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By James McAfee/The Knox County News-Courier—
BENJAMIN—Knox County Extension agents Jerry Coplin and Lorrie Coop are serving as liaisons to school districts, municipalities and county governments to help each understand, acquire and administer federal assistance available through the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act and recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES Act.
“We help them navigate the process and answer any questions they have about federal funding,” Coop said regarding a series of online trainings developed by Texas A&M AgriLife Research.
More recently, the agents are now also helping agricultural producers navigate the federal funding process and are available to assist them with any questions related to the online training being and application process for federal funding.
“We want to make sure the citizens of our communities are aware of and have access to all resources available to them in a timely manner regarding the CARES Act funding and to help them recover financially as quickly and effectively as possible,” Coop said.
Coop added the agents also are supporting the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) with COVID-19 contact tracing in counties throughout state of Texas. This effort has just recently been launched and agents are currently finishing up the required training needed to effectively assist with the effort.
Patrick Stover, Ph.D., vice chancellor of Texas A&M AgriLife, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, College Station, said helping better understand the CARES stimulus package is in keeping with AgriLife’s mission and purpose.
“We provide quality, relevant outreach and continuing educational programs and services to benefit the people of Texas,” he said. “In helping educate and inform local officials about how to obtain badly needed federal funding, we will be doing a service in helping communities throughout the state recover from this crisis.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the food production and supply and has had a profound and far-reaching effect on those front-line farmers we depend on to meet our needs for food and nutrition.”