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Be a good citizen - vote Oct. 12
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They say you should never talk about politics or religion. I’m sure I have been guilty on both counts. This really isn’t about politics though; it’s about keeping and growing strong extension programs.

Tuesday, Oct. 12 is the date for the election for the Barton County Extension Council. It will be held at the Great Bend Recreation Center, 1214 Stone St. in Great Bend. You can cast your ballot and vote anytime from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. Nominations will be taken from the floor at 7:30 a.m. when the extension council executive board opens the meeting. Please note the change in time and place from past elections.

My co-worker, Donna Krug, will be having a diabetes workshop there at the Recreation Center from 6-8 p.m. and she has a capacity crowd pre-registered for that.

I would like to encourage you, as a taxpayer and citizen, to get out and vote. Your vote really does count and it’s your responsibility to get out and vote for the people who you want to represent you.

The candidates on this year’s agricultural ballot include incumbent Doug Barrett of Great Bend, he currently serves on the executive board. New candidates include Kevin Bahr of Olmitz, Doug Dolechek of Hoisington, John Schlessiger of Claflin, and Aaron Baldwin of Great Bend.

The candidates for the family and consumer science program development committees (PDC) include incumbent Lori Richter of Hoisington. New candidates are Alicia Straub and Gwen Klepper, both of Ellinwood, and Marina de Uribe and Kathy Hayes of Great Bend.

Those for 4-H include incumbent Tracey Swalley from Great Bend, who also serves on the executive board. Also running on the 4-H and youth ballot are Shellie Thill of Great Bend, Wayne DeWerff and Elizabeth Davis of Ellinwood.

The economic development candidates are incumbent Chad Lagerman of Great Bend, Sharon Schartz of Ellinwood, and Paula Manweiler of Hoisington.

Three people will be elected to each of the committees with the exception of 4-H, where there will be four people elected due to the need to fill an unexpired term created when Kent Williams moved from our county. All persons that reside in Barton County and are 18 years of age are eligible to vote.

Extension is a three-way partnership between the county, state, and federal government. The federal government is represented by the United States Department of Agriculture Extension Service. They help provide funding to Kansas State University which is the Land Grant College in Kansas. The University helps pay salaries for extension agents, provide specialists, and publications.

In Kansas, we are fortunate to have grass roots control for extension through the county extension council. In most states today, extension is mostly state controlled without much say so from the people.

There are twenty-four members on the extension council in the county. There are six members on each of four program development committees. These committees represent the four program areas of agriculture, family and consumer science, 4-H and youth, and economic development. These council members may serve up to a maximum of two, two-year terms. We elect 12 council members each year, although some are incumbents. All of this is part of the Kansas Extension Council law.

The elected program development committees (PDC) meet 2-3 times per year to plan for extension programs. The 24-member council also meets once a year to elect a nine member executive board. This executive board is elected to meet once monthly and carry out the financial business of the council in cooperation with a representative of Kansas State University.


Forestry Fall Field Day

The Kansas Forest Service (KFS) will introduce the state’s new Jackman Demonstration Forest Oct. 14, as part of the 16th-annual Fall Forestry Field Day near the small town of Leon.

The KFS manages the property’s 1,078 acres of pasture and woodlands as an educational site, dedicated to natural resource management. David Jackman donated the land in 2009 through the Kansas State University Foundation.

Forestry Field Day registration will begin at 8:30 a.m., and the program will adjourn at 3:30 p.m. During the opening session, Shawnee County tree farmer Dennis Morris will receive the 2010 Forest Stewardship Tree Farmer of the Year award. After that, seven outdoor sessions will round out the program with the latest in natural resource management research and education.

A $12 registration fee will cover the field day materials and a hot barbecue lunch, catered by the historic Beaumont Hotel. A Web link to the field day brochure, which includes a registration form and map to the field day site, is at

The program’s suggestions, analyses, tips and hands-on tours should be useful for anyone with an interest in resource management, such as farmers, ranchers, foresters, range specialists, and wildlife biologists. The day will offer insights for the novice, as well as the more experienced. Their bonus will be the property’s beautiful forest views during fall.

Among the Kansas foresters on hand to answer questions will be Dennis Carlson, who is leading the KFS’s management efforts at the Jackman Demonstration Forest. Carlson recently received the Society of American Foresters’ Presidential Field Forester Award.

Field day topics will include: What’s That Tree?; What’s Wrong With My Tree?; Protecting Homes From Wildfire; Woodlands and Forests - The Potential; Wild Turkey Management; Sustaining Rangeland: The Prairie Ecosystem; Farm Ponds: How to Create Great Fishing Experiences.

Organizers ask that those attending preregister by Oct. 11, to help the KFS ensure the needed number of handouts and lunches are on hand. Checks, payable to Kansas State University, should go to the KFS state office at 2610 Claflin Rd., Manhattan, KS 66502. You can also call e-mail Bob Atchison, KFS rural forestry coordinator at or call 785-532-3310.

In case of rain, the event will be at the Butler County Extension Office at 206 N. Griffith in El Dorado. Leon, Kan., is about 13 miles southeast of El Dorado and less than 30 miles directly east of Wichita.

Rick Snell is the Barton County Extension Agricultural Agent for K-State Research & Extension. He can be reached at 620-793-1910 or The Barton County Extension Office is located at 1800 12th Street in Great Bend.