To find your local Agricultural county office, check this link: http://pickyourown.org/countyextensionagentoffices.htm
Or do what I did, and Google “agricultural extension office [your] county”.
What can you use them for?
Why you should use them?
Most of the extension offices also have facebook pages. I’ve checked out several of the FB pages of neighboring states, and they offer everything from courses on equine senior care to assistance with health insurance.
Since I’m easily confused and was having difficulty finding an answer to a specific question (how to get free water testing), I simply emailed the main contact email address on my county’s agricultural extension web page. This was during a holiday, so it did take a couple days for them to respond (I assume gov offices were closed).
I was then put in touch with a person who works with the top veterinary college in my state. Within a few days, we had set up an appointment for him and an equine veterinarian from the college to come to my house to check out everything (from what grew in my pasture, to what I was feeding, right down to the health and condition of my horses).
They walked me through what I was feeding (hay and supplements) and suggested some tweaks to ensure I was providing all the minerals/nutrients that the horses needed.
They answered the billion questions I had about how to test hay, where to send it for testing, and how to interpret the results. They brought out a hay corer to get samples of my hay, and helped me package it up for shipping to be analyzed. They then gave me a direct contact to a equine nutritional expert to help me interpret the results.
In addition to this, they sent me resources for more information on iron levels in horses, gave me instructions on how to build my own hay probe (because I refuse to pay $200 to buy one), and discussed best practices for how to manage my IR horses with my existing set up.
I’d strongly recommend that you take advantage of this resource. It’s completely free, and is beneficial to both beginners and the knowledgeable horse folks out there.
- Fast-Track = $18.00
- Equi-Track = $28.00
They’ll email, or snail mail, a copy of the report to you.
You may need to research how to interpret the results, or contact your Ag department for help.
There are also some good websites with information on interpreting results: https://extension.msstate.edu/sites/default/files/publications/publications/p2620.pdf
List of Hay Probes: http://www.foragetesting.org/index.php?page=hay_probes
You can also make one from a golf club, or ask your Ag department to bring one out when they come out.
Overall, absolutely the best resource to have available. It’s completely free. They’re wonderfully nice, helpful, and a joy to work with. I think every one of you should take advantage of these services.
And if you can’t find what you’re looking for on their website, contact them!