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New faces at the Cottonwood Extension District
Donna Krug

It is an exciting time at the Cottonwood Extension Offices in Great Bend and Hays. You see, on June 3 we will be welcoming two new Extension Agents to our team.

Michelle Beran will be taking over the leadership of the 4-H and Youth program in the Great Bend office. Michelle has been in the same position in the Midway district the past three years so will be traveling a different direction when she heads to work from her home east of Odin. Michelle will be coming on board just in time to load up the counselors for the Heart of Kansas camp and head to Rock Springs Ranch. Of course with the Barton County Fair just over a month away, the pace will be fast with all of the preparations. Michelle has a passion for making a difference in young peoples’ lives which is really the most important part of her job.

June 3 is also the day that Lauren Walz will be joining us as the Cottonwood District Horticulture Agent. Since Lauren is a recent graduate of Kansas State University, with a degree in Horticulture, her first few days will be spent on campus for orientation. I know she plans to meet the Master Gardeners in Hays on June 6th and the Master Gardeners in Great Bend on June 12th. Lauren impressed me in her interview with her passion for helping others find answers to their horticulture questions. Her internship was working with a landscaping firm in Atlanta. It proved to her that she preferred living and working in Kansas so she moved to Hays.

We’re planning some welcome events during both the Barton and Ellis County Fairs for Michelle and Lauren. I’ll share those dates a little closer to the events. In the meantime, I hope you will call or come by our offices and meet Michelle and Lauren. 

A couple of other helpers you will meet if you drop by our Extension offices are our summer interns. Mikey Hughes, who will be a Senior at K-State in the fall, is getting a taste of an Extension career as she works in the Great Bend office. Kory Ridnour, who will be a Senior at Fort Hays State University, is excited to be helping out in the Hays office. Both of these young ladies have a strong background in leadership so we are looking forward to getting them involved in projects that will benefit our youth.

It feels good to be fully staffed so that we can meet the needs of the residents of the Cottonwood District and provide research based information on a wide range of topics. We look forward to seeing you soon!

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