The Extension System
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative Extension System is a reliable place to get information about plants and soil for your local area. The “extension” is a partnership between State, federal and county governments to provide scientific knowledge and know-how to the public.
Grayson and I spend quite a lot of time at our local extension agency because this is where we attend our local beekeeping meetings. We recently joined the Caloosa Rare Fruit Exchange Club which also has their meetings at the agency. We are delighted when we run into our favorite extension agent (Roy Beckford) because his sense of humor always makes us smile… and he always finds the answers to our questions.
Our local extension agency is called the University of Florida IFAS Extension. IFAS stands for Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. They have a ton of programs geared toward teaching individuals and families. They offer classes, seminars, workshops, field days and tons of other stuff. I’ve been trying to get into their “small farm day” tour where they all ride around in a comfy bus and visit great little farms. It’s always full before I can secure a spot. IFAS has a great website for small farmers at http://smallfarms.ifas.ufl.edu/.
Grayson and I are going to attend the “Goat Production and Health Seminar” at the UF/IFAS Extension Office this weekend. There is always something happening there. Check out their calender of events.
Kids can get involved with the Florida 4-H Youth Development Program with the UF/IFAS extension. This program is designed to teach children (ages 5-18) life skills with hands-on projects. They learn with the guidance of trained volunteers. Grayson is hoping to show a goat in 4-H this year. Each county offers different clubs that children can join inside the 4-H program. Our county even offered a sewing and game playing group last year.
The UF/IFAS office provides programs to teach a wide array of topics. They offer resources and solutions for everything from selecting the right crop for your area to money management. UF/IFAS can be found at Solutions For Your Life.com. Their website has an incredible amount of information. Each of Florida’s sixty-seven counties has an IFAS office. This is also where the Master Gardener Program is offered.
No matter where you’re located in the United States, a local Extension Agency is probably nearby. They are a valuable resource… use them.
Come grow with us!