Imagination was a part of the Purdue Extension Service of Kosciusko County Annual Meeting Monday with the presentation of “Life Saver Awards” by extension staff.
Packets of Life Savers as well as inner tubes in Lifesaver colors were presented to 10 individuals and a group, who the extension staff felt were life savers to them during the past year.
Recognized were Kay Tusing, Michael Joy, Anthony Carra, Mark Demski, Rita Irwin, June Thomas, Julia Frush, Jessie Demski, Cathy Smith, Jen Cook and the Kosciusko County Extension Homemakers. Their lifesaving actions ranged from problem solving, support, assistance, organizing projects, overseeing programs, taking on new programs and more.
It was suggested individuals sign and date their “life savers,” passing it on to others explaining the honor. “The goal is to bring it back next year,” stated Stephanie Faroh, extension educator.
It was announced during the meeting the annual Friends of Extension Award will be presented during the Kosciusko County Fair (July 12-18)
The guest speaker for the evening was Jerry Yeiter who participated in a mission trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa, in June of 2014 and January 2015. The group Yeiter traveled with included several farmers with the intention to demonstrate the use of John Deere tractors. But because no plows, discs or other equipment were purchased, and the cost was $3,000 to rent the tractor, the plans were altered.
The group instead worked with the villagers to evaluate what could be done and provide a plan. The farms were between two to three acres, but not being farmed. Without fertilizer those fields being planted in corn were yielding 15 bushels per acre. However, after a trial of fertilizing a field of corn, which estimated a yield of 160 bushels per acre, the cost of $2,700 per acre to use fertilizer was cost prohibitive.
“Our goal was to teach them how to plant corn without fertilizer,” stated Yeiter.
The group also visited the prime minister of education’s home, which has a 200 acre farm. The farm had six hog houses, 12 chicken coops, and 12 fish ponds. The group had planned to get the farm up and running, but the $500,000 start up cost was prohibitive. Instead they began with 15 acres, planting peanuts, which profited $11,000. One of the government tractors was rented to plant the peanuts.
“Today they have 30 to 40 acres planted in corn, 100 pigs, will soon be getting 2,000 chicks for layers and have a dozen full time employees.” He noted all the work in the fields from planting to harvesting to drying of the crops are done by hand. He added a new village has started beside the farm because of the available work.
The mission team also took 250 audio bibles as 70 percent of the villagers cannot read or wright.
Other highlights of the evening were brief reports from Kelly Heckaman, county extension director, agriculture and natural resources educator; Stephanie Faroh, health and Human Sciences educator; Mindy Wise, 4-H Youth Development Educator; and Sue Hickman, nutrition education program assistant.
Retiring board members Debbie Coleman and Elaine Wakefield were recognized with new board members Rita Irwin and Tyler Boganwright elected.
it was also noted there is now a full extension staff available.