Williams County’s agriculture extension agent Kelly Leo didn’t have to think too hard about which room she wanted for her office in the Williams County highway complex. There was a room with a window wall that overlooks a wheat field in the summer, and Leo knew that was absolutely the best room for the county’s agriculture agent.
“This location is a lot more accessible for producers and stuff, because we’re there’s a pretty big parking lot up here at the highway complex, so somebody with a horse trailer on can get in here,” Leo told the Williston Herald. “And it’s also kind of nice because we’re up here on the, you know, the bypass, so it’s just a good spot.”
While the physical location of the NDSU Extension program is now 5218 141st Ave. NW, the mailing address remains the same, PO Box 1109 Williston, ND 58802-1109.
The program’s previous home in the Broadway Commons could barely accommodate the Extension programs, and was very tight for space, Leo said. The new space has plenty of storage and office space, as well as a little bit of room to grow in the future. There’s even a small boardroom.
“We had so many supplies,” Leo said. “Extension has, well we turned three offices up here into storage rooms. That’s how much stuff we have. And I mean the more programming we do, the more stuff you require for that.”
Leo has lots of ideas for the future, now that there is space to accommodate the materials and supplies that she will need, and she’s looking forward to continuing to grow the extension program in Williams County.
NDSU Extension’s mission is to empower North Dakotans to improve their lives and communities with science-based education. The agriculture extension agent position is a 50-50 split between Williams County and NDSU Extension. The county provides half the salary and infrastructure, while NDSU Extension pays the other half of the salary and benefits.
NDSU Extension facilitates a wide variety of activities in Williams County through the program, including 4-H, agriculture and natural resource programs, family and nutrition programs, and parent education.
Right now, a lot of Leo’s efforts have been centered around the upcoming National Hard Red Spring Wheat Show, held annually in Williston for almost seven decades now.
This year’s 69th annual wheat show is set for Feb. 9 at the Williston ARC with presentations ranging from weather and market outlooks to carbon management.
“We’ve got three of the Best of the Best speakers (for the event) so we did pretty good,” Leo said. “We’re excited to do this again. And we’re hopefully getting back to a more full-day event, with a lot more interaction.”