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Thursday, October 28, 2010 - 9:43am

Extension Offices Seeing Changes

A nearly 100-year-old program that benefits farmers and students is changing the way it does business. Budget cuts are forcing changes in Georgia’s county extension offices.

Over the last two years the program has seen its budget cut 23-percent. The 159 county offices provide services like soil testing, advice for farmers and 4-H programs for students. It is free and links university experts with the public.

The program’s Beverly Sparks says the new tiered system will put staff in priority locations based on population, the number of school-aged kids, and farms.

“When you look at the map of where we have placed our employees it’s going to be where we have the most intense agricultural production throughout the state.”

Sparks says some 4-H programs will become quote, ‘very basic’. The tiered program will also help make any further cuts easier.