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The Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service in Lancaster has reduced the hours that someone will be at the French Street office due to budget cuts.
The agency is moving to multi-county service centers after almost half of its state funding was cut in the last two years.
Lancaster and Kershaw counties now share a service center in Camden after the administrative assistant’s position was eliminated here.
Twenty-two of the state’s 46 county extension service offices no long have an administrative assistant.
“Clemson Public Service remains committed to serving our clients in all 46 counties, said John Kelly, vice president for agriculture, public service and economic development in a written statement. “We are focusing our remaining state funding on core agriculture and natural resources programs across the state.”
The Lancaster office at 107 W. French St. will have walk-in and appointment hours from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 8:30 a.m. to noon on Fridays, said county extension agent Brian Beer.
Both Beer and county 4-H agent Ashley Hinson are still in Lancaster.
If no one is at the Lancaster office, the telephone will be answered. Beer said the calls will be automatically switched to the Kershaw office.
“If there is a time we’re both out of the office, the phone will just roll over to the service center administrative assistant if they need immediate help with something,” Beer said. “That way, there will always be someone for them to talk to if we are out in the field.”
Beer said there is a full-time administrative assistant at the Kershaw County extension office at 632 W. Dekalb St. in Camden.
“There will be someone there from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. if they need publications or need to send something off,” Beer said.
Beer said the office hours are posted on the door of the Lancaster office, along with a list of phone numbers in case someone needs to immediately contact an extension agent.
“That’s how we’re having to handle things because we no longer have an administrative assistant in the Lancaster office,” he said. “The nature of our jobs means we have to be out of the office conducting programs. They can always call us and we will do our best to accommodate them.”
Contact features editor Greg Summers at (803) 283-1156