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Jordan joins local Clemson Extension team

Posted: January 31, 2014 1:56 p.m.
Updated: February 3, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Jackie Jordan recently joined the Clemson Extension as its area horticulture agent, bringing a wealth of experience to the role. Jordan’s focus is in commercial and specialty crops in Kershaw, Fairfield and Richland counties. She works with farmers who grow fruits and vegetables, with landscapers working on yards and public greenery and with gardening specialists working with fields and golf courses.

Jordan attended the College of Charleston and said she was inspired by the “natural landscapes” she saw when walking around downtown Charleston. “I’m a visual person. I knew I wanted to do something with plants and gardening,” she said. After marrying and having her first child, Jordan began working at a nursery. There she got to observe plants through the seasons, an experience she said she really appreciated.

She later became an agricultural assistant at the Richland County extension office, answering consumers’ questions. During this time, she also got her Bachelors in Turf Grass Management from Penn State’s online school.

Jordan said she answers a wide variety of questions from consumers, including anything about “turf grass, taking care of lawns, identifying insects, properly caring for shrubs, knowing when to prune and identifying weeds and other plant problems.”

She is a resource for individuals who want to grow their own food at home or for small growers who want to begin, expand or try something new. She said she encourages anyone who has a plant-related problem or question to contact the extension office. “Clemson has a wealth of 40 to 50 agents and specialists in the state who can help,” she said, adding that if the agent doesn’t know the answer, he or she can usually find someone at Clemson University who does.

Jordan explained that she and General Agricultural Agent David Dewitt, who specializes in row crops in Kershaw, Sumter and Lee counties, will be offering pesticide classes and turf school for homeowners and growers. She also plans to offer a landscape design class and to work with local master gardeners to present free gardening programs at local libraries.

Clemson Extension Regional Lead Agent for Kershaw, Richland and Fairfield counties Deon Legette explained that the Clemson Extension has five main focus areas:

• Agribusiness Productivity and Profitability -- Clemson researchers, Extension personnel and regulatory agents help South Carolina’s agriculture and forestry producers compete in a global economy;

• Economic and Community Development -- Clemson scientists and Extension personnel work with community leaders to realize Thomas Green Clemson’s goal of improving the quality of life for South Carolina’s citizens;

• Environmental Conservation -- Clemson researchers, Extension personnel and regulatory agents work to enhance South Carolina’s forests, wetlands, wildlife habitats and water quality;

• Food Safety and Nutrition -- Clemson researchers, Extension personnel and regulatory agents work to ensure the safety, quality and nutritional value of the state’s food supply from the farm to the dinner table; and

• 4-H Youth Development -- Clemson Extension and institute personnel seek to enhance support for families and young people in South Carolina.

Legette explained that the role of herself and agents like Jordan and Dewitt is to “take research based information from land grant universities and share it with citizens in the 46 counties.” Legette added that the two land grant universities in the state are Clemson and South Carolina State University.

This year, the extension service will celebrate 100 years of service in the nation, Legette said. “It started with agricultural education and home economics and has expanded.” Legette said there will be various programs, classes and events scheduled to celebrate the anniversary and the schedules of these events will be published closer to the date.

For more information about the Kershaw County Clemson Extension, visit www.clemson.edu/extension/county/kershaw/.

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