MOUNT VERNON — Representatives of the Knox County agricultural community met with the county commissioners Monday to urge them to continue to fund an agricultural extension educator for the county.
Troy Cooper, former extension educator, recently resigned to take a job in Utah. Because the commissioners are in the middle of the process of preparing the county budget for 2013, they refused to commit to what extension programs they will fund until they have their final budget figures in, which won’t be until Auditor Jonette Curry provides them after the first of the year. That gave rise to fears that the commissioners were considering cutting an agriculture agent.
Remaining agent John Barker’s position is funded by an endowment from the Amos Foundation, which pays for an additional agriculture agent who will deal with issues of crop production, agronomy and farm management.
Cooper’s position costs the county $40,000. However, that isn’t necessarily what the agent is paid. Anything above that amount in wages or fringe benefits, is paid by Ohio State University.
Duties Cooper was responsible for included horticulture, livestock and local foods, including training and licensing programs for things like pesticide applications. He was also responsible for implementing Integrated Pest Management for Farmers Market and Owl Creek Auction participants, helping manage the Farmers Market and TheHarvest@Woodward food store, coordination all Master Gardener activities and working with the fair board.
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