Extension agents report to Quorum Court

Thursday, October 11, 2018
County Extension Agents Leigh Blythe, Jeffrey Works, and Craig Allen spoke to Poinsett County Justices on Monday evening. (DT Photo/Curtis Sanders)

In the regular monthly meeting of the Poinsett County Quorum Court, County Extension Service Agents presented their annual reports to justices.

Printed material explaining all the programs the Extension Service is involved in throughout the year was handed out as well as printed material about the ballot issues on the mid-term election coming up in November.

Extension Staff Chairman Craig Allen told justices that the primary function of Extension Service is to present unbiased information to the citizens and farmers of the county.

Allen told everyone assembled that there are five ballot issues for the coming election and that four of them are facing lawsuits to try and keep them off the ballot.

The lone issue that will definitely be on the ballot is Issue 2, which reads, according to the 2018 Voter Guide published by the University of Arkansas Extension Service, "A Constitutional Amendment adding as a qualification to vote that a voter present certain valid photographic identification when casting a ballot in person or casting an absentee ballot."

The issues that are being challenged in court are Issue 1, an amendment concerning civil lawsuits and the powers of the General Assembly and Supreme Court to adopt court rules, Issue 3, Arkansas Term Limits Amendment, Issue 4, an amendment to require four licenses to be issued for casino gaming at casinos--one each in Crittenden (to Southland Racing Corporation), Garland (to Oaklawn Jockey Club, Inc), Pope, and Jefferson Counties--Issue 5, an act to increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage.

Allen said they had placed the Voters Guide in the county courthouse and all the city halls throughout the county.

Another subject spoken briefly about was the depleting water table. Agent Jeffrey Works said the aquifers are not regaining levels at a higher rate than the water being pumped out. Allen said this is the reason the Extension Service is providing programs to farmers to help them better use irrigation waters and save to reuse those waters. Retaining surface water has been another step toward saving the aquifers.

Home Economist and 4-H Agent Leigh Blythe told Justices about some of the programs the Extension Service provides throughout the year to assists citizens. "We are able to partner with DHS on some programs like SNAP," said Blythe. She explained that after an individual has been approved for SNAP benefits, then they are set up to take part in the Extension Service Programs that help them better understand how to use those benefits to get the most out of the aid.

According to the printed material provided, the U of A Research and Extension Programs provided 45,274 educational classes, 21,649 landowner visits and 69,285 individual consultations, 1,609 field days, 3,310 county demonstraions, 2,120,933 face to face contacts and 4,509,775 indirect contacts through newsletters, brochures, social media and website visitors, last year.

Justices also learned from County Judge Bob Cantrell that four graders had come off lease and been picked up for inspection, and the county had no chargebacks on the equipment. Cantrell said the graders had been picked back up by the county and will be back to work as of Tuesday.

Justices also approved an appropriations ordinance that totaled $22,135.89 in appropriations and transfers.

Judge Cantrell also announced that the meeting time for the November meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. The November meeting will also change venues because of the November election and will be in the courtroom at the County Detention Center.

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