Polk to get additional Ag Agent
The new agent would not take over jobs, but would expand the program into things such as gardening, homeowner projects, helping with soil types, and dealing with small farms.
Polk County will see the addition of another Agriculture Extension Agent, following the approval of the position by county commissioners last Thursday night. Extension Agent Greg Paxton had informed the commission during budget hearings that the possibility existed. He returned this month to seek the partial funding required to secure the position.
Paxton explained UTK and TSU were both land grant schools. He said while the program at UTK had been shrinking, TSU’s program was expanding. He reminded commissioners the county had been one agent short since the retirement of Don Ledford. To participate in the program, rural counties are required to put in 22% of salary and benefits with the state paying for the rest.
According to Paxton, TSU already has candidates who want to come to Polk County. The addition of a new agent will expand the program. He said the new agent would not take over jobs being done by himself or Donna Calhoun, but would expand the program into things such as gardening, homeowner projects, helping with soil types, and dealing with small farms. Paxton said in the spring especially, people often look for a gardening class, something that could happen with another agent. He said short course activities and natural resource programs could expand, as well as wildlife and forestry judging.
The budget request for this year was $5200. Annually, the county would be responsible for $10,400. Paxton said Polk County was chosen to be a part of TSU’s expansion over many other counties and it was a good opportunity for Polk County to have. Commissioners agreed.
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