OUR VIEW: Extension Service: It’s good to see progress on area officesSouth Dakota State University’s Cooperative Extension Service has been busy getting situated for its new look. While the reconfiguration of the service’s statewide offices isn’t necessarily good news for farmers, ranchers and others with an interest in services provided by Extension, we are happy to see recent progress.
By: Editorial board, The Daily Republic
South Dakota State University’s Cooperative Extension Service has been busy getting situated for its new look. While the reconfiguration of the service’s statewide offices isn’t necessarily good news for farmers, ranchers and others with an interest in services provided by Extension, we are happy to see recent progress.
For instance, it was announced last month that Mitchell Technical Institute will house the Mitchell Regional Extension office. The office actually will be on the MTI north campus, at 821 North Capital St., starting next month and through October 2013, but the plan is to shift the Extension office to the new MTI south campus after that. The agreements call for the Extension office to be on MTI property through October 2016.
The agreement calls for MTI to receive approximately $100,000 per year. The deal means an end to the Extension Service’s relationship with the Davison County Fairgrounds, which previously housed Extension offices. Interestingly, the Extension Service was using the local fairgrounds rent-free for its office space, although it did pay to use additional rooms for meetings, seminars and other activities.
In other recent developments, the Winner School District approved the lease of three rooms at its former middle school to the Extension Service, which will operate a regional center in that town as well.
This is great news for residents in that area. When large budget cuts created the need to consolidate Extension centers, SDSU originally planned on operating only seven locations. Winner was added later as a way to better serve residents of the south-central part of the state.
We were disappointed to hear the news that cuts were coming to the Extension Service. Not only will it adversely affect the people who live in regions previously served by Extension, but many people within the Extension Service itself lost their jobs.
We also were not surprised that these cuts occurred. The state budget has been thrown into disarray as spending increased and revenue fell flat. Something had to give, and good programs like the Extension Service shouldered part of the burden.
Maybe South Dakota won’t be adversely affected by today’s slimmed-down Extension Service. We’ll see.
In the meantime, we are pleased that progress is happening, both in Mitchell and in Winner.