Extension supporter

DeKalb County was the first in Illinois to hire an Extension Advisor and develop an Extension Service in cooperation with the University of Illinois. Adviser William G. Eckhardt started work here on June 1, 1912.

Out of this movement, the Farm Bureau evolved; DeKalb Ag was born; Rural Youth Organization and 4-H was organized. More recently, commodity groups were helped to emerge.

The original support groups were the county bankers, the newspapermen, the farmers, and the county board. They put up money and volunteers for it was an organization of “helping people help themselves.”

One strong idea then was that Extension would boost the county, enhance the economy, and improve the quality of life.

Tom Roberts, Sr., an early adviser and prime mover in hybrid seed corn, said, “We had a TB Sanatorium full of patients, then Extension helped get a county veterinarian, the disease declined and the Sanatorium was torn down.” Was it good for DeKalb County citizens to develop hybrid corn and get rid of tuberculosis?

Personally, my perspective of Extension’s informal education is similar to my views on grade schools, high schools, Kishwaukee College and the University—We end up with a better educated citizenry and should be willing to pay for it.

A DeKalb county woman once said to me “Extension has been my college education and because I’ve been able to go farther in everything I do.”

Finally, I see at least three big advantages of why DeKalb County continues to need an efficient Extension and 4-H program.

1. Extension employees are catalysts. They provide leadership to several hundred unpaid volunteer local leaders who extend this education.

2. Extension provides objective and usually unbiased information based on research from the land grant colleges and USDA.

3. Extension helps assure a reliable high quality food supply and at the same time works toward conservation and a protected environment. With 90,000,000 more people being added to the world annually—we all have something to think about.

This unique service has had a glorious past and can have a challenging future.

I support Extension and wouldn’t mind going without the cost of one or two moderately priced meals to pay for it.

E.E. “Al” Golden

DeKalb resident