Submitted by: Carla Nemecek, Southwind Extension District, Director & Agent
With the addition of Woodson County to the Southwind District, July 1, 2018, marks an important mark in time for K-State Research and Extension. The extension districting model has been in place in Kansas since 1994 when Lincoln and Mitchell Counties formed the Post Rock District, and currently contains 50 counties in 17 Districts across the State.
Increased efficiency and effectiveness were major forces when the 1991 Kansas Legislature passed the Extension District Act. The merger of county extension councils can result in increased efficiency of resources and greater effectiveness of personnel through specialization, resulting in higher quality educational programming for Kansas citizens.
Locally, the Southwind District was formed in 2010 with Allen and Neosho Counties, Bourbon County was added in 2011, and Woodson County joined our family this week. Prior to districting, all extension units operated within their own counties, most commonly with two agents in each office to represent agriculture and family & consumer sciences with shared responsibility for 4-H.
In our Southwind district model, each local office houses two agents, but job responsibilities are more focused for better specialization and agents travel throughout the district to meet the needs of local residents.
In my opinion, the district model creates an environment of teamwork and synergy that we never had as an isolated county office. Extension staff is supervised and report to the District Board, which consists of four residents from each county who are elected in the general election of odd-numbered years.
Woodson County representatives were appointed by the County Commissioners for their first term.
As District Director, I am responsible for working with our finance committee to complete the annual budget, working with the personnel committee to set goals and conduct performance reviews, and the marketing committee promotes the district through various media avenues.
We remain strongly connected to Kansas State University as it relates to funding, staffing, personnel, educational requirements, and the organizational structure of extension councils and districts. An operational agreement and memorandum of understanding were developed with the district and Kansas State University.
With the addition of Woodson County, there is a new level of energy and excitement across our staff and offices. We have high expectations for expanded opportunities for all of our programs, and we look forward to including Woodson County for years to come.
If you haven’t already, please find more information about Southwind District on our website, www.southwind.ksu.edu or our Facebook page: Southwind Extension District. Folks are welcome to contact me anytime [email protected] or 620-365-2242.