Cass County Extension Agents speak to commissioner’s court about programs

Cass County Extension Agents John Ferguson and Michelle Valentin spoke to the commissioner’s court about the many programs that they have. 
Valentin spoke about what the extension office is currently doing and highlighted some of the programs.
“Thank you for all of the support you give to our office, to our youth, and supporting all of the programs we do,” said Valentin. 
“We have been without an agriculture agent for quite some time but I know all three of us have tried to do our best to help in the absence.” 
“We have done a pretty good job with the master wellness volunteers and we graduated our first class last year, there were four, we will be graduating our second class in March.” 
“We will have six more graduates of the Master Wellness Volunteer program and then we plan on doing a multi county with Bowie County.” 
“Some of the other things that we have going on is that we now have a Cass County agencies group, Cass County Agencies Providing Services (CCAPS), we have the different agencies who come together to look at the different gaps in services for people with limited services.”
“We were very successful in approaching Avinger about their Project Street and it is no longer called Project Street which is in front of the housing authority which doesn’t give them a sense of pride in where they lived so they changed it, there are no longer any Project Streets or Project Lanes in Cass County.” 
Valentin spoke about a recent program in which they placed ‘Little Free Pantries’ within the communities. 
“One of the other things we did is that we put in ‘Little Free Pantries’ which is basically a give and take where the community supports it and we now have four boxes in Cass County, there is two in Linden, one in Huffines and one in Atlanta.”
Valentin also announced that they had 60 graduates of the Texans for Better Living program there were eleven youth who graduated and 49 adults. 
Fergusson spoke about other programs and activities that the extension office has worked on along with the 4-H clubs participation. 
“What we are presenting here is just a partial part of the summary of our report that we provide every year and of course we try to make in know like interpretations like this and what we are giving you know is just tidbits of what we have been doing,” said Ferguson. 
“4-H and youth development is strictly what I do, 4-H is very broad and includes many things.”
“This month marks my sixth year of working with the Prairie View cooperative extension program with my assignment being here in Cass County.”
“Over the past year we have had 10,984 contacts and that is through volunteer contacts, direct contacts and so on.” 
“Our volunteer contact hours are 606 hours and the value of the volunteer hours is $14,628.” 
“Without you and the accommodation that you have provided us we would not be able to report information like this.” 
“I am as a 4-H agent to conduct a minimum of three programs and I have exceeded that and conducted five programs.”
“We decided to have a local leadership lab program and last year it was the first of its kind, it was a multi county youth leadership lab which required the collaboration of agents.”
Ferguson spoke about limited funding and how he goes for grants or reaches out to the community businesses. 
“To conduct what we do here I have to apply for grants, I have also reached out to the local community and they have been very receptive and that is how we come up with the funding that we need for these programs.” 
“The awesome this is that the opportunities for these kids they would not have had otherwise,” said Ferguson

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