is written to be read by farmers. It is eminently readable and readily understandable; all the main points are made with great clarity and even those who find most books “heavy going” should have little difficulty in reading and absorbing the many useful suggestions contained in it.” The reviewer felt that the most worthwhile part of the book rested with one key point – that the purchase, operation, and management of a farm must be viewed as a business proposition.
He also wrote a publication for the University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service called “Food for Home and Victory” that was published in 1942. With extension programs now reporting to the War Food Administration, the publication was helpful as extension workers encouraged the public to grow their own food, worked with farmers to participate in rationing and goal programs, and to help can and preserve food that might have gone to waste.
With the help of co-authors, he published additional publications with the University of Florida’s Agricultural Experiment Station that helped farmers, including the Florida Cash Rent Farm Lease Guide, the Florida Share-Tenant Lease Guide, the Florida Sharecropping Agreement Guide, the Florida Field Lease Guide, and Adjustments for Greater Profits on Small Flue-Cured Tobacco Farms (1943).
Indicators of Florida Farm Prosperity (1948) was co-authored with Daniel Alleger and published with the Florida Department of Agriculture. It explored a recent increase in prosperity among Florida farmers, while examining the declining number of farm families in Florida and making recommendations for extension workers.
His dedication to 4-H programs extended beyond the classroom on campus. Using his own money, C.M. Hampson traveled to Palm Beach County in 1953 to help BJ Allen and Elizabeth Pierce organize a senior leadership program for boys and girls.
According to B. J. Allen, "4-H was Professor Hampson's pride and joy." Professor Hampson also served on numerous graduate degree committees and was an important mentor to many extension agents who went on to work with 4-H.
His work put in place a foundation upon which cooperative extension programs in Florida were built. C.M. Hampson was truly a visionary who kept the program nestled in the solid fertile educational roots that would ensure its future.