Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

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Questions! Questions!

7/26/2007 12:00:00 AM

Tags: cooperative extension service, extension office, 4-H, master gardener

Mother Earth News readers frequently contact our office to ask basic how-to questions regarding gardening, poultry and livestock. We usually refer them to our Web site, which contains over 8,000 articles from 36 years of Mother. But occasionally, the questions are of a more regional nature. People may have a specific weed problem, or might be looking for nearby feed stores or large animal veterinarians. In these cases, we refer them to their local county extension office, which can answer questions on those topics as well as many others related to sustainable living.

The Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, (CSREES) is a network of 3,000 county extension offices affiliated with over 100 state land-grant colleges and universities and overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For instance, in Kansas, where I live, all 105 counties are served by a county extension office. To find the office closest to you, click on the link above.

In addition to programs you may already be familiar with, such as 4-H (a youth program focusing on leadership, citizenship and life skills), county fairs and the Master Gardener program, county extension offices offer information on food, nutrition and health; families and youth; community and economic development; natural resources and the environment; sustainable agriculture and more. The county extension offices have publications and resource specialists relevant to all of the programs they offer. It is definitely worth a trip to your local office to meet these dedicated professionals and peruse their library of resources.

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9/5/2008 9:20:25 PM
cont. The girls all earned their coup feathers and harvest as their rewards. They also learned where peanuts gorw...under the soil. I can only hope the girls learned to love gardening as I do. I hope you get a chuckle too!

9/5/2008 5:59:44 PM
I was once "Morning Dove" chief of a Indian maiden tribe, a program offered at our YMCA. It was a wonderful program for parents and their children, that among other things, instilled values and gave priority time together. Our tribe "The Crow Maidens" was a mothers and daughters tribe. Once a month, we would meet at a members house and have our meeting where colored feathers were rewarded for achievements made and tasks completed. We would plan projects at the meetings, for our girl to experience. I had a garden plot so I offered up the idea for the girls to plant the garden, which was met with an approval from all. In my planing to have the girls plant and harvest their crops I thought long and hard before deciding what they would put in the garden so they could enjoy success with the experience. Cucumbers, beans, tomatoes, carrots, radishes, zucchini and peanuts. Hum, peanuts I thought, I'll call my Extension Service to make sure I knew how long the girls, with their mothers help, will need to roast the peanuts in the oven and at what temperature. So I called and asked the nice lady at the extension service saying, we are growing peanuts and I would like to know for how long, and at what temperature we should roast the peanuts in the oven. She replied, "you know they have some peanuts growing here at the extension now, but I don't think they are doing very well. I walked by them the other day and there wasn't a single peanut on the bush."...and no she couldn't find any information about roasting them. I thanked her and when I hung up the phone I had to laugh out loud. Don't get me wrong I have received good help from the extension before and figured that it must have been a volunteer answering the phone to help out, or at least I was hoping so. I did find the information and we did have a wonderful garden and harvest that included roasted peanuts. The girls all earned their coup feathers and harvest as their rewar

Robin Kuleck
9/4/2008 11:29:43 AM
THANK YOU for your article about Cooperative Extension. As a 12-year employee of Penn State Cooperative Extension, I still have to explain almost on a daily basis, who we are and what we do! We've been in existence for over 90 years! Our name comes from Federal, State and Local governments cooperating to extend the college knowledge generated by land-grant universities out to county resident's whose tax dollars support public institutions but who may not have the direct benefit of having a student attend. In other words - we are your tax dollars at work! is the national website where you can find information from specialists from across the nation. We provide non-formal education using a variety of modalities including podcasting and blogs! All us - we work for you.

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