Letter to the Douglas County Herald:
As residents of Douglas County, we have a vast number of services and programming available through the University of Missouri Douglas County Extension Center, located in the Douglas County Courthouse.
Services include soil, water, hay and grass testing; herbicide use training and license; various classes for livestock and habitat management; nutrition and health care; gardening and canning; support for Missouri 4H; and other services. If they do not have an answer for you immediately, they have specialists that will contact you to discuss each individual concern. I encourage you to take advantage of their services.
Since a few of their services and resources are free, I inquired as to how they are funded. They told me they struggle to maintain current programming and office operations, let alone implementing new services or programs like archery for 4H as suggested by one resident. Any monies they have comes from year appropriations from the county and the City of Ava, fees for specific services and resources, and donations, although those are rare. When asked the actual dollar amount they receive, I was told Douglas County contributes $10,000 and the City of Ava has been generous for several years now by voting to give an appropriation of $10,000, enabling the Extension Center to remain operational, however hours had to be reduced.
I was informed that most counties receive more than Douglas from their local governments. A map of the yearly contributions counties made to their respective extension services showed that Ozark contributes $27,000; Wright contributes $34,00, Texas contributes $44,000, Taney contributes $4,266, Webster contributes $48,500 and Howell contributes $88,000.
The Extension Center is a great asset to Douglas County. The lack of funding and general support by Douglas County government is concerning to me. I hope it is to you as well.
David E. Meier