What is in this article?:
- Georgia Extension restructuring
- Farm Bureau members surveyed
The restructuring process is necessitated by state cuts to the Extension budget totaling 23 percent in the past two years. The plan is expected to take up to 18 months to implement. "We had 480 employees statewide and now we're down to 239 agents," Beverly Sparks, UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (CAES) Associate Dean for Extension said. "We can't continue to serve at the level we have."
Farm Bureau members surveyed
Georgia Farm Bureau members were surveyed during the organization's annual Commodity Conference in July. Sparks said district Extension leaders will now begin evaluating the needs of the counties in their districts according to plan criteria and assign tier rankings. "We have turned it back over to the district level directors who know the needs of their counties and know their county funding partners to decide how services should be allocated," Sparks said. "We should know in a couple of months where counties will be placed in the tier system." Under tier ranking, Extension services will be offered as follows: Tier 1 counties will have no local Extension office, but will have a basic 4-H program offered in the school system through an employee supervised by an agent in another county. A Tier 2 county will have a core 4-H program and a county Extension office staffed by a secretary to help with diagnostic services and CES resources. A County Extension Coordinator (CEC) from another county will serve as administrator and agents will be assigned as resources, but would not generally offer programs or make client visits. Tier 3 counties will have a core 4-H program, county office staffed with a secretary and a shared agent from a surrounding county who spends time in the office. A Tier 4 county will have a 4-H program, a county office with a secretary, one county-based agent who may be agriculture, FACS, 4-H or split between program areas. Tier 5 counties will have a 4-H program, a county office staffed with at least one support position and two or more agents (1 a CEC) to provide educational programs. Tier 6 counties will have 4-H, a CEC, multiple agents and assistants.