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Cottonwood Extension District is making an impact
Donna Krug

It doesn’t seem possible that it has been three years since our Cottonwood Extension District formed, joining the K-State Research & Extension operations for Barton and Ellis Counties. As our team of seven agents and two support staff work hard to bring research based, non-biased information to lifelong learners in our area, I am excited report some of the successes of 2020.

I hope you have had an opportunity to utilize our services in the past year. 2020 provided many challenges for families, but some neat learning opportunities were created by those challenges. As virtual meetings and educational programs became the norm, participants, young and old, adapted to the world of technology. 

Perhaps your family is involved in 4-H or an after-school program. If so, we have two experienced agents, Michelle Beran and Susan Schlichting, leading the youth development program in the Cottonwood District. If you visit the Kansas 4-H website you will find links to the Clover Classroom with project challenges in photography, pollinators and communication, with more to come in 2021.  

Our District Agriculture and Natural Resource agents, Alicia Boor and Stacy Campbell, have specialized to focus on livestock programming and crops respectively. Both Alicia and Stacy have produced teaching videos related to hot topics that are posted on our Cottonwood District Face book page.

Master gardeners in Ellis and Barton Counties receive guidance from our District Horticulture Agent, Lauren Fick. Lauren has worked hard to provide a fresh new look on our website’s horticulture page. She also prides herself in answering yard, garden and tree questions in a timely manner. 

And finally, Berny Unruh and I are committed to bringing Extension educational programming related to nutrition, health and wellness, food safety, family resource management, aging issues, and family life in general. The Stay Strong, Stay Healthy workshop that focuses on strength, balance and flexibility, reached 70 individuals district wide in 2020. More workshops are scheduled for 2021.

I would be remiss not to mention our two experienced office professionals. Brenda Walton, in the Great Bend office, takes the lead with the finances for the district while Theresa Meis, in the Hays office, focuses on communicating our efforts through newsletters and our web site. Both Brenda and Theresa handle a multitude of other duties that keep our offices running smoothly. 

It is great news that K-State Research and Extension has answers to many of life’s questions, typically at no or low cost. Unlike what you might find through a Google search, the answers we provide are research based and non-biased. I hope you will take a look at our Cottonwood web site and like our Cottonwood Facebook page. We hope to see you at some of our upcoming programs. 

While our Cottonwood Executive Board remains the same for next year, it is not too early to consider stepping up and running for a position during 2021. There will be two positions on the ballot in both Barton and Ellis Counties next year. If you have questions about what serving on our board would entail, feel free to give me a call.

Donna Krug is the Family & Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Cottonwood District. Contact her at 620-793-1910 or