They’re called extension agents, but these days, maybe “over-extended” agents would be more appropriate. The Capital Press reports that extension agents who retire or take on different duties aren’t being replaced as often as they used to be. Meanwhile, some are being asked to take on double duty as both regional extension administrators and experiment station directors. As one might expect, the reason for these reductions is budgetary:
“We’re needing to accommodate a reduction in budget coming at us the last two bienniums,” said Bill Boggess, executive associate dean of Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences. “So when somebody retires or leaves, we haven’t been filling nearly as many positions as we would have liked, and we have holes in just about any area you want to talk about.”
Notable areas that are hurting include grass seed, which lacks an agent in the number one county (Linn County) where grass seed is produced, and Christmas trees, which have one agent, down from three a year ago. Oregon may be the number one Christmas tree producing state in the country, but North Carolina, a competitor, has eight Christmas tree agents to Oregon’s one. Read more at the Capital Press website.