Grassroots assessment meeting provides valuable feedback

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Those who think the Alabama Cooperative Extension System is just about 4-H, don’t know enough about the Extension System.

The Extension System touches almost every life in some way every day, directly or indirectly.

Regional Extension Agent Ricky Hudson’s remarks at the 2012 Grassroots Assessment Meeting at Cattleman Park Tuesday put an exclamation mark on the importance that agriculture plays in the lives of each and every person.

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“By the year 2040, there will be nine billion people on the planet and, if enough food can’t be produced to feed them all, everyone will be hurting,” Hudson told the Extension agents and community leaders who attended the meeting. “That’s the importance of refocusing energy and dollars back into agriculture.”

With less than 2 percent of the nation’s population involved in the production of food, it’s imperative, Hudson said, that ways are found to keep these people and future generations on the farm.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System has a focus on agriculture. Extension agents are available to assist producers through Extension’s animal science, livestock and commercial horticulture programs and also with the economics of farm management.

But, the Extension System also has programs on human nutrition, diet and health, consumer science and financial management, family and child development, and, of course, the 4-H programs that touch tens of thousands of young lives each year – 1,500 in Pike County alone.

Regional extension agents from each of the program areas spoke to the Wednesday gathering.

“We’ve probably had an Extension overload today,” said Grant Lyons, Pike County Extension coordinator and meeting host. “But the participants received some very timely information and some very beneficial information. We had an opportunity to discuss Extension programming and to look forward to the future as we partner with the community.”

As interesting and informative as the presentations were, Lyons said the feedback from the Grassroots Assessment Meeting is essential in determining the needs for Pike County and directing the planning for future programs.

“The feedback will help to ensure that we are providing relevant and impactful programming to the citizens of Pike County,” Lyons said. “Our goal is to be visible in the community and provide updates on what our office is working on to make life better for all Pike County, now and in the future.”