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AgriLife offers betterment for community

By Larry Holt

The Orange Leader

Fallon Foster, County Extension Agent for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, facilitated an annual report to Commissioners Court on Tuesday afternoon, aided by volunteers, staff, and participants each speaking of the difference AgriLife activities have made for the betterment of their lives and the community.

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension webpage explains the organization works with a variety of individuals, businesses, private-sector clubs and organizations, and “government agencies to bring educational opportunities to the people of Texas.”

Orange County Commissioners Court supports the AgriLife effort for residents of Orange County. The court heard testimonials from several volunteers and participants ranging from the President of the AgriLife Leadership Committee speaking of the incredible efforts individuals and organizations from as far away as California, Tennessee and Canada made for the benefit of Orange County after Hurricane Harvey when the word spread there was a critical need to feed stranded livestock in the county.

The impact of educational programs was attested to by citizens such as Sandra Hoke and Sheri Bethard of Master Gardeners, and participants in youth programs ranging from 4-H to cooking camp.

Fallon Foster said cooking camp had maximum attendance of 60 youths this year with 30 to 40 on the waiting list hoping to participate.

Shon Garrison said of Foster, “I can’t say enough good things about Fallon” and went on to describe how his life was changed by a diabetes awareness class Foster conducted.

Orange County Health Inspector James Scales said Foster is the only resource for teaching food handler safety required by the State of Texas and expressed how Foster and the AgriLife programs are making a difference for the citizens of Orange County.

Commissioner John Gothia praised Fallon and all the volunteers that help make the program run smoothly. Gothia said in addition to participants learning a new skill or set of knowledge, they also learn, “almost without knowing it, they are also learning responsibility and leadership.”

As a group the Commissioners Court applauded the program, its success and the each individual involved.