CESP 3-9: County Extension Program Planning
Date Revised: 6-27-2022
Summary: Establishes a structure for organizing County Extension Program Planning Committees.
The County Extension Program Planning Committees work with county Extension agents to plan, implement, evaluate, interpret, and support the local educational program. The effectiveness of a county's Extension program depends on involvement of local citizens in program development.
The basic units of the County Extension Program Planning Committees are:
- Program Committees
- County Extension Council (Optional)
These committees give leadership, direction, coordination, and support to the county Extension program. The committee members serve as advocates for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service program and assist in making decisions to guide the direction of Extension programming in the county.
Program committees are appointed to address specific program areas or issues. These committees will include the following:
- Family and Consumer Science, EHC Expansion and Review (if EHC is present in the county)
- 4-H Youth Development, 4-H Expansion and Review
- Community Development
Program committee member appointments will be made in collaboration with the Staff Chair and the appropriate county Extension agent or agents. Committee membership should reflect appropriate geographic, organizational and population diversity to insure active participation from all areas of interests. Reflection of population diversity should consider gender, age, racial-ethnic population segments, and socioeconomic levels. All appointments should meet the Affirmative Action guidelines.
The 4-H Youth Development Committee will serve as the program committee for the youth component of the Cooperative Extension Service program. The youth development committee will serve as the 4-H Expansion and Review committee. One third of the membership of this group will be youth. In addition to Expansion and Review, this committee will have program development responsibilities.
The county Extension agent or agents will be responsible for their assigned program committee. They will be responsible for setting up and leading the program committee meeting. These meetings may be held in person, via video conference such as Zoom, or through any means deemed appropriate by the county Extension agent and Staff Chair to obtain the needed information about issues in the county. County Extension agent or agents responsible for the meeting will present the Staff Chair with a copy of the meeting announcement, agenda, sign in sheet or list of participants, and written minutes of the meeting. Minutes must include the top five (5) priority areas decided by the committee. The Staff Chair will summarize all minutes into a report that will be delivered to the appropriate District Director. The District Directors will take the county reports and summarize the top five (5) priority areas to be distributed to Program Department Heads and the Senior Associate Vice President for Agriculture – Extension.
Ad Hoc committees may be appointed for short-term programs or one-time events.
County Extension Council (Optional)
The County Extension Council is an optional additional committee that can be used by Extension offices to assist with the work of the program committees to give county leaders an overall view of the County Extension Program. The structure for the County Extension Council is comprised of a core group of county leaders who serve in leadership roles.
The County Extension Council membership entails representation of various economic, geographic, and social interests as well as relevant county organizations. County Extension staff and county judge will be represented on the Council in an ex-officio capacity without voting privileges.
The recommended size of the County Extension Council will be 9 to 12 members, depending on the population and complexity of county concerns. The County Judge and Staff Chair will work together to achieve a membership that is consistent with geographic area representation, minority representation and leadership representative of county needs. County representation and priorities may require a larger council membership than twelve members. In this situation, the District Director will work with the Staff Chair to determine a Council size consistent with the county’s needs. Size will be an important factor while working with this group throughout the year.