What is Extension and how is it governed?

The Cooperative Extension Service is a national network. It links university research to people’s needs through practical education. K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a partner in the nationwide land-grant system of universities that was created in the 1860s to educate people from all walks of life and to generate and distribute useful public knowledge.

K-State scientists and extension faculty can draw on the expertise and accumulated studies and discoveries of the land-grant system, other universities, state and federal agencies, and industry.

Headquartered on campus in Manhattan, K-State Research and Extension includes statewide county/district extension offices, research centers and experiment fields supported by county, state, federal and private funds.

The Cooperative Extension Service is a national network. It links university research to people’s needs through practical education. One way this happens is through Program Development Committees, which help identify educational resources to address local needs. Currently, Lyon County has four Program Development Committees: Agriculture, Community Development, 4-H and Youth Development and Family and Consumer Science.

Each Program Development Committee has six elected members. These members are elected on the second Tuesday in October. The election is held at the Lyon County Extension Office and any registered voter can vote in the election. Advance voting in also offered. This is your chance to get involved in Lyon County Extension; we are looking for people to serve on our PDCs.

If interested, you need to come to the Extension Office and fill out the paperwork to have your name placed on the October ballot. We need to have the paperwork filled out prior to Sept. 10.

The Extension Office is located at 2632 W. Highway 50 in Emporia. You will need to tell us which of the four Program Development Committees, or PDCs, you wish to serve on so your name can be placed on the October ballot.

The work of the Program Development Committees is very important. The Program Development Committees help shape and guide the programs offered in our county. The work of the PDC includes helping identify community needs, gathering input from individuals within the communities in our county. The PDC’s also help identify resources for program delivery, brainstorm possibilities and prioritize programs for our communities. They help with logistics at events related to programs and assist with program delivery. They also can help evaluate and observe audience participation and reactions to content and activities.

The work of the Program Development Committees is guided by Extension law and clearly defined in the Extension Council Handbook. The tasks of the PDCs are varied and provide growth opportunities. The work is important. Major decisions and program direction are guided by PDC’s, which are valued parts of K-State Research and Extension.

The four PDCs, with their six elected members, each make up the 24-member Extension Council. The Extension Council elects nine Executive Board Members at the Annual Meeting. Our Annual Meetings are held in December. The Executive Board then meets every month to conduct the business of the Lyon County Extension Council. This includes employee review, monthly bills, setting a budget and other business that comes before this group.

I hope that this will help clarify what Extension is and how it is governed. If you have more questions, please call the Extension office. One of the agents will be happy to visit with you. Again, this is your chance to serve your county by choosing to serve on one of the four program development committees for the Lyon County Extension Office. You need to come to the Lyon County Extension Office prior to Sept. 10 to have your name placed on the October ballot.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of serving your county.

— Rhonda Gordon is the Family and Consumer Sciences agent for K-State Research and Extension in Lyon County. For more information on this column, nutrition, food safety, parenting, financial management, health and safety email Rhonda at rgordon@ksu.edu, call the Lyon County Extension Office at 620-341-3220. K-State Research and Extension provides “Knowledge for Life.”

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