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The Douglas County Extension office is currently planning programs for the coming year and your Extension Council wants to know what you would like to see offered in the local area during the next 12 months.
Last spring Extension offered classes on home butchering chickens as well as a class on curing your own bacon at home. Extension also offers grazing schools and pesticide applicator certification classes for local producers, and the local Extension office does soil testing on a regular basis. This past summer there was an increased demand for testing of Johnson grass for toxic nitrates due to the extreme heat and drought.
Douglas County was recently approved for a grant to establish a community garden next spring, and the local council will be working this winter to determine a location and sponsorship for the garden. If you have an interest in helping organize, construct and maintain a community garden, contact the Douglas County Extension Office.
Activity at the Extension office in the Douglas County courthouse has increased greatly during the past year with the addition of office manager Judith Curry, and two new specialists have joined the staff at the Ava office. Shelby Yake joined the staff here as community health specialist and Katy Taylor came on board as 4-H specialist in recent months. Also working out of the Ava office is Megan Crane who is employed jointly by the U.S. Forest Service, Missouri Department of Conservation and University of Missouri Extension, and other cooperating organizations, to control the feral hog population in the Ozarks.
Sharon “Kay” Matney is a part time office employee through the AARP program, at no cost to the local Extension office.
Veteran member of the Douglas County Extension staff is nutrition program associate Rebecca Smith who works with schools in the area to promote good eating habits with children. She also works through Heart of the Hills Food Harvest to help adults organize their meal planning to promote nutrition and good hygiene, as well as how to stretch food dollars and make the best use of the foods available. During the summer she works DOW Camp, conducts Kids in the Kitchen programs, and, throughout the year spends time at health fairs and other events to promote nutrition and healthy eating habits for both children and adults.
Douglas County is able to maintain its Extension office through contributions from the Douglas County Commission and the City of Ava, but the purpose of Extension is driven by the fact that resources are almost limitless. Specialists’ duties are not restricted by county lines. Yake serves Douglas, Howell, Ozark, Taney, Texas, Webster and Wright counties through the Douglas County office. Taylor serves Ozark and Howell counties, along with Douglas, as community youth specialist.
As livestock specialist Elizabeth Picking serves Howell, Ozark, Douglas, Oregon, Texas, Wright and Taney counties, and Chloe Collins is dairy field specialist for Christian, Douglas, Howell, Ozark, Taney, Texas, Webster and Wright counties. Crane’s work with feral pigs covers almost the entire southern tier of Missouri.
Reagan Bluel serves dairy producers across the entire state of Missouri as a dairy specialist, but reports regularly to the Douglas County Extension Council, as do Sarah Kenyon, agronomy specialist, and Amy Patillo, labor and workforce development specialist. Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist, is also just a phone call away and assists the Douglas County office on a regular basis.
Janice Weddle, of Wright County, is extension engagement specialist for Douglas County. Sarah Havens is regional director for the Southwest District.
Judy Curry points out that the specialists can be contacted by phone at any time. But if an on-site visit is necessary, they are ready and willing to come to your location and provide face-to-face consultation.
If there is a program you would like to see offered in Douglas County during the coming year, contact the local Extension Office at 417-683-4409.