By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
K-State Research and Extension hosts program on districting
agri deh extension district meetingpic
Attendees listen to a presentation by Phil Sloderbeck, K-State Research and Extension southwest area director, on multi-county extension districts last week in Larned. - photo by ROBIN PROFFITT Special to the Tribune

LARNED – An informational multi-county extension districting meeting Thursday, April 14, evening at Larned’s J. A. Hass Building was well attended by several Barton County Extension representatives and county officials.
Creating a multi-county District is an option proposed by K-State that would combine two or more counties into a District for K-State Research and Extension, said Phil Sloderbeck, K-State Research and Extension southwest area director. This would allow a more specialized agent to cross former boundaries sharing educational materials and direction as well as develop program leader’s exclusive to a specific program.
Discussed were elections to be included within each county Extension Board election. Currently, Executive Board members are voted on during an annual election process not affiliated with the county primary and general elections.
Working together across county lines allows the agents to specialize in their specific area of expertise, Sloderbeck said.
Many counties across Kansas have already entered into a multi-county district, some have up to four counties in one district.
Sloderbeck said the benefits include cost cutting measures and efficiencies that have previously been borne by each individual county. Duplicating materials and resources for each county becomes redundant and expensive. Each agent is better able to develop volunteerism within their districts while focus is placed on individual programming.
For a district to be formed, it must first be explored for a good “fit” with like direction and multi-county cooperation and to be able to identify holes in district programming, Sloderbeck said. Focusing on the goal of the program will determine how successful a district will be.
Historically, the mill valuation that pays for a district has lowered rather than increasing like so many educational programs.
A common question at the meeting was, “Would we lose our local fair?” The answer is no, Sloderbeck said. Each county could still continue hosting their county fair. An old adage comes to mind, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Change is hard for some but if the outcome is excellent, we wonder how we ever got along before the change occurred.
Most important to forming a district is the support of the public and the county commission. Thursday’s meeting was attended by: Barton County Commissioner Don Cates; County Administrator Richard Boeckman; and Barton County Extension agents Donna Krug, with Family and Consumer Science, and Berny Unruh, with 4-H. Barton County Extension Board members present were Kathy Rondeau, Alicia Straub and Robin Proffitt.
For more information on forming a district within K-State Research and Extension in a county, one can go to and click on Extension and type in the search field the key word “districting.”