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Extension report

As a result of state budget cuts, the Agricultural Services Laboratories will have to increase fees for many of the testing services provided through the McDuffie County Extension Office. The decision follows similar moves by several states. Fortunately, soil sample charges have not increased. Soil sample analysis is by far used most often in our area.

Increasing fees was not an easy or popular decision, but the budget crisis has made it a necessary one. Testing services provided through local Extension offices are not a money-making venture. Prices are set at a level that allows the state to provide the service at a break-even cost. The cost of doing those tests has gone up. With shrinking budgets, Extension has to pass those increases on to the user.

I am glad the fee for soil testing has not increased. Soil testing is an invaluable tool to gauge fertilizer needs and other management techniques. Please don't neglect it because of the fee.

The $8 fee for a soil test is minute when one considers the costs of all the inputs that go into a crop. To get a soil test, stop by the County Extension Office and pick up a soil test bag for each of the samples you wish to take. If you have never taken a sample before we will be glad to give you instructions on proper sampling methods.

You can pay the fee directly to the McDuffie County Extension Office, which will submit your sample and interpret the results. It normally takes about 10 days to get results back. At that time we can answer any questions about recommendations.

Web posted on Thursday, November 19, 2009

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