A tax district for the extension will appear on the May ballot, giving voters the chance to weigh in on a levy of about a nickel per $1,000 of property value to support the service.
Campaign organizers say the extension is particularly important during difficult years. They say not only does the service train farmers and gardeners in how to keep their plants alive, but at times they’ve even saved some of the valley’s most important agricultural industries from disease.
“In the 1950s, all the pear trees in this valley were dying off, and it was through the extension that they found the problem,” said Campaign Organizer Jack Duggan. “They were able to resolve it. They were able to come up with a solution, and as a result we still have a pear industry in the Rogue Valley.”
Duggan says they’ll be relying mostly on word of mouth leading up to the election. Their strategy, which they call “six degrees of extension,” calls for advocates of the service to reach out to six people each and get them on board.