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News You Can Use: March set aside to recognize extension programs

Shelly Barnes • Updated Mar 8, 2017 at 7:00 PM

March is Extension Month in Tennessee. 

Extension is a national educational program supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the nation’s land-grant universities and administered with funding from state and local governments in Tennessee through offices in each of the state’s 95 counties. 

An integral part of the land-grant mission. Extension programs are delivered in all 95 counties of the state by subject-matter specialists, county agents and volunteers associated with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture and the Tennessee State University College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences. 

“UT Extension ‘extends’ the university’s teaching and research missions to deliver research-based information and education to all the state’s citizens through youth and adult programs in every county,” said Delton Gerloff, interim dean of UT Extension. 

Latif Lighari oversees TSU Extension faculty as associate dean for Extension at TSU.

 In addition to the traditional agricultural production recommendations available through county Extension offices, services for all citizens include the state’s award-winning 4-H Youth Development Program, including its summer youth camps; family and consumer educational programs; and healthy living courses. The increasingly popular courses for Master Gardeners, and gardeners in general, are also conducted through county Extension offices.

UT Extension also performs services for the state’s citizens, including managing the statewide Soil, Plant and Pest Center through which clients can have the quality of their soil and forage analyzed and any insect pest or plant diseases identified. Extension also trains clients in the proper use of pesticides and even operates commercially certified kitchens where small-scale vendors can prepare food items for sale while meeting state guidelines for food safety.

Tennessee Extension programs can be seen as an excellent investment of public resources. The statewide educational programs in 4-H youth development, agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, and community economic development are estimated to impact the state’s economy by more than $512 million from July 1, 2015, through June 30. This amounts to a return of investment of $8.03 for every $1 in public funds invested in Tennessee Extension.

UT Extension provides a gateway to the University of Tennessee as the outreach unit of the Institute of Agriculture. With an office in every Tennessee county, UT Extension delivers educational programs and research-based information to citizens throughout the state. In cooperation with Tennessee State University, UT Extension works with farmers, families, youth and communities to improve lives by addressing problems and issues at the local, state and national levels. UT Extension and TSU Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment.

Many of UT Extension’s educational resources are also available online. From the UT Extension website choose the link to “publications” and enter the topic for which you need information to search the database of available resources. Most are available free of charge. A publications page is also available on the TSU website, which includes a list of available publications by program area.

For more information on this or other family and consumer sciences-related topics, contact Shelly Barnes, family and consumer sciences Extension agent for UT Extension in Wilson County. Barnes may be reached at sbarnes@utk.edu or 615-444-9584.

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