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From the Desk of County Commissioner
 Marty Qually

(5/2016) An amazing thing happens this year in Adams County, our local Penn State Extension (PSE) office celebrates its 100th anniversary. The celebration will be held May 15, from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. at the Adams County Agricultural and Natural Resources Center rain or shine. The afternoon will be filled with family oriented activities so bring your lawn chair and visit with friends and neighbors.

A formal program is scheduled from 2:30 – 3 p.m. where County Commissioners and elected officials will briefly discuss the importance of our Extension programs. If you do not know what programs the Extension office provides, you really should attend. PSE isn’t just for farmers any more. While starting out as purely focused on farm projects, our PSE office has evolved into a more holistic agency including classes to help home gardeners, to keep older women stronger, promote healthy eating, and even assist our community in improving local broadband awareness. Penn State Extension has something for everyone and is a vital part of our community so please join me is helping them celebrate 100 years of success.

A great example of their role in supporting our community is their quick reaction to the potentially devastating frosts that hit our orchards this April. Following a very warm March, multiple cold nights in April almost resulted in the loss of our peach, apple, cherry, plum, and pear crops. Penn State Extension scientist Dr. Tara Baugher and Fruit Research and Extension Center director Dr. Jim Schupp knew they needed to analyze the damage and begin to educate the fruit growers as to the next step.

After a few days of analysis they were able to alleviate many of the fruit growers' concerns, and were confident that most orchards would not see significant apple or peach crop loss. Throughout the year these scientists work to find ways to improve our orchards, but in this case, their hard work in defining the damage went a long way to reducing the stress that each orchard family was experiencing. While our April frosts seem to only be a concern for the orchard families, these families and their employees represent a significant portion of our economy.

Without the confidence that their crops will come in, they would cut back on hiring new employees, expanding their business, or on a personal level commit to hiring a painter, plumber, or electrician to work on their house or reduce the times they go out to local restaurants. In Adams County Penn State Extension helps us all to understand that we are connected to each other and that the more educated we become the better we become.

For years now PSE has been focusing on issues that challenge local communities throughout Pennsylvania, and as each community is different, so too are the programs and initiatives of each Extension office. In Adams County they have been in the forefront of helping new residents understand the issues of developing housing next to farms and how better community planning can help both farms and residential subdivisions coexist.

Often I discuss in my column the importance of improving our broadband capacity and quality in Adams County. While people may think that this idea or the subsequent formation of Adams County Connect, was started by some group of IT geeks, it originated with Penn State Extension. They also noticed that the lack of truly high speed internet was affecting all aspects of our community.

If it seems out of place for Penn State Extension being a leader in promoting better broadband, that is just the beginning.

Have you been eager to eat a Mediterranean Diet, but are not sure where to start? Penn State Extension has a workshop to help you design and put the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle into practice in your own life. That doesn't sound like the 4H

programs or other farm images that we envision from Penn State Extension.

Or the Strong Women/Growing Stronger program, which is a safe, effective strength training And nutrition program for individuals who have been active or sedentary for the past few years and are interested in improving their health. They also offer courses on canning foods, home gardening, food safety and more.

While my point is becoming redundant by now, this evolution in education and branching out into Nonfarm fields is keeping PSE not just relevant in today's rapidly changing world, but is keeping them integral to our success. If you want to learn more about their programs visit their website for more information,

I have had the honor to serve on the board of Penn State Extension for four years now and it is clear to me that they have come a long way in 100 years. Please take the time to join us on May 15 at the Adams County Agricultural and Natural Resources Center on Old Harrisburg road just outside of Gettysburg to celebrate their successes and learn more about what this great organization has planned for the next 100 years.

As a County Commissioner I spend much of my time attending events and learning about important parts of our community. My job then becomes to help others "connect the dots" and show them how often seemingly disparate groups actually have vital connections to one another. One of the ways in which I attempt to get the word out about different events and meetings I attend is through my professional Facebook page. To learn more about the issues facing our wonderful and complex community please join me on Facebook at Marty Qually Adams County Commissioner. And as always if you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact me at 717-339-6514 or

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