It's the first week of the new South Dakota State University Extension Service.
It begins work this week with 44 new field specialists located in Aberdeen, Lemmon, Mitchell, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Watertown and Winner. It will also be hiring 32 new youth program advisors, who will be housed in county offices.
When the state legislature and governor cut its budget by 10% earlier this year, the SDSU Extension Service is would reorganize. It closed all 66 county extension offices and created eight regional centers. It fired all xxxx county extension staff members and hired back 44 field specialist who either had master degrees or agreed to earn a master's degree within five years. It also launched www.Igrow.org, an internet communications-learning tool.
"We welcome a new day in SDSU Extension…," says Barry Dunn, dean of the SDSU College of Agriculture. "SDSU Extension is stronger than ever. We remain deeply committed to serving South Dakotans and, in this new era, we will continue to provide them with the research and information they need to be competitive in today's economy."
As a result of the reorganization, Dunn says SDSU Extension will live within the reduced fiscal boundaries of the 2012 state budget.
"Nothing was held back in this reorganization," Dunn said. "Complying with a 10 percent state budget cut is at the root of this entire restructuring. In everything we do, we are careful to be prudent with our dollars and absolutely conservative in our spending. In creating Regional Extension Centers, we relied primarily on surplus property. We recycled and reused existing equipment, while at the same time worked to assure the continued operation of county facilities that will house 4-H Youth Program Advisors."
As part of the reorganization, SDSU Extension reprioritized programs. Capstone programs now Competitive Livestock Systems, Competitive Cropping Systems, Food and Families, and Communities and 4-H Youth.
"We notably increased support to 4-H and youth and priority programs," Dunn said.
The following is a current directory of field specialists at the new regional centers:
Aberdeen -- Phone: 605-626-2870
Mark Rosenberg – Agronomy Weeds Field Specialist
Karelyn Farrand – 4H Character Education Field Specialist
Marj Zastrow – Nutrition Field Specialist
Karen Slunecka – Family Resource Management Field Specialist
Cheryl Jacobs – Community Development Field Specialist
Laura Edwards – Climate Field Specialist
Lemmon -- Phone: 605-374-4177
Robin Salverson – Cow/Calf Field Specialist
Mitchell -- Phone: 605-995-7378
Jim Krantz – Cow/Calf Field Specialist
Heather Larson – Cow/Calf Field Specialist
Megan Nielson – 4H Youth Livestock Field Specialist
Carrie Johnson – Family Resource Management Field Specialist
Jack Davis – Economics Field Specialist
Pierre -- Phone: 605-773-8120
Lori Jacobson – Swine Field Specialist
Ruth Beck – Agronomy Crops Field Specialist
Suzanne Geppert – 4H Youth Partnerships Field Specialist
Andrea Klein – 4H Healthy Living Field Specialist
Rod Geppert – 4H Livestock Show Management Coordinator
Rapid City -- Phone: 605-394-2236
Adele Harty – Cow/Calf Field Specialist
Dave Ollila – Sheep Field Specialist
Mindy Hubert – Small Acreage Field Specialist
John Rickertson – Agronomy Crops Field Specialist
Jonathon Nixon – Entomology Field Specialist
Sharon Guthmiller – Food Safety Field Specialist
Shawn Burke – Community Development Field Specialist
Peggy Schlechter – Community Development Field Specialist
Sioux Falls -- Phone: 605-782-3290
B. Lynn Gordon – Cow/Calf Field Specialist
Kurt Reitsma – Precision Agriculture Field Specialist
Connie Strunk – Plant Pathology Field Specialist
Donna Bittiker – Family Resource Management Field Specialist
LaVonne Meyer – Food Safety Field Specialist
Heather Gessner – Livestock Business Management Field Specialist
Chris Zdorovtsov – Community Development Field Specialist
Larry Wagner – Agronomy Crops Field Specialist
Geoffrey Njue – Specialty Field Crops Specialist
Watertown -- Phone: 605-882-5140
Warren Rusche – Cow/Calf Field Specialist
Tracey Renelt – Dairy Field Specialist
Paul Johnson – Agronomy Crops Field Specialist
Sandra Namken – Aging Field Specialist
Deb Sundem – Nutrition Field Specialist
Heather Moechnig – Food Safety Field Specialist
Audrey Rider – 4H Youth Leadership Field Specialist
Don Guthmiller – Crops Business Management Field Specialist
Winner – Phone: 605-842-1267
Bob Fanning – Plant Pathology Field Specialist
Ann Schwader – Nutrition Field Specialist