Like many men, I have trouble saying those three little words. I have gotten better as the years go by, but it is still not easy.
Quite a few years ago, I would hear the news report about a meeting that was going to be held by Iowa State University Extension or maybe they would interview someone from the Extension service about a subject they were exploring.
I dismissed anything from or by Extension because as far as I was concerned, “They’re just a bunch of eggheads living in another world. All those people do is talk to each other.”
Then I attended one of the meetings organized by my local Extension service. When the meeting ended, I walked out knowing a lot more than when I came in.
The people who gave their presentations were well informed and had something to say that I needed to know.
They were pleasant people who knew their subject well and told us where to find even more information.
That was the beginning of my experiences with the people of Extension.
In the years since, I have attended many more meetings, gone to open houses on research farms, searched for information on Extension’s website, received assistance in passing my pesticide applicator’s test and contacted them when I had a weed I could not identify.
They told me the weed was Asiatic Dayflower and they were candid enough to say it is a tough weed to eliminate and the best you can do is attempt to control it. So far, they have been right.
I have watched the Extension service work with the best kids around – 4-H members. Fair time is when you see them the most, but the program goes year around with activities and training.
I am sure Extension staff have bad days, but I have always been greeted with a smile and an attitude of “What can I do for you?” There is a lot of service in the Extension service.
I am one who can complain about my taxes and wonder if I am getting my money’s worth. Extension has always left me with the impression that I am getting at least 100 cents out of every tax dollar and is an example of government at its best.
Anyone and everyone has access to their local Extension. You can walk in the door or turn on the computer. Their information is available for the asking and it is not only about just growing crops or raising livestock.
City or country, young or old, whether you have one acre or thousands, there is much more available. Look for yourself.
When I attend a meeting sponsored by ISU Extension you will find me in the front row with a sheet of paper writing down anything I want to remember or look up on the computer when I get home.
I have gone from a cynic to a supporter.
We are in a time of fiscal austerity where everything is under review to find those places where expenses can be reduced.
I go on record saying I believe the Extension service earns its keep and hope any cuts to it will be minimal.
I began by saying I have trouble saying those three little words. Well, I can say those three little words when I have to and I will say them now.
When it came to the Extension service many years ago, “I was wrong.”
What three little words did you think I was going to say?
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at email@example.com.
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