By Tim Linscott
Perkins County Extension Agent Doug Anderson will be getting his mail somewhere else, so to speak, but will still be helping answer questions in the area.
Anderson will soon be covering Keith and Arthur counties instead of Keith and Perkins County.
Due to the new Henry J. Stumpf International Wheat Center about to break ground near Grant, the needs for the region have shifted. The University of Nebraska Extension wants to best fulfill the needs of the area and Anderson explains that his ‘homebase’ will now be out of Ogallala but he will still be available to answer range questions in the region, which is his area of expertise.
The university is looking for someone with an agronomy background to step into Anderson’s spot in Perkins County.
“My expertise is range and 4-H, and I will still be the contact person for Perkins County. The new hire will be an agronomy and cropping person,” Anderson said. “They will do cropping and agronomy in Keith and Arthur, too.”
Anderson called the upcoming situation a ‘divide and conquer’ scenario, where each extension educator will have a ‘home base,’ where they do day-to-day work and county fairs but will also be a resource for the entire region in their area of expertise.
“I will get my mail in Ogallala, but if someone needs something, anyone in southwest Nebraska can call on me for answers,” Anderson said. “This doesn’t cut me off of Perkins County, it adds a cropping person to the area.”
Deb Kuenning will still be in Perkins County concentrating on youth.
No date has been set for when the change in offices will take place.
Keith, Arthur and Perkins counties have been utilizing personnel amongst the three counties for over 10 years and Chase, Dundy, Hayes and Hitchcock counties have been doing the same for longer.
“When you have these groups made, there are arrangements made between the counties and they will have to re-arrange those, so it will take a little time,” Anderson said, adding that no definitive date has been set, but he guesses the changes will take place before fair season starts this summer.
The job description for Perkins County has been posted already and gathering a pool of candidates has already started.
Anderson has been an extension educator in Perkins, Keith and Arthur counties for eight years.