Finding and Using County Extension Agents

County extension agents can be great resources for those wanting to buy land for a homestead.

| January/February 1976

If you have a homestead — or are thinking of getting one — you owe it to yourself to become familiar with a rich source of information, advice, and useful publications about everything from livestock to bicycles to rockets to yeast breads to methods of pruning that favorite fruit tree.

This fountain of knowledge is known as the Extension Service and its representatives are called Extension Agents. (Although, to be sure, they're frequently more colloquially referred to as county extension agents or agricultural extension agents.)

The ES has branches in every county of the United States, if you can find them. And therein lies the rub, thanks to the independence which the organization grants to each of its outlets. Mine may have decided to be known as the Middlesex County Extension Service, yours might be the Crawdad County Cooperative Service, and the one down the road could be called the Pigseye County Agricultural Center. As should be expected, this game of musical monikers sometimes makes finding the bureaus in the telephone book just a little bit sticky.

Tracking down your nearest ES office can be well worth the effort, however, even when you have to resort to a bit of detective work to do it. If all other clues fail you, remember that Extension Service offices are usually, located in the post office building down at the county seat. And if that lead doesn't help, address a letter to the Extension Service Director of the local College of Agriculture at your state university and ask him to help you!

The Extension Service, is made up of three main branches:

1. 4-H and Youth,
2. Home Economics
3. Agriculture (which, in many cases, now includes Community Development)

At one time or another, you may well want information that falls within the province of any one, two, or three of the trio. For the purposes of this short discussion, though, I'd like to concentrate on the help that a typical back-to-the-lander is most likely to receive from the agriculture section of the ES.

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