Agriculture is at the core of the Barbour County Extension Service’s mission, but their reach goes well past the farms and fields.
The Alabama Cooperative Extension System was created in 1914 following the passage of the Smith-Lever Act. Over the last 100-plus years, the role of extension has changed drastically.
“Extension deals with almost anything that is living,” said Allie Corcoran, Barbour County Coordinator. “We do things with agriculture, family management, financial management, 4H and youth development. Extension was started in the early 1900’s as a way to get the latest technology to the farmers. However, over the years it has transformed in to something else. We have an agent that can help in nearly every aspect of someone’s life.”
Extension maintains an office in each of Alabama’s 67 counties, and a team of regional agents. The regional agents specialize in a different aspect of daily life, such as financial planning, home and garden, livestock production, row crops and more.
Each county coordinator works to ensure the needs of the community are met. With timber production and forestry being one of Barbour County’s leading industries, Barbour County hosts different events tailored to that line of work.
“We have done a lot of forestry workshops lately,” said Corcoran. “We are working on a Timber Tax Seminar for people to learn the tax codes and formats when dealing with forestry. Forestry and timber production is a big thing in Barbour County, so these workshops are valuable to a lot of people in the area.”
Agriculture is the key to life for everyone, and still a way of life of many in Barbour County. However, in 2017, the youngest generation is far removed from most aspects of farming or the farm-to-table cycle.
Through the 4H wing of the Extension system, Corcoran and her staff are working to make sure every young child is exposed to the importance of agriculture.
“It is my mission to instill in kids that agriculture is the backbone of life,” Corcoran said. “Kids today are so far removed from that way of thinking. Without agriculture, there are no grocery stores or nice clothes they are used to. We are working on some projects and events to re-engage the youth with agriculture and show them the importance of it.”
To inquire about the services offered by Barbour County Extension, contact 334.687.5688 or visit the state website at www.ACES.edu.