Mississippi County Extension Service welcomes new staff

Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Saundra Sovick Harms

Saundra Sovick Harms, EFNEP (Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program) program assistant, and Jason Osborn, Extension agent, have joined the Mississippi County Extension Service staff at the Blytheville office.

Mississippi County Staff Chair Ray Benson welcomed the two new staff members to the office.

"We are fortunate to have them join our team," Benson said.

Jason Osborn

Jason is a native of Harrisburg. He graduated from Harrisburg High School in 1989 and from Arkansas State University with a degree in Ag/Business and Economics in 1994 and a Masters Degree in 2003.

He has been with the Extension Service for nine years serving in Crittenden County.

Osborn said the agriculture is almost identical in the two counties. Mississippi County is a little closer to his home. He is familiar with the Buffalo Island area as he has close family ties there. His grandparents are from Monette.

He enjoys being out in the fields and is looking forward to meeting area growers throughout the county.

He and his wife, Barbara, have one daughter, Lauren, 4.

Sovick will be serving as program assistant for the EFNEP program. The EFNEP program is not new to Mississippi County but it is being reintroduced to the county.

Saundra, originally from Minnesota, found her way to Northeast Arkansas as she went to Arkansas State University. She graduated with a journalism degree from the ASU College of Education Department of Science and Journalism in 2008. She worked for the Jonesboro Sun for seven years as a photographer.

"I am looking forward to working with the people in Mississippi County," she said. "I have always wanted to help people and this position gives me the opportunity to help others."

The EFNEP adult audience is geared to help low-income people who prepare meals and make nutrition choices for children.

Sovick will be working on a series of six lessons, Kids in the Kitchen, for youth.

Her adult curriculum, Eating Smart -- Being Active, is a series of eight lessons that show people ways to eat healthier, stay active and help their families. "The lessons are cumulative and build on each other, so it is best if I have set group of class members," she said. Each lesson lasts 60-90 minutes and includes a section where she can share samples from healthy recipes. If space provides, she can demonstrate how to prepare the recipes. The curriculum is set up for groups ranging from four or five class members to as many as 12 people.

"I am looking forward to working with groups throughout the county," she said.

To contact Saundra for more information or to schedule her to speak to a group, call the office at (870) 762-2075; or email ssovick@uaex.edu.

She is looking forward to working in Mississippi County. She and Ross Harms of Gosnell married April 12.

"These two are very qualified for their job and we are looking forward to working with them," Benson said. "Jason has experience with the Extension service and the Master Gardener program."

Benson was recently named Extension chair for Mississippi County. He had been serving as interim since Dave Freeze relocated to Greene County Extension Service.

"I have enjoyed working with the staff here," he said. "They do a good job."

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