Register Online

Find Events

Read the Latest News

Pubs Plus

Contact Us

University of Illinois Extension serving Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Pope, Saline and White Counties

Main Office (Saline County)
912 S Commercial Street
Suite 4
Harrisburg, IL 62946
Phone: 618-252-8391
FAX: 618-253-3006
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm

Branch Office (Gallatin County)
216 S. Murphy
Ridgway, IL 62979
Phone: 618-272-3022
FAX: 618-272-3024

Branch Office (Hamilton County)
100 S. Jackson
Courthouse Basement
McLeansboro, IL 62859
Phone: 618-643-3416
FAX: 618-643-3206
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm (Closed 12 - 1pm)

Branch Office (Hardin & Pope County)
Dixon Springs Agricultural Center
354 State Hwy 145 North
Simpson, IL 62985
Phone: 618-695-6060
FAX: 618-695-2492

Main Office (White County)
1715 College Avenue
Carmi, IL 62821
Phone: 618-382-2662
FAX: 618-382-2276
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm (Closed 12 - 1pm)


Thank you for visiting our website! The University of Illinois Extension Gallatin/Hamilton/Hardin/Pope/Saline/White County Unit is the link between University of Illinois and all of our friends and neighbors in the six county area. The Extension Office offers practical, research-based information to improve lives and communities through learning partnerships that put knowledge to work. Please contact us at 618-252-8391, 618-382-2662, 618-272-3022, 618-643-3416, or 618-695-6060, with questions or to learn more about these educational or leadership opportunities. We also encourage you to add our site to your favorites list. Have a great day! 

Today's Features

Congratulations to the students at the Hamilton County 4-H GIFT Garden, McLeansboro, IL for winning the 2016 Green Thumb Challenge grant! Facilitated by the University of Illinois Extension, The GIFT Garden began in 2013 and evolved into a great learning environment. In the summer of 2016, over 47 youth and 14 adults volunteered a total of 1,105 hours to grow 1,356 pounds of produce. With the past four years combined seasons a total of 2,865 pounds were donated to local food pantries, nursing homes, Heritage Woods and needy families! Read about the winning project by clicking the link below.

Learn more >>

2017 SPRING WEBINAR SERIES - Learn from University of Illinois Extension horticulture experts in a local Extension office or from the comfort of your home computer! These classes are presented live so you can ask questions of the presenters. Click below for more information.

Learn more >>

PREPARING FOR THE GARDEN SEASON - Tired of winter and eager to start planning for the garden season? If so, join University of Illinois Master Gardeners as they present four sessions to help gardeners prepare for the upcoming garden season. Click the link below for more information.

Learn more >>

2017 SMALL FARMS WINTER WEBINAR SERIES - University of Illinois Extension presents a weekly educational series for the small farm community. This series will provide practical knowledge on emerging topics which advance local food production in Illinois. These online presentations will give small farm producers a look at how leading practices in production, management, and marketing enable operations to improve profitability and sustainability. Webinars will be held from noon -1:00 pm on Thursdays and are free. Click below for more information and registration.

Learn more >>

Unit 24 Extension Council 2016-2017: Mr. Donnie Ahrens; Ms. Valarie Berekashvilli; Ms. Jill Cowsert; Mr. Don Darnell; Ms. Beth Eckert; Ms. Nancy Evans, Chair; Ms. Janetta Flener; Mr. Ryder Flener; Mr. Eric Fodor; Ms. Glenna Maxwell, Secretary; Mr. John McKinney; Ms. Elaine Miller; Mr. Charles Nolan, Vice Chair; Ms. Melissa Presser; Ms. Robin Pyle; Ms. Joy Richey; Ms. Nadine York

Consumer & Economic Development

When Things Get a Little Heated

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 2,000 people lose their lives in residential fires every year in the U.S. A majority of fatal fires happen when families are asleep, so having a properly installed and maintained smoke alarm standing guard for you around the clock is considered to be one of the best and least expensive ways of providing an early warning of a potentially deadly fire. When the alarm first senses smoke, it sounds a shrill alarm, allowing precious, but limited, time to escape ( Once you and your family are safely outside the structure, the local fire department is called into action.

Upon their arrival, they may be able to quickly identify the source of the fire and extinguish it without any serious damage to your home, or perhaps their role may be to contain the fire to your residence while saving your vehicle, your exterior structures, or the neighborhood from damage. In addition to residential fires, local departments also respond to incidents on our roadways, and to fire events at commercial structures, farm buildings, and in our fields and forests.

Sadly, the news and social media are full of heartbreaking stories, like the massive wildfires in Gatlinburg, Tennessee in late November 2016. Most of us have either experienced a fire event or know someone who has – perhaps, a neighbor, a friend, a co-worker, or another family member. A fire destroyed the residence of two of my family members. Due to the conviction of a 4-year old who understood the importance of getting out of the house and calling the fire department when he smells smoke, learned during a fire safety program provided to his Head Start class by one of our local fire departments, he is now 8 and his big sister is 12.

I recently read a Facebook post by a friend who outlined that a fire broke out in her roof during the night while she was sleeping. Her post offered a huge THANK YOU to the local fire department for their promptness and professionalism while identifying the source of the fire. Her post closed with "We feel very blessed to be part of our community."

Whether your local fire department has volunteer or paid staff, funding to support the department comes from a variety of sources, including local, state, and federal. Many of our rural communities throughout the state also seek out grant funding in an effort to keep their departments operating. Despite the specific funding source, the harsh reality is that funding is required to keep the fire trucks rolling, keep the staff at the ready, and to keep the equipment in good working order.

When faced with a shrill alarm awakening us from our sleep at 2 in the morning, we expect the fire truck to come rolling in. Therefore, there is no better time to remind the residents of Illinois that Spending Locally First ensures the department will be there if things get a little heated.

The State of Illinois, and many or our municipalities and counties, especially those in the rural regions of the State, are experiencing unprecedented fiscal challenges. Stagnant or declining revenue streams as a result of buying patterns that no longer support local businesses, which generate tax revenues and provide local jobs, are plaguing our rural regions. This new reality is placing increased pressure on local governments and other taxing districts to provide essential services, such as fire protection. The resulting dilemma for local governments is to identify new ways to balance the budget. This can mean increasing revenues (i.e. raising taxes), cutting expenses, or a combination of the two. Either way, rural residents lose, as they either pay higher taxes and/or have fewer services available.

Therefore, in the simplest of terms, the more money we spend locally and within our State, the more tax dollars we will generate to support our state, county, and municipal budgets, resulting in more resources to fund the fire departments that provide fire safety education and respond to our emergency calls.

Certainly, there may be "perceived" lower cost alternatives available online, or perhaps, just across the border in a neighboring state, but the reality is when you purchase items and pay sales taxes out of state, you are supporting their state, county, and municipal budgets, not ours.

University of Illinois Extension Educator Susan Odum says, "In a nut shell, if essential public services, such as fire protection, are important to you, then shopping local SHOULD be important to you, because it provides the resources needed for emergency response efforts to occur."

Questions? Contact Susan Odum, Extension Educator, Community and Economic Development at

Information and Resources for You

4-H Youth Development Commercial Agriculture Community and Economic Development Family Life Horticulture Local Food Systems and Small Farms Nutrition and Wellness Schools Online

Extension Meetings

Hamilton Co 4-H Public Presentations
Thursday March 30, 2017 • 6:00 PM
Unit 24 Illini Fighting Hunger Food Packaging Event
Saturday April 1, 2017 • 9:00 AM
White Co 4-H Cloverbud Meeting
Thursday April 6, 2017 • 3:30 PM
White Co 4-H Federation Meeting
Thursday April 6, 2017 • 5:00 PM
Saline Co 4-H Swine Weigh In
Saturday April 8, 2017 • 1:00 PM
White Co 4-H Swine Weigh In
Saturday April 15, 2017 • 9:00 AM
White Co 4-H Cloverbud Meeting
Thursday April 20, 2017 • 3:30 PM
Unit 24 Livestock Judging and Skill-a-Thon
Saturday April 22, 2017 • 9:00 AM
Saline Co 4-H International Night
Monday April 24, 2017 • 6:00 PM
White Co 4-H Livestock Committee Meeting
Tuesday April 25, 2017 • 5:00 PM
White Co 4-H Leadership Committee Meeting
Tuesday April 25, 2017 • 6:15 PM
Saline Co 4-H Lamb/Goat Weigh Ins
Saturday April 29, 2017 • 1:00 PM
White Co 4-H Cloverbud Meeting
Thursday May 4, 2017 • 3:30 PM
White Co 4-H Cloverbud Meeting
Thursday May 18, 2017 • 3:30 PM

View All Meetings »