UT-TSU Extension Office is here to serve

By Tom Rison

Extension Agent

Each county in Tennessee has an Extension Office, however, a lot of folks don’t know who or what we are. We get called by many names such as the County Agent’s Office or the 4-H Office. The staff at the Claiborne County Extension Office would like to let everyone know just who we are and just what we do.

The Extension system is a co-operative effort between land grant universities, the University of Tennessee and Tennessee State University in our case, the USDA, and county governments to provide education to the people. The Extension office in Claiborne County is tasked with providing education to the residents of Claiborne County. We are employed by UT and TSU but partially funded by the Claiborne County government. UT and TSU provide equal opportunities in programs and employment.

The education we provide centers around agriculture, youth development, and family and consumer sciences. My part of this is the agriculture education. I conduct education in beef production, small ruminant production, forage production, and pesticide safety. I also answer questions on many other topics such as home vegetable gardening, forestry, wildlife, entomology, and crop production. Now, I am not as smart as all this sounds but I have the resources of the University of Tennessee to draw on.

The youth development education that our office provides is handled by Lucinda Drummonds and Jennifer Gilbert. This is, of course, 4-H! Most folks in this county have been 4-H members in their younger years. 4-H club meetings still happen today with contests and educational lessons and club officers. Many of these clubs are led by teen leaders who do the teaching! 4-H is also famous for judging teams like forestry and livestock, public speaking, livestock projects and shows, and summer camp. The goal of the 4-H program is educate our youth not only with subject matter knowledge but with leadership and citizenship skills as well.

Our Family and Consumer Science education is the responsibility of Carol Brandon. She conducts programs in food preservation, diabetes education, nutrition education, bankruptcy counseling, basket making workshops and host of other programs. Carol also answers questions related to health, nutrition, cooking, sewing, and most other home-related questions.

Our Tennessee Nutrition and Consumer Education Program is conducted by Jackie Payne. TNCEP is a grant-funded program that teaches both youth and adults about selecting, purchasing, and preparing healthy foods.

Pam Lester, our administrative assistant, keeps our office running and is the first person you’ll meet when you call or stop by our office. She will get you directed to right Extension agent to get your question answered.