Rep. Tommy Hardin files to halt reduction of extension service agents

MARSHALL COUNTY, Okla. (KXII) - "With the extension service, that's been our bread and butter for 100 years is doing hands-on demonstrations," Varner said. "That's the way our service was created."

Keegan Varner is the President of the Oklahoma Association of Extension Agricultural Agents.

Varner says the agents work hands-on with farmers and ranchers, educating them with research from OSU science-based programs.

They also give kids leadership opportunities through their 4H program.

Wednesday, Madill State Rep. Tommy Hardin filed a concurrent resolution requesting the Oklahoma State University Board of Regents and the Extension Service pause their plans to reduce extension agents in the state.

"It was kind of like the legislature was left in the dark and didn't know all this stuff was coming and it has a pretty big impact on the areas we represent, " Hardin said.

Hardin says he believes the proposed reduction is because of the decrease in funding which has declined over the years.

"Now it looks like they are just going to have the one and if you want more than that then you're going to have to pay a whole lot more and I don't think the counties can afford it," Hardin said.

"If you take less of us out of the equation, less staffing, it's going to be hard for us to perform those programs," Varner said.

The reduction would also put programs offered by the extension service in jeopardy.

"As you know agricultural is very large in our state so it's very important that we keep those producers up to date," Varner said.

Hardin says he'd like to meet with OSU after the legislative session.

State Senator Frank Simpson is carrying the resolution in the Senate.



 
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