Extension Agent: DeWitt County Leadership Advisory Board participates in Issue Forum

The DeWitt County Leadership Advisory Board, from left, are David Kleinecke, Candace Cowley, Debbie Neimeier, Robert Herman, Lynette Schlenker, Cheryl Scott, Winford Matthew, Marlene Dreier-Rangnow, Alfred Rangnow, Cecelia Mendez and Leo Heinemann. Not pictured are Eddie Roeder, Bart Goebel and Larry Vasbinder.

By Anthony Netardus, DeWitt County Extension Agent The Texas AgriLife Extension Service has a rich history of providing educational programs that address the most critical issues.

To make sure that the programs being planned for the future are on target in DeWitt County, the county Leadership Advisory Board was invited to participate in an Issue Forum, May 11 at the Friar Ag Center in Cuero. The issues that the DeWitt County Leadership Advisory Board developed were those the DeWitt County Extension Agents will make every effort to address. The input that the Leadership Advisory Board contributed to this Issues Forum validated how important they are to the overall Extension Program.

WHAT IS AN EXTENSION LEADERSHIP ADVISORY BOARD?

The county Leadership Advisory Board's role is to develop a long-term vision for the county extension program, advocates for and interprets the program throughout the county, and helps develop resources for the county program. It is responsible for the "big picture" of county programming. Extension's grass-roots programming effort relies on the connections the agency has with Leadership Advisory Boards. Advisory boards are critical to extension's ability to provide locally relevant, educational programs; a strong, diverse board is vital for each county.

The Leadership Advisory Board is a diverse group of community leaders who can support the Extension program effectively. These community leaders are sometimes referred to as power actors, key leaders, influentials and legitimizers. They are known for their ability to exercise their social power in influencing the actions of others.

In every community, there are individuals who play an important role in community decision-making. They are found in local government, education, agriculture, families, the health field, or youth organizations. They are the ones people look to for leadership and who represent the opinions of the general population.

The DeWitt County Leadership Advisory Board membership includes David Kleinecke, Cheryl Scott, Cecelia Mendez, Leo Heinemann, Robert Herman, Debbie Neimeier, Lynette Schlenker, Alfred Rangnow, Marlene Dreier-Rangnow, Eddie Roeder, Winford Matthew, Bart Goebel, Candice Cowley and Larry Vasbinder.

Some of the critical issues that they developed to be addressed in DeWitt County include legal issues related to oil and gas pipelines; disposal of oil and gas drilling muds and fluids; water issues related to oil and gas drilling activity; estate planning/passing on wealth to the next generation; health care issues relating to an aging population; chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, eye care and dental care; obesity; peer pressure; youth drug use; and bullying through social media.

Some of these issues are being addressed through ongoing programming, and some of are slated to be addressed within the coming year. One of these issues, legal issues related to oil and gas pipelines, was addressed at the DeWitt County Row Crops Tour, when Judon Fambrough presented a program on "Negotiating Pipeline Easements in Lieu of Condemnation."

The county extension agents of DeWitt County are pleased to work with the Leadership Advisory Board, and look forward to addressing the critical issues of DeWitt County.

Anthony Netardus is a DeWitt County Extension Agent - Agriculture. Billy Kniffen, water resource specialist for the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, also contributed to this article.