Local 4-H members march in support of Extension taxing district

Local 4-H members marched at the intersection of 18th and Main on Sept. 30 in favor of a proposed taxing district that would provide revenue for the Oregon State University Extension Service

With the loss of federal timber safety net money, Linn County has had to cut expenditures, and in 2007, the Extension budget was reduced by 23 percent.

At the end of the week, Congress included four more years of the timb er payments in the bailout bill it passed.

In preparation for the loomng cuts, supporters organized a petition to create a new taxing district, which would provide 7 cents per $1,000 of assessed proprty valuation to the Extension Service.

Extension programs include 4-H, Master Gardeners, Master Woodland Managers, Master Watershed Stewards, Family Food Education Volunteer Program, small farms programs, Family Community Leadership, grass seed certification, livestock and forage programs and others.

The Extension’s history in Linn County started in agriculture. In the early 1900s, the emphasis of the Extension’s education was to improve farming practices. Early work was to provide information about food preservation and canning to homemakers.

Linn County is one of the state’s largest agricultural counties, with a combined farm gate value of more than $282 million last year.

More than 200 adults volunteer to lead youth clubs throughout the county. Linn County has 120 master gardeners, many working at the Extension office to staff a daily clinic for gardening questions.

The Extension office trains and supports a total of nearly 1,100 volunteers who volunteer more than 60,000 hours of service annually.

The district and tax rate will be decided by voters on Nov. 4.