FARMINGTON – The University of Maine Franklin County Cooperative Extension will move to a building on Pleasant Street by July 1 to give the agriculture-based organization more space.

The organization has outgrown its space at the University of Maine at Farmington’s Facilities Management Building on Farmington Falls Road, next to the Farmington Municipal Building.

The new location is close to the building that houses the local USDA and Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District. It formerly housed the Sexual Assault Victims Emergency Services and Foothills Art Center.

Last week, Extension Executive Committee President Harvey Hayden and member Bill Crandall presented a five-year plan to county commissioners, who endorsed it.

“We didn’t want to go into a lease without them knowing what we’re doing,” Hayden said Thursday.

The five-year lease with Byron “Buzz” Davis allowed the organization to negotiate the best deal, Crandall told commissioners.

The new place needs some retrofitting and has enough space to set up a commercial stove for canning and other classes. The Extension will undertake a five-year plan that includes finding ways to contribute to its support.

The Franklin County Extension has one of the most active 4-H programs in the state, Hayden said. It also offers classes to teach gardening, homemaking and nutrition, among other services. It uses the university’s research experts to provide some programming.

Congress created the Cooperative Extension System nearly a century ago to extend the resources of land-grant universities to the general public, according to the Extension Web site. The Extension is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, land-grant universities and county governments.

The organization’s goals include enhancing economic and environmental sustainability in agriculture and aquaculture; increasing economic and social viability to sustain communities, and enhancing the safety, sustainability and dependability of the food supply, its Web site states.

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