So it looks as though Bryan County is losing its extension agent from the University of Georgia – Don Gardner, who currently holds the position, recently announced he is heading south to Glynn County to take the reins of the extension services there.
And what has been deemed worthy of only a part-time position here in Bryan County will remain vacant. But hopefully, the loss of a full-time agent will be more of a technicality, so to speak. And according to Gardner himself, that should be the case.
Gardner, who lives in Keller, has graciously offered to serve as an agent for South Bryan in addition to his regular duties in Glynn County.
“As the ranks of extension agents in the state thin, we have to find ways to cover as many bases as possible with fewer agents,” Gardner said his column last week. “While I am leaving, I won’t be gone. I still live here. I plan to continue … answering questions, taking calls and making site visits for homeowners and commercial businesses in the Richmond Hill area, but I will be doing those either first thing in the morning or in the evening.”
If the South Bryan work load gets to be more than Gardner can handle, then Liberty County agent Robert Bell will also be available.
Gardner pointed out in his column that it’s easy for him to service South Bryan because he lives in the area. But what makes it easy to help out in the south end happens to also make it difficult to do the same for the north end.
However, North Bryan will not be left high and dry. Carole Hicks Knight, the agent for Bulloch County, will be available to help out those in the Pembroke and Ellabell areas. Knight told the Bryan County News that she’s happy to help out. And according to Gardner, North Bryan will be lucky to have her assistance – especially for those raising cattle, because Knight’s own father, Ray Hicks is a well-known cattleman and also an extension agent for Screven County.
While losing a full-time extension agent is as disappointing as it is a sign of economic troubles for the university program, it is so nice to see people who are familiar with our area and needs come together to make sure the agricultural community of Bryan County doesn’t feel abandoned. And though this new system still has to prove itself, we have faith that it will – and we offer thanks to the area extension agents for their willingness to give it a try.