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The Ford County Extension Office has joined the number of entities that are closing their doors to the public.


According to the extension office, staff is telecommuting, working from home while utilizing technology, but is still available during normal business hours.


The change comes due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to be in compliance with Ford County operation requirements, CDC recommendations and K-State Research and Extension protocol.


"We are still here to answer your questions and provide limited services such as help with food safety and recipe assistance, healthy snack ideas, ideas and resources for organizing and de-cluttering while you are home and 4-H programming support," said Ford County Extension agent Andrea Burns.


Some of the services still being provided while practicing social distancing are as follows:


For horticulture and field visits, to request an agronomy field visit, email Burns at aburns@ksu.edu.


Burns said she will set up days to do visits and will call or email with her findings. Burns added that pictures can still be emailed to her.


For private pesticide applicator licenses, contact Burns for renewals.


Burns said if taking an exam for the first time, email the Kansas Department of Agriculture as they are usually done in office. Email kda.pestfert@ks.gov to get a certification number and pre-registration ID.


The login for the exam is at https://tinyurl.com/ro35k78/.


For the tractor safety course, it will be taught as an independent study course by Burns using curriculum from Penn State University.


According to Burns, it will only be offered to youth 14 and 15 years old with a comprehensive driving course given by an adult with whom the youth will be working within 90 days of taking the written portion of the course.


Contact Burns to begin the course.


For 4-H events and activities, all events and meetings have been canceled.


"If families have questions about events, project, etc., please contact us," Burns said. "We are available via phone, email and the Ford County 4-H Facebook page.


"This would be a great time for seniors to work on their Ford County 4-H Foundation scholarship applications. Members could also write some great goals and get a jump start on those KAP’s. What great stories you will have to tell."


All events at the Ford County Fairgrounds are also canceled or postponed until the middle of May, at this time.


"The Ford County Extension Office staff is still working hard for the families of Ford County and would like to help out however we can," Burns said. "Our mission and vision have not changed, K-State Research and Extension is dedicated to a safe, sustainable, competitive food and fiber system and to strong, healthy communities, families and youth through integrated research, analysis and education.


“Please do not hesitate to contact us."


To reach Ford County Extension, call 620-682-5530 or by email at fo@ksu.edu, Burns, aburns@ksu.edu or Ethel at eschnewe@ksu.edu.


To keep up to date, visit the Ford County Facebook page at @FordCoExtension.


To contact the writer, email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com