In preparation for my final column as the Clark County Extension Service agent for agriculture and natural resources, I looked back in the files and found the first column I wrote for The Winchester Sun in 1996.
It is interesting how much some things have changed in 15 years, and how much some things have remained the same.
In 1996, the primary mission of the Clark County Cooperative Extension Service was to bring to the people of Clark County the research-based information that has been generated at the University of Kentucky and other land grant universities, and to help our clients use that information to improve their lives and their community. That mission remains the same today.
Something that has changed quite a lot is the way that information is transmitted. In 1996, almost all the information was handled on the printed page. The Internet was a new thing, and we had just received a grant to conduct a class to demonstrate to farmers how to search for information online.
Much of the information we handle now is processed in electronic form. I wrote that 1996 column with a pencil, Malinda Cooper keyed it into the office computer and printed it on paper, and someone carried it across the street to the newspaper office. I keyed in today’s column at my desk and emailed it to Courtney Jones, who cleaned it up and forwarded it to The Sun.
In addition to mailing newsletters, Cynthia Carr now posts them on our website, so they are available to anyone with Internet access.
As long as there remain places where Internet access is either unavailable or prohibitively expensive, the Extension Service will mail things to those who request them, but I expect that the use of electronic communication will continue to grow.
The biggest change at the Clark County Extension Service in my tenure has been as a result of the construction of the Clark County Extension Education Center.
When our offices were housed in the basement of the Clark County Courthouse, we had to borrow or rent a room any time we needed to conduct a meeting. The Extension Service building allows us much more flexibility in programming, and allows for expanded access for clients.
As I retire from active duty with the Cooperative Extension Service, I wish to thank my co-workers, the outstanding volunteer leaders, the University of Kentucky and the people of Clark County for the opportunity to serve.
The mission of the Cooperative Extension Service remains in place. My co-workers at the Clark County office, and from surrounding counties, will work to meet client needs in my absence.
The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture is now accepting applications, and plans to have a new Clark County extension agent for agriculture and natural resources in place in a month or two.