The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 7, 2012

OSU Extension Center has expansive roots

By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID — Garfield County Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Center doesn’t just provide research and services for area farmers and ranchers.

“I’d say 70, 75 to 80 percent of our clientele are urban or home-owner clientele,” said Jeff Bedwell, extension educator for agriculture and 4-H. “The array of topics we help people with cover agriculture to horticulture to home-energy conservation. We work with a lot of things.”

He said the extension office fields questions about lawn and gardens, how to keep pests out of homes and yard to water quality issues. The center also offers a Master Gardener Training Program, and soil testing for lawns and gardens is available.

“We focus a lot of our programming to agriculture because agriculture is such an important part of the economic scheme of Garfield County,” Bedwell said. “There’s just an awful lot of questions and support we provide the community outside the realm of agriculture.”

The center also focuses heavily on area youths and families. The extension office has an educator who works with schools and clubs and conducts outreach and another whose focus is family and consumer finance education.

“Largely, about everything we do in the community is for rural development,” Bedwell said. “We’ve offered programs for wind energy and of that nature for folks in the community. We cut a pretty broad swath when it comes to programming topics and agendas.”

Bedwell said those within the extension office use planning committees to help identify what warrants immediate attention and what topics educators can focus on to meet community needs.

He said educators attend various community events and use any opportunity to educate the community.

“We try to be highly visible, as much as possible.”