Lincoln County’s Discontinuation of Most of Extension Programs

… the reduction in funding for Extension services will have ripple effects throughout Lincoln County communities.

Letter to Lincoln County Residents

As of November 2, 2022, the Lincoln County Board has chosen to discontinue most of its portion of financial support for Lincoln County Extension programming beginning in 2023.  It chose to maintain its investment in the 4-H Educator position, and Extension will continue to support the county 4-H program next year.  Since Extension offers the FoodWIse nutrition education program using SNAP ED federal grant dollars (food stamp program), Extension will also continue to provide this education to low-income Lincoln County residents in 2023.

It is disheartening and unfortunate that the Board has chosen to eliminate most of its investment in Lincoln County Extension education. We recognize that the board has many difficult budget choices to make on an ongoing basis but the reduction in funding for Extension services will have ripple effects throughout Lincoln County communities.

Loss of Extension Programming and Community Support

As a result of Lincoln County’s substantial reduced investment in the Extension program, the Lincoln County Extension office will no longer, for example, have the capacity to deliver:

  • Health & Well – Being/Positive Youth Development Programs — Debbie Moellendorf
    • Notable programs include:
      • StrongBodies
      • Mental health related education to adults and youth
      • Social Norms project
      • Healthy Minds preventative and other education in conjunction with the Lincoln County Health Department
      • AODA education
  • Community Development Programs – Elizabeth McCrank
    • Notable programs include
      • organizational assistance for nonprofits and businesses
      • organizational assistance for local governments
      • strategic planning for nonprofits
      • rural broadband expansion planning
      • housing expansion planning
      • community health assessment planning
  • Agriculture Programs – Scott Reuss
    • Notable programs include
      • Youth Tractor & Machinery Certification Course
      • Nitrogen enhancement product research plots/nutrient management education for farms to increase crop yields and protect the environment
      • Nitrogen and sulfur rate effects on winter wheat yield research plots
      • one on one and group farm consultations
  • Office Support – Becky Kludy
    • Public/customer service include
      • answering customer questions and direction to assistance in all program areas
      • providing information on and assisting with soil sample kits, water sample kits
      • assisting with food preservation questions and pressure canner testing
      • ability to provide in office, email, and phone customer service related to a wide variety of topics
      • ability to sell plat books out of office

Limited Office Hours Starting 12/12/22

As we look to 2023 and continue to support the 4-H Program, along with FoodWIse, we want those program participants to be aware that our office will not be open for walk-in traffic.  Rather, beginning December 12, 2022 appointments can be made relating to 4-H by connecting with the 4-H Educator, Melissa Yates (melissa.yates@wisc.edu) or Art Lersch at art.lersch@wisc.edu or 715-218-5360.  Melissa’s phone number will be communicated to 4-H stakeholders and the general public once available and any FoodWIse related questions should be directed to Art.

Loss of Access to State and Regional Specialists

Also, we want to take this opportunity to remind you that without the co-investment from Lincoln County in a county support staff person or in county-based educators for Health & Well Being, Agriculture, and Community Development, the county will lose the ability to access regional and state specialists within the Division of Extension, UW Madison.  Specialist and other educator advice/efforts will necessarily be focused on counties that continue to invest in these program areas.

Thank You

It has been our pleasure to serve you and to help create positive community change in local communities.

The staff of Lincoln County Extension, Deborah Moellendorf, Elizabeth McCrank, Scott Reuss, Melissa Yates, Becky Kludy, Jeni Burton, and Art Lersch thank you for the tremendous outpouring of community support that has been exhibited for Extension education in recent months, over the past few years, and for more than a century in Lincoln County.  It has been our pleasure to serve you and to help create positive community change in local communities.

If you have any questions about how Lincoln County budget reductions for 2023 will affect Lincoln County Extension operations, please don’t hesitate to contact Art Lersch, Area Extension Director, at  art.lersch@wisc.edu or 715-218-5360. 

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