By Sarah Ransom
Agriculture has deep roots to residents in Johnson County. In the last 108 years, Extension, a partnership with The University of Tennessee and Tennessee State University, has been part of the county. From dairy, tobacco, green beans and cattle, the principal crops have changed throughout the years.
Rick Thomason said, “In my 27-year career in Extension, our educational focus in agriculture has shifted from tobacco production, which used to be our number one agricultural enterprise in the county to our present top enterprise in beef cattle and forage production.”
When you look at
Extension, you will discover education programs
and five helpful people – Rick Thomason, Agriculture and Natural Resources/Community Economic Development Agent, Sarah Ransom, Family, and Consumer Sciences/4-H Agent, Danielle Pleasant, 4-H Agent, Leigh Anne Shull, 4-H Assistant and Melissa Rupard, administrative assistant.
Extension’s goal is to provide real-life solutions and deliver educational, research-based information to the public.
“Extension provides you research-based information on pretty much any area of your life; we’re a one-stop shop,” Ransom said.
One of the best parts of Extension is its community partners, so if they cannot help you, they know who to talk to.
Extension works hard to stay up to date on the latest events, research and methods in agriculture, food safety, nutrition, natural resources, relationships, and all things youth development.
Tennessee 4-H is one of the strongest programs in the nation, and Johnson County 4-H is thankful for the partnerships with the schools that allows for every student the opportunity to participate during a short session during their school day once a month.
Projects help students gain practical life skills while assisting them in meeting educational standards.
Pleasant emphasized that 4-H is a diverse program, with activities and opportunities for our youth in twenty-six project areas.
“Watching youth try new things, learn to deliver judging reasons or become independent at camp are just a few of the invaluable experiences that will benefit them for life. It is truly a joy to be a part of their learning experience,” he said.
New and future things happening at the Extension office include STEM projects, clothing, and textiles project groups, arts and craft project groups, workforce preparedness for adults, beef classes, grants for farmers and producers and much more.
Shull said, “This is the perfect job because I love to be involved in agriculture. I also love working with kids, watching them learn and discover new things. Being able to combine two of my favorite things makes going to work a pleasure.”
Everyone loves working with their community and hopes to continue serving for many years to come. Extension has proven to be a great benefit in our county over the years to help improve the lives of our families.
The future is bright, and we look forward to meeting the changing needs of the county.
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