Welcome to The
Dallas County, Arkansas
Cooperative Extension Service
We are part of the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service’s statewide network and the University of Arkansas System’s Division of Agriculture. Our mission is to provide research-based information through non-formal education to help all Arkansans improve their economic well-being and the quality of their lives. Whether it is agriculture, 4-H, health and living, or community development, the Dallas County Extension Office is at your service!
EXTENSION SERVICE HOSTS MULTICOUNTY BEE HIVE BASICS WORKSHOP HELD IN FORDYCE
We had a great turnout at our Bee Hive Basics class! Visit our Programs page to find out more!
DEMONSTRATION KITCHEN & MEETING ROOM
The Dallas County Cooperative Extension Service conducts several meetings and educational
programs throughout the year at our office. Our facility had no kitchen or enough
space to conduct the kinds of programs that our Extension Council recommends. The
Dallas County Extension Service, with the approval of County Judge Jimmy Jones and
CES District Director Alberta James, used county carryover funds to construct a demonstration
kitchen and meeting room to meet the needs of our clientele. The County CES staff
along with other volunteers provided the labor saving the county approximately $7500.00.
As a result of building a new demonstration kitchen and meeting room, the Dallas County
CES has been able to conduct:
- 4-H cooking, canning and sewing workshops for our youth.
- Adult cooking, canning and sewing workshops.
- Interpretive Event (host) for the Dallas County Extension Council, quorum court, elected officials and county judge.
- First Pickins' Luncheon that raised $350 for the DASH Community Garden Project.
- EHC club and council meetings and other special programs.
Photo: Dallas County Extension Service newly built kitchen/meeting room.
COUNTY ROAD HERBICIDE PROGRAM
County road right of ways attract many different species of weeds and brush causing county judges to spend mega dollars to keep the right-of-ways clean. This expense can be a major problem for county road department budgets. Three county judges had requested a program on using herbicides to control weed and brush along county roads. Dallas County CES worked with Dr. John Boyd, program specialist with the U of A CES, and Allen Sheppard with EDKO, LLC, to present a roadside herbicide program and demonstration for 10 South Arkansas county judges. Mr. Robby Keen, Red River Specialties, gave a presentation on the kinds of herbicides to use and the costs associated with this program. Dr. Boyd discussed safety related issues concerning herbicide treatment programs and Allen Sheppard conducted a demonstration of a spray unit that his company builds and shared the cost to purchase one of the units. Seven county judges and road department employees attended the Multi-County Road Right of Way Herbicide Program and Demonstration. Two counties have started a herbicide program and the other counties indicated that they were interested in starting one to save money in there road budgets. This is the first program to be offered on a multicounty level.
Photo: Demonstration on roadside herbicide practices.
PRESERVING FOOD THE SAFE WAY
In tough economic times, one needs to save money on food. Food preservation is one way to extend shelf life. Family recipes are often passed down from generation to generation but may not be safe according to USDA guidelines. With the risk of food borne illness, it is more important than ever to use correct food preservation techniques. Food preservation workshops were conducted at the Dallas County Cooperative Extension office to provide hands-on experience to adults and youth. Participants preserved vegetables, jams and jellies. Edu- cation on proper measuring, temperature, time and the dangers of improper preservation practices were taught. The workshops provided canning methods using both a water bath and a pressure canner. Food preservation educational materials and recipes from USDA/So Easy To Preserve book are often provided to clients. Food preservation materials, displays were made available at county fair and farmer's market. Participants from the workshops reported having gained knowledge about food preservation, food safety and equipment needed to ensure the safety of their canned product. Through this workshop 4-H youth and adults learned how to make jelly and properly preserve vegetables. Some participants also entered their items in the county fair. Youth participants were so excited to be able to take their canning projects home. Adult participants commented that they will apply their new skills. Requests have been made for more food preservation workshops.
Photo: Adults applying skills learned in one of several food preservation workshops held at the Dallas County Extension Service..
KIDS 4-HEALTH COOKING CLASSES
Forty one percent of the youth of Dallas County are obese and overweight. A big percentage of the youth may develop diabetes by the time they are adults. Youth need to make healthier food choices to combat these health problems. Youth cooking classes may be the answer to develop healthier lifestyles for our youth today. Dallas County Cooperative Extension Service collaborated with the Dallas County Health Department and the Dallas County Mayor's Office to get youth involved with healthy cooking classes and promote the community garden. Blue & You grant money was secured by the mayor's assistant to provide materials to educate youth on healthy eating habits. Kids 4-Health Cooking Classes were planned and conducted at the Extension Office. 4-H youth learned the importance of taking fresh fruits and vegetables and implementing them into their every day diet. Lessons on nutrition and health were included in each class. The Dallas County Extension Service worked with approximately 40 youth in the Kids 4-Health Cooking Classes. The youth learned to make better and healthier food choices, prepare, cook and serve meals. They were taught the importance of fresh versus processed foods. They also went to the county agent's garden to see how and where vegetables are grown. The participants requested more classes. Also, they were excited about taking food home to their parents.
Photo: Youth cooking class participants being taught healthy cooking principles & healthy food choices that will benefit them in their future.
FOOD CHOICES MATTER
Dallas County residents face many challenges due to poor economics and their health.
Dallas County has higher than state averages in unemployment (9.2%), obesity (71.2%
of adults and 41.5% children) and diabetes (27%). Dallas County has only one grocery
store. Approximately 51% of the county residents travel more than 20 miles to a store. The
Dallas County Cooperative Extension Service partnered with the health department and
Dallas County Alliance Supporting Health to provide: Two Cooking Matters schools for
adults and youth and four Shopping Matters tours. Adults and youth prepared a variety
of nutritious recipes that included fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Lessons were
also presented on My Plate, table manners and food safety. Shopping Matters tour participants
learned to read labels, price comparison and stretch their food dollars through store
tours. Participants indicated the following:
-95% plan on comparing food labels to make healthy choices when shopping.
-98% plan on reading food labels.
-85% plan on increasing their intake of fruits and vegetables.
-100% learned to prepare nutritious recipes.
Photo: Shopping Matters Program tour participants.