Extension agents outline programs for commissioners

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Texas AgriLife Extension Service continues to play an important roll in Clay County.

Monday, agents Sherri Halsell and Missy Hodgin presented commissioners with an outline of programs for the past year, and others that will be implemented in 2012.

Hodgin, who serves as the county’s agriculture and natural resources agent, said 102 county children have enrolled in 4-H for the upcoming year, and expects the number to continue to grow through December. While the number is slightly lower than in year’s past, she noted that this is the first year in which an enrollment fee was required. Early registration has ended and new members must pay $25. The fee is due to state cutbacks. Enrollment is usually between 150 and 180.

Statewide, 40,000 children are enrolled in 4-H. The organization’s goal is 60,000.

Hodgin said 72 attended the county’s feral hog program promotional meeting. Trappers continue to keep records and will continue to do so through December. The county participating in the statewide program with the most hogs captured is eligible for a $20,000 grant to be used for the control of wild pigs.

A coloring contest held during the annual “Ag in the Classroom” resulted in just the message Texas AgriLife is promoting through the event. Hodgin said one entry stated, “We’re all part of agriculture, whether we live on a farm or not.” Traveling to Byers were 160 kids representing four of the five schools in the county.

Hodgin said 53 attended a lease negotiation program held in Henrietta in October. The program covered minerals, hunting and surface leases.

Drought management will be the focus of the Fall Beef Cattle Update, set for Dec. 6.

Halsell, family and consumer sciences agent, said 20 4-H members participated in the county and district food shows, while three teams of four competed in the Food Challenge. A team of senior members paced first in the Food Challenge, earning a trip to the State Roundup in Lubbock.

The Clay County extension office has earned a grant from Blue Cross- Blue Shield of Texas to provide educational tools to Midway and Bellevue schools. Each school will receive puppets to teach the importance of each organ in the human body to students in Kindergarten through second grade. The office received a similar grant last year for Byers.

Halsell said last year’s Friend-to-Friend program on breast cancer drew 75 participants. This year, she plans to put on a program for prostate cancer, tentatively scheduled for February. Breakfast will be served, followed by a 20-minute talk. Participants will be able to schedule screenings while there.

The extension office will soon complete a five-week program for seventh graders about dealing with bullying. Halsell said this is the first year for the program, and if successful, will put on another in February.

Dates for the Clay County Junior Stock Show and Youth Fair were announced. The event is set for Jan. 12-14.

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Pioneer Sentinel

The Pioneer Sentinel is an online newspaper designed to deliver the news of Clay County, Texas, in a concise and community-friendly format.

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