I’ve been proud to call McPherson home for more than 30 years now. I moved here in 1986 to be the 4-H Youth Development Extension Agent, and in 2000, became the Family & Consumer Science Extension Agent.

Wait–what? Where? What’s Extension?

If you’re not as familiar with K-State Research and Extension (as I think you ought to be), you’re not alone. Many people ask who we are and what we do. We’ve even received mistaken phone calls from folks thinking we are the post office. Our number is 620-241-1523, the McPherson Post Office’s is 620-241-1532.

So, let me try to answer the question “What is Extension?” and tell you why your local Extension agents are neighbors you should get to know.

K-State Research and Extension is devoted to helping people live healthy and successful lives; it's part of Kansas State University's three-fold mission and traces back to why and how K-State was created as the state’s land grant university.

Federal legislation in 1862 granted land to states for the creation of institutions that could give working-class citizens in rural areas equal access to higher education, something formerly only available to wealthy families in eastern cities. Kansas State University was founded in 1863 as the nation’s first land grant university to provide on-campus teaching, research and outreach to Kansas citizens. In 1914, another law created the Cooperative Extension Service which placed educators in the 3,000-plus counties of America to extend practical, research-based information from the land grant university right to the people. It is this outreach mission which makes land grant universities like K-State unique.

In Kansas, we are fortunate to have a great alliance with county government to support K-State Research and Extension. Federal and state funds come into Kansas State University to support the framework, administration and specialists of K-State Research and Extension. Mostly county funds, with shared state input, support the local extension offices.

Extension in each county works to meet local needs. Extension agents live in local communities, share concerns about local issues and have a stake in local success. Locally-elected citizens serve on boards and committees to guide and oversee our efforts.

While Extension programs may vary from county to county, all are designed to provide reliable, research-based education to help individuals, families, farms, businesses and communities solve problems, develop skills and build a better future.

The wide selection of Extension education and services is easy for Kansans to obtain; after all, we're located nearby! K-State Research and Extension is the front door to information from Kansas State University. Agents have access to the knowledge, experience and expertise of a statewide network of extension specialists and researchers on the cutting edge of scientific knowledge – all of whom share the goal of improving the quality of life of all Kansans, including you.

So I encourage you to get to know the personnel, programs and resources of K-State Research and the McPherson Extension Office. Our local office is located at 600 W. Woodside St. on the northwest side of McPherson. We currently have three extension agents on staff in the McPherson office.

We provide low- or no-cost educational programs that are open to the public, serve as speakers at clubs, organizations and schools, do one-on-one consultation on individual issues and share information through print, broadcast and social media.

You can connect with the services and resources we offer by calling our office at 620-241-1523, receiving our newsletter, visiting our website at www.mcpherson.ksu.edu, liking our Facebook page at McPherson County Extension Office or following us in the media.

We’re here to extend information from our state and partner experts to the people of McPherson County to help you have a better life.