Several years ago, a tree on our property became infested with ants. When the insects found their way into the house, we called an exterminator who offered to eradicate the ants for $800. Then we called our Cooperative Extension agent, who recommended a sugar and baking soda solution that cost less than $10 to apply and permanently eliminated the ant problem without the use of pesticides. I’ve been a Cooperative Extension evangelist ever since.
The Cooperative Extension Service is a U.S. Department of Agriculture program that provides practical, research-based information via a network of state and regional offices. Offices are affiliated with institutions of higher education and staffed by experts, but their low-and no-cost services are available to all residents. These services include publication of print and online resources on subjects like nutrition and food preparation, lawn and garden care, home economics, parenting and financial literacy. In addition, the Extension Service offers classes and workshops and provides free consumer advice by phone.
To learn how your Extension Office can help you save money while living better, use the interactive map on the Cooperative Extension Service website and locate the Extension office nearest you. Bookmark your local office’s homepage and any online guides you may want to consult. (Note: The national Extension Service website provides consumer information as well.) Be sure to bookmark your office’s tip hotline or staff directory page for access to phone numbers when you need expert advice. Finally, browse classes and workshops and register for those that interest you. A scan of my local Extension website turned up classes on flower gardening, parenting through divorce, healthy cooking on a budget and money management.
To get you started, here are some links to Extension Service web resources that will help you live better no matter what state you call home:
- Child Care
- Companion Animal Care
- Families, Food and Fitness
- Family Caregiving
- Food Safety
- Gardens, Lawns and Landscapes
- Home Energy
- Personal Finance
About those ants: While we used sugar and baking soda, as described in the comment section below, the Extension Service in our native state of Nebraska officially recommends sugar and boric acid. Read all about it in the Nebraska Extension article “Controlling Pests with Home Remedies.”