Your Opinion: Extension offers wide-ranging array of programs

Dear Editor:

With the conclusion of the county fair and state fair just starting it is time to remind everyone of the amazing and often overlooked contributions made by the University of Missouri Extension programs to the viability and quality of life to the citizens of Cole County and Missouri.

Every year more than 15,000 Cole County citizens turn to the Cole County Extension Center to gain practical knowledge, solve problems, adapt to change and make informed decisions ultimately improving their lives. Statewide each year over one million turn to Extension for assistance.

Extension is often perceived as a resource just for agriculture. Yes, Extension originally focused on the agriculture. However as the needs of Missouri changed, so has Extension.

Last year Extension specialists and assistants have provided improved the health of school children and diabetics through nutrition education and conducted exercise programs for adults and seniors. The Master Gardeners not only beautified the grounds of local organizations their donated labor saved those organizations thousands of dollars.

4H, another Extension program, helps prepare our youth to be responsible citizens. Although the livestock and projects displayed at the fair is the end result of 4-H’s efforts, the skills they learned and the experiences they gained will help our youth become tomorrow’s leaders. 4H activities are not just limited to agriculture, robotics, understanding local government and college orientation for youth whose parents did not attend college are also 4H programs offered through Extension.

Business development programs provide training and counseling that has helped create and retain local jobs by assisting business to open and grow.

Across the entire state Extension’s business programs helped create or retain over 16,000 jobs and generate $1 billion in economic impact.

What makes the Cole County Extension Center unique and effective is the way it is funded and governed. Federal, state, county governments provide much funding to support your local educational resource. Therefore, we can improve your quality of life at minimal cost.

The Cole County Extension Council comprised of elected and appointed members represents county residents in delivering these educational resources.

Our Extension Center is an amazing resource to our community. If you would like to learn more about what Extension has accomplished in Cole County, visit our website at www.extension.missouri/cole and read our annual report. If you prefer videos, go to http://extension.missouri.edu/news.

Issue-oriented letters to the editor in response to this or about other local topics are welcome. All letters should be limited to 400 words. The author's name must appear with the letter, and the name, address and phone number provided for verification. Letters that cannot be verified by telephone will not be published. Send letters for publication to editor@newstribune.com

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