NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - For the first time in several years the Nacogdoches County Extension Service is fully staffed. A third agent joins two others. The new agent comes from the Prairieview Cooperative Extension Program.
The focus will be helping individuals with limited resources and minority farmers and ranchers.
This may be one of the few times the newest Nacogdoches County agent John Miles will in the office. His plan includes outreach and networking to a significant group of farmers and ranchers.
"There are about 40 percent of minority farmers and ranchers here in Nacogdoches, which is a large percentage," said John Miles, the new extension agent for Nacogdoches County.
Program development comes from the Prairie View A&M Cooperative Extension. Billy Lawton is the program leader.
"Our mandate is to reach out to some various classes that USDA has defined and those are socially disadvantaged, limited resource, beginning farmers and ranchers and veteran farmers and ranchers," said Billy Lawton, the program leader for ag and natural resources. "And the veteran part was added in the new Farm Bill, the 2014 Farm Bill."
The groups don't typically visit county extension offices, so Miles will seek them out. Programs will then be developed to meet their needs.
"To get them to understand there are modern technologies in the world of agriculture today," Miles said.
Miles will partner with Texas AgriLife agents. Ricky Thompson recognizes the two programs have distinct differences, but share a common goal.
"The extension is about outreach, and that's the kind of things that all of us do," said Ricky Thompson, the Texas AgriLife county extension agent for Nacogdoches County.
County Agent Claudann Jones will work with Miles to build diversity in the 4-H program. Community gardens is another partnership.
"It's feeding those limited resource clientele and teaching them sustainability, so that's one of the efforts John and I work on together, as well as 4-H efforts," Jones said.
Miles is ready to get started.
"I think I'll be able to do it," Miles said.
The new agent was introduced to the Nacogdcohes County Commission Tuesday. The county provides office space and office administration for all the agents. The salaries are paid through Texas A&M AgriLife and the Prairie View A&M Extension Service.