Unsung Heroes


We’ve lived all over the United States and a bit of time outside the country as well, and we’ve met a lot of great people from all walks of life in the process.  However, one group of wonderful folks we really didn’t get to know before we moved out to our farm.  Boy, have we been missing out!

These folks have been Godsends to us as we’ve muddled through small-scale farming, visiting us, training us, giving us advice, and even helping us teach our kids about agriculture.

Who are these amazing unsung heroes?  They’re the folks at the Merrimack County Cooperative Extension Office, the local branch of the statewide University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension!

How they get to all the things they do, I’m really not sure.  As we approach the first year on our little farm:

  1. A forester has walked our woods with us to help us with our forest management plan.
  2. A poultry inspector has tested our flock as part of the NPIP.
  3. The office has tested our soils and made recommendations for improvement.
  4. We’ve received advice on garden management and care.
  5. We participated in a seminar on goat care (and are starting another 5-week series)
  6. In the next few months, we are attending clinics on fruit tree pruning, gardening, forages and pasture management, and more.
  7. We’ve pored over the volumes of information available on their website, and used some of their curriculum to supplement our homeschool program.
  8. All of our kids are immersed in 4-H activities ranging from animal sciences to riding to crafts.

I’m pretty sure there are things I’m leaving out.  The bottom line is: EVERY one of these activities is supported to some extent (or entirely) by the county extension office, for a minimal fee if not free.  This is all made possible by the superb staff as well as a huge network of volunteers they coordinate.  We have been overwhelmed by how active and involved these people are and are indebted to them for their help.

Here is a video they produced to tell a bit more of what they do:

We have a long way to go at the Flying T, but we’d be much further behind without their support.  So, we’re taking this time to say THANK YOU to Deb, Nancy, Dot, Tim, Mary, Amy, and all the rest of the unsung heroes at the extension office that do so much with so little!

How about you?  Do you have an active and involved extension office, and how do you rely on them?

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Wow that sounds fantastic, nothing like that out here, just corn and beans out here! they do not manage trees they remove them to make room for another row! how wonderful that you have such advisers.. c

    Reply

  2. Posted by redgatefarm on February 17, 2012 at 9:58 am

    We have an extension service we are interested in using at Red Gate, however, I am concerned that most of their advice will involve pesticides, weed killer, and other chemical treatments. What has your experience been regarding that?

    Reply

    • Not the case here. I think they will support “modern” ag techniques, but there definitely is a movement toward sustainability in the NH extension. Nobody has pushed pesticides, antibiotics, or other chemicals. In fact, I got some superb info on ecologically-based weed control techniques from them that I’m using to improve an old, neglected pasture. They’re also tied in pretty well with the NH Organic Farmers Assn, though we’re not pursuing certification at this time.

      Reply

  3. Posted by perilousvoyageofme on February 17, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    I’m really enjoy reading through your blog. I found you guys after you “liked” a blog post of mine on GMO food. It’s so awesome to see other believers who are making amazing lifestyle and health choices. I look forward to reading more!

    Reply

  4. Knowing how to stop and say thank you can be a lost art… but clearly not lost to you. (Am I surprised? Of course not!) – Another thing that comes to mind, and your article is a reminder: So often, perhaps out of pride, we “fail” to seek assistance from others who may have knowledge we have yet to acquire. Learning continues outside of the classroom. In fact I often think that what we teach each other has greater value because it is more personal, closer to the heart, to the truth, somehow. Not that formal education is something to be frowned upon, but is it not true that the teachers we remember most are those who were able to take teaching out of the box and make it more human. Am I making any sense?

    Reply

Please feel free to comment or respond - we may take a bit to get back to you (between feeding animals, mucking stalls, mending fences, and chasing the goats out of the chicken coop again!)

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