Who Ya Gonna Call? County Extension!


There’s something weird going on with that tree in your backyard.

You want to know why you can’t grow peppers in your garden.

You want to learn how to can or dry all those tomatoes you bought at the farmers market, but you don’t want to kill yourself or your family.

There’s this bug eating your flowers, and you don’t know what it is.

Who do you call?  You call your County Cooperative Extension Office, and they send an agent out to help you.  Or they set up a class based on the local need for certain kinds of skills.  This is the whole purpose of Cooperative Extension–education and outreach based on local need.

As the nation’s needs continue to change, cooperative extension’s role has changed to meet them and regardless of the labels given to extension programs, it is the people served who are important. Extensions overall objective will be to continue to plan, execute, deliver and evaluate learning programs consistent with locally identified needs. Extension will help people acquire the understanding, capabilities, attitudes and skills essential to solving farm, home and community problems. [“Brief Historical Perspective of Cooperative Extension.” Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences.]

My understanding of everything the Cooperative Extension does is fairly limited, but the more I learn, the more I see the genius behind this government program (that is, redistribution of wealth for the good of all) that bases its programs on what is needed in the communities they service.

I used to think of the Extension as something only for farmers or 4-H-ers.  But it’s not–it’s for all of us.  There’s a brief history of how the Extension came to be created here.

Basically, the Cooperative Extension is tied to the Land Grant University system, and it’s the main reason I can’t engage in the grand USD ‘Yote tradition of Jacks-bashing: SDSU is the land grant institution in this state, and I’ve met some incredibly helpful people there and attended some incredibly helpful conferences that were put on by that institution.

A couple of my readers and I were discussing the possibility of food preservation classes in our area, so I called our local Extension office.  They forwarded my message to our Extension Educator, who called me back.  She’s setting up next year’s educational agenda now, and welcomes input for the kinds of programs the public would like to see them offer.

If there’s a specific educational program you’d like to see in your community related to home or garden, field or kitchen, call your county extension (listed in the phone book under your county government) and let them know.  Their purpose is to provide education and outreach to you and your community, and since your tax dollars are paying for it, your voice ought to be heard.

You can find your local Extension office contact info by clicking on the map here.

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