Make Your Voice Heard, Connect and Learn More About Extension

By Matthew D. Hartzell

I’ve had the privilege of being the County Coordinator for the Alabama Extension-Bibb County Office for nearly 12 years.  In that time, we have made progress reaching Bibb County residents with meaningful programs to help improve quality of life.

We appreciate the feedback we get from people who know Extension and our programs in many different program areas.  However, even after 12 years, I still encounter people who know very little or nothing about Extension. On rare occasions, we still get requests from people for an ‘extension’ on their power bill due date!

That is why I’d like to share information about Extension, what we do,  how you can better connect to our resources and programs, and most importantly, let you know how you can give us feedback on which programs are most important to you.

WHAT IS EXTENSION? Nationally, Extension advances agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being, and communities by supporting research, education, and extension programs at land-grant universities and other organizations it partners with. In Alabama, Extension is unique because it is a system, not a service, comprised of Auburn and Alabama A&M Universities, and Tuskegee University as a contributor.

Simply put, our mission is to help Alabamians improve their quality of life and economic well-being.  We pursue that mission by providing university research-based information, programs and assistance for ALL citizens in animal sciences, row crops, forestry, wildlife natural resources, workforce development, community development, family and child development, family resource management, health and nutrition, food safety, horticulture, and 4-H & youth development.  Programs are provided at the state and regional levels, through regional research and extension centers, and there’s a county Extension office in each county.

Through the Alabama Extension-Bibb County Office we provide programs in those areas above through locally-based staff including myself, Administrative Support Associate Rita Dunn, and 4-H Foundation Agent Simon Carbone.  Also housed in the Bibb County Office are health and nutrition agent Christina LeVert and workforce/family resource management agent Renee’ Vines.  Along with regional agents in other program areas housed in other counties, we serve Bibb County with programs in all of the above subject areas.

HOW CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT BIBB COUNTY EXTENSION PROGRAMS? First, subscribe to our monthly county e-newsletter.  We always provide information about upcoming Extension programs locally, as well as unrelated community programs and events. Once you subscribe, you will automatically get the newsletter every month and be in the know.  Take a look at our June 2019 e-newsletter just issued, to see our busy and diverse program schedule for this summer.

Another great way to stay in touch with local Extension programs is to visit and like our Bibb County Alabama Cooperative Extension Office Facebook page.  We post almost daily, not just local Extension items, but other items of use and interest.

And of course we include information in The Bibb Voice, The Centreville Press, and in print through publicly-displayed paper flyers and in other ways.  We are located at 183 S.W. Davidson Drive next door to the Bibb County Commission building, and open weekdays 8am-4:30pm.

WHY SHOULD I MAKE MY VOICE HEARD ON WHAT PROGRAMS WE PROVIDE, AND HOW CAN I MAKE MY VOICE HEARD?  We depend heavily on feedback from partners, stakeholders and clients throughout the year, at all times, to remain relevant to YOUR needs and quality of life.  Your feedback is especially important now. because we are starting to identify program priorities for the 2019-2020 year through our Grassroots process and program committee.

We as Extension staff will meet with the Bibb County Extension Grassroots Committee members very soon to discuss next year’s programs, by looking at public feedback from  the annual Grassroots Survey.   Please click that link by 8am Thursday, June 13 and take a few moments to let us know what programs you think are most needed in Bibb County.  Your responses will kept private and will not be shared.  You do not have to answer a question for a program area you’re not familiar with—you can skip it.

Thank you for reading, and for your support of Bibb County Extension!  We hope to see you at one or more of our programs soon!

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As the Bibb County Coordinator for Alabama Extension, Matthew D. Hartzell coordinates the implementation of all Extension programs in Bibb County in many program areas. These program areas include 4-H and Youth Development, Animal Sciences, Food Safety and Quality, Forestry, Wildlife and Natural Resources, Human Nutrition, Diet and Health, Family and Child Development, Family Resource Management and Workforce Development, Commercial Horticulture, Home Grounds, Gardens and Home Pests, Farm and Agribusiness Management, and Community and Economic Development. Hartzell has served in his current position for 12 years and held primary program assignments in Community and Economic Development, Human Nutrition, Diet and Health, and Forestry Wildlife and Natural Resources.


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