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Updated: 07/15/2017 08:30:01AM

County 4-H job posted

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SEBRING — Apparently Highlands County will have a 4-H agent after all.

“The 4-H position is now posted,” Extension Director Laurie A. Hurner said Thursday.

However, she noted, the posting is valid only for seven days. “They received applications during the time it was advertised earlier this month,” Hurner said.

As a result, the deadline for applications is July 20.

Three months ago, livestock agent James McWhorter took a job with U.S. Sugar in Clewiston. His wife, 4-H agent Katharine McWhorter, was hired as the 4-H teacher by the Clewiston school system. They were two of the four Extension Service county agents in Highlands, so the staff was cut in half.

“Those are critical positions in Highlands County,” Ray Royce, who chairs the Extension Advisory Committee, said in June. The governor vetoed over $100 million of programs in the budgets of Florida’s public universities, including $20 million University of Florida-IFAS programs.

That meant the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences had to arrange funding to replace McWhorter, or leave Avon Park, Sebring and Lake Placid 4-H students without a sponsor.

Royce said some of the 300 4-H students don’t have a facility to house a pig, heifer or steer, so they bring animals to a county barn south of the Bert J. Harris Jr. Agricultural Center. But a 4-H agent must supervise, and a 4-H employee must fill out paperwork and oversee school programs.

“We have a slate of volunteers who are going to run the daily operations under my supervision,” Hurner said in June. The volunteers will be able to replace the 4-H coordinator until a new employee is named. But that may be a while.

“The local office has nothing to do with this part of the office, so all questions and inquiries need to be directed to the website,” Hurner said Thursday.

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