Contributed by: Chip East, Regional Extension Agent, Commercial Horticulture
The Alabama Cooperative Extension System is an extension of our land grant schools. In Alabama, we have Alabama A&M University, Auburn University, and Tuskegee University. We are here to bring education from these schools out to all parts of the state.
There is no way I can write down everything the Alabama Cooperative Extension System does, but I will provide some general ideas of the kind of questions people commonly ask. Keep in mind that I work in the area of agriculture, so many of the questions unrelated to agriculture are never forwarded to me.
What variety of tomato, corn, watermelon, or any other vegetables are recommended? What is the best way to propagate a particular plant? What disease or insect is on my vegetables, fruit, turf, or ornamental shrub, and how do I manage it? Why doesn’t my pecan tree produce? What is the best way to manage weeds in my lawn, garden, landscape, pasture, hayfield, or pond? What is the best fertilizer for my garden, hayfield, turf, pasture, food plot, or landscape? What is the best method to irrigate a garden or lawn? Should I fertilize and lime my fishpond? Should I record how many fish I harvest from my pond? I need to stock my fishpond, what kind of fish and how many should I stock? Do you have plans for a bat, duck, bluebird, or owl nesting box? How do I manage ticks, ants, mosquitos, rats, snakes, etc. around my home? What is the best way to can or freeze produce from the garden? Should I test my well water? How do I attract wildlife such as deer and turkey to my property? How do I discourage wildlife from my property? What is the cost of production for tomatoes, cotton, soybeans, corn, blueberries, strawberries, etc.? One of the common questions clients ask me is, “I have land and want to farm. What should I grow?”
There is no way to list all the information that Extension has to offer. We have Extension agents and specialist that can provide information in most anything in the area of home horticulture, commercial horticulture, money management and workforce development, animal science and forages, 4-H and youth development, forestry, wildlife and natural resources, agronomic crops, human diet, nutrition, and health, family and child development, as well as food safety and quality.
We would like to provide this information in a proactive way, such as conducting meetings in locations across the state. We can reach more people in a shorter time if we have educational meetings in different counties, but we still work one-on-one with clients as well. There are few of us Extension Agents and many clients, so it would help if you have a question to take a look at our website at www.aces.edu and type in your topic in the “Search Our Site” box in the top right corner of our webpage. You can also find a calendar on our webpage that lists all the upcoming meetings. I was attending Extension meetings long before I became an Extension agent. If you are not using the Cooperative Extension System, you are missing out on lots of information.
Much of our information can be found on our website, but feel free to email or call your county Extension Office when you need information (Autauga County Extension, 334-361-7273). You can also contact your County Extension office to find other ways of receiving information such as newsletters, email, and social media.
Dr. Chip East
Regional Extension Agent
Alabama Cooperative Extension System