Country Living Field Day canceled

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CARROLLTON, Ohio – Nearly 5,000 people head to Carroll County each September for the annual Country Living Field Day.

This year, they’ll have to go someplace else to get new ideas for their farms.

OSU Extension budget constraints pulled the plug on the event, which many visitors dubbed the “Farm Science Review for small farms.”

Big draw. It was the largest event of its type in the country.

The annual field day is held on a farm near Augusta and offers a smorgasbord of indepth seminars, shorter workshops, demonstrations, commercial exhibits and a children’s safety roundup that draws up to 900 youth each year.

Visitors travel from more than 10 states and Canada to attend.

No money. “It would be impossible for us to plan and execute this large educational program this year due to the drastic budget cuts that our office received this year,” said Mike Hogan, OSU Extension agent in Carroll and Harrison counties.

Hogan has been involved with the event since its inception in 1994.

Hogan didn’t make the decision himself, it was the decision of the Small Scale Agriculture Committee, which includes Carroll County residents who provide direction for the event.

Extension shortfall. Hogan said the local OSU Extension office has terminated two employees and reduced another full-time employee to half-time status to battle a projected $44,000 budget shortfall for the office in 2004.

The Carroll County commissioners cut $36,000 from the office budget at the same time OSU Extension administration in Columbus mandated additional costs of $7,000, Hogan explained.

Other cuts. Additional programs conducted by the local office have also been canceled, including the Classroom in the Country program, 4-H kickoff night, and 4-H and agriculture classroom enrichment programs.

Although more than 400 volunteers make the event happen, the Carroll County OSU Extension office provided the day-to-day planning, coordination and management.

With staff cuts in that office, there just aren’t enough man-hours to get the behind-the-scenes work done, Hogan said.

“Without the staff in our office who work for months to plan the event, we felt that it would be impossible to conduct the event this year,” Hogan said.

Corporate sponsors and commercial exhibitors help fund much of the event, but OSU Extension in Carroll County provides overall administration.

Back next year? Hogan said the committee hopes to bring the event back in 2005 and members are lobbying the Carroll County Commissioners to restore funding to the local OSU Extension office.

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