South Dakota extension changes begin next week

The South Dakota State University Extension Service rolls out its new regional operation next week.

“We’ve got furniture and offices and people ready to start next Monday,” said Dr. Barry Dunn, Dean of the SDSU College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, in an interview with Watertown radio station KWAT. “I think the offices will actually be open on Tuesday; we’re going to let the people settle in for a day, but we’re getting to work next Monday.”


The regional extension centers will open in eight locations around South Dakota housing specialists in several areas of expertise. However according to Dunn, there are still many specialist positions that have not yet been filled.

“Part of that was location, we didn’t have people who wanted to work here or there, and part of it was we had a pretty high standard of the people that we were hiring, so we don’t have them filled yet and we’re going to re-advertise,” said Dunn.

Some people are slow to embrace the changes taking place in the extension service, according to Dunn, but he says most people are on board.

“Eighty percent of the people are very, very supportive and 20 percent have offered some tough questions and some criticism and that’s fine, but really the majority of people have been very supportive,” said Dunn.

Dunn says South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard offered compliments last week about adoption of the new extension model in an open letter.

The regional extension model replaces the system that evolved from having extension agents in most counties of South Dakota.

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