County Extension Agent

Click the image above to view flierFebruary 19, 2019 - Tired at the end of your workday, need to find a way to save on your grocery budget, want to put a delicious hot and healthy meal on the dinner table? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then the Freezer Pleaser Meal Prep Club workshop is for you! Join other like-minded people to learn and prep 10 to 20 freezer meals on monthly basis. 

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Shelby County will be hosting the first monthly meal prep classes on Monday, February 25th from 3 to 7pm and Saturday, March 2nd from 1 to 5pm at the Extension office, 266 Nacogdoches Street, Center, TX 75935. These classes are “come and go” sessions so that you can prep, freeze, and eat a healthy meal over the course of time. You may participate in one workshop or both. Additional workshop sessions will be held the last Monday and first Saturday of each month.

How does this work?
• A selection of recipes will be provided in advance to participants so that you may choose the meals you want to make and take.
• A master grocery list for food items to purchase will be available for email or pickup.
• All seasonings/spices will be provided each participant.
• Printed food meal labels will be provided for your use.
• Kitchen bowls, prepping items, measuring cups/spoons, food scales, and more will be available for your use.

Bring your food, have fun, prep your meals for the next month, then sit back and admire your stocked freezer and think about the time and money you have saved while putting that delicious hot meal on the dinner table in no time at all.

Registration and payment in advance is required to hold your space. The cost for this workshop is $15 per person per session. Sessions are limited to 12 participants. If you would like to register or need more information, please contact Jheri-Lynn McSwain, CEA-FCH at 936-598-7744 or via email at

October 19, 2018 - Calling all Shelby County youth and parents! Have you ever wanted to learn something new and different while having fun? Well we have it, from cooking, taking pictures, fashion, robotics, shooting sports, raising and showing livestock and much, much more for youth 3rd through 12th grades. Youth members may join now until October 31st for a $20 participation fee. Price changes November 1st to $25. Adults pay a $10 volunteer applicant fee. An active enrollment is required in order to register and participate in all 4-H activities and events.  

What is 4-H?
4-H is a national organization which helps young people develop life-long knowledge and skills to become engaged citizens. Through 4-H, youth are also taught how to meet the diversities and challenges of today’s society by bringing together youth and adults to design programs that will teach skills for living. 4-H is truly a model of the “learning by doing” teaching concept. It reaches people in their own communities with delivery methods suitable to their needs. 4-H also helps to provide opportunities for families and communities to develop stronger bonds

2018 projects offered include:
Shooting Sports, Photography, Foods and Nutrition, Clothing and Textiles, Robotics, Quilts of Valor, Outdoor Challenge, Taxidermy, Horse, Poultry, Beef, Swine, Rabbit, Goat, Sheep, Leadership

Monthly Club Meetings:
Shelby County clubs will meet at the new Extension office the 1st Monday of each month at 6:00 p.m.  Monthly meetings will feature a theme, a hands-on program, provide a food prepping and tasting opportunity and a fun team building recreation component.

Scholarship Opportunities:
Shelby County 4-H will be providing up to a $1,000 scholarship for continued education past high school, whether it be college or trade school. The annual winner will be selected on an earned point system for project and club meeting participation, community service, leadership and more.

So, come by the office and see what Shelby County 4-H has to offer your child.  If you have any questions regarding 4-H, please do not hesitate to contact the Shelby County Extension Office at 936-598-7744, Lane Dunn, Ag/NR Agent and Jheri-Lynn McSwain, FCH Agent.  Be sure to check us out on Facebook at Shelby Extension.

July 2, 2018 - Last day to order broilers for the Shelby County 4 H and FFA Broiler show is here!

A pen of 30 chicks can be ordered and purchased for $30. Show rules and paperwork may be picked-up at the Extension office at 266 Nacogdoches Street (Old Elementary School Library Bldg.) All orders are due no later than July 2nd and are payable by check or money order only. Tentative date for pick-up of show chickens is the week of August 20, 2018. The 2018 Broiler Show and Sale will be held on October 6, 2018.

There will be a mandatory information meeting for anyone who wishes to participate in the Shelby County 4 H and FFA Broiler Show for 2018. This meeting will be held at the Shelby County 4H facilities located at 226 Nacogdoches Street on August 7, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. Each exhibitor must have a parent or legal guardian (or a representative designated in writing by a parent or guardian) in attendance at that meeting.

Exhibitor’s WILL NOT be able to participate in the show without having attended this meeting. 

Please make arrangements to attend.

If you have questions about participating in the 4-H Poultry project or learning what is involved in showing and raising chickens as a 4-H member, give Lane Dunn, Shelby County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources a call at 936-598-7744 or email at

Anyone needing special assistance at any Extension Program should contact the Texas AgriLife Extension Office of Shelby County at (936) 598-7744 at least two weeks prior to the event or program. Educational programs of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information or veteran status. The Texas A&M University System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the County Commissioners Courts of Texas Cooperating.

May 18, 2018 -  The 2018 District 5 4-H Shoot was held at Pines Gun Club in Lufkin, TX on May 5th. District 5 consists of 22 counties in East Texas. Representing Shelby County 4-H Shooters were: Emily Bennett and Rex Payne. The results were as follows:
Intermediate Novice Division:
Emily Bennett-4th in Trap/Skeet, and 2nd in Tower

Junior Novice Division:​
Rex Payne-5th in Trap/Skeet, and 2nd in Tower

(Pictured Left to Right:  Rex Payne, Emily Bennett)

Please help us congratulate these participants on a job well done representing Shelby County 4-H.

If you have any questions or would like more information regarding 4-H, please give us a call at 936-598-7744.

February 13, 2018 - Mr. Raid, from an early 1950s TV commercial, has influenced our thoughts about pest control.

For many of us, the ultimate solution for cockroaches and bed bugs and other household pests is the “bug bomb.” Remember the old Raid commercials, where bugs flee from Mr. Raid, only to be followed home by the ominous cloud of death? The implication is that the cloud from a bug bomb is like a heat seeking missile, able to follow pests into their deepest safe houses.

So how well do bug bombs really work? It turns out, not nearly as well as the animated ads suggest. Give a bed bug even a slip of cotton fabric to hide under, and even highly pesticide-susceptible bed bugs are unaffected by a total release fogger (bug bomb) blowing its top only a few feet away. This, according to a study conducted at Ohio State a few years ago.

Pest control professionals have long known that bug bombs in kitchens and other areas rarely eliminate cockroaches. Rather they seem to drive pests deeper into walls and utility areas. It turns out that aerosol insecticides do not penetrate cracks and crevices where pests spend most of their time.

Then there’s the growing concern about safety. A recent CDC report documented 3200 illnesses resulting from use of TRFs in just a few states between 2007 and 2015. Of these cases, 92% occurred in homes. Symptoms of exposure included cough, shortness of breath, chest irritation, vomiting, nausea, and cramping. 78% of cases were classified as low severity, and four out of the 3,222 cases were fatal. Some cases occurred when users did not vacate the treated areas while treating. Other times people entered too soon, or before the home was adequately aired. Moderate and severe illnesses occurred in men over 60, people with preexisting asthma, or who did not leave the treated area as instructed on the label.
Insects that escape into cracks and crevices are tougher than TV ads would have you believe. Insecticide fogs are not designed to penetrate under or inside furniture or walls.

This is no “smoking gun” report, implying that TRFs cannot be used safely indoors. Rather it seems to indicate that many people are not following fogger label directions, and thus reaping unhealthy consequences.

And then there are those folks who guess as to how many bug bombs they need, rather than following the label. It seems to be a universal human belief that when it comes to insecticides, “if a little is good, more will be better.” But besides increasing the risk of pesticide overexposure, using too many TRFs can lead to explosions, especially when aerosol particles build up around an open flame, like a stove or water heater pilot. This fact helped elevate bug bombs into the follies section of (a myth busters website dedicated to exposing urban legends). In this case, Snopes investigated the idea that bug bombs might cause explosions and found that indeed explosions can result from using too many bug bombs at a time. One recent explosion, not only destroyed an apartment, but killed the owner’s cat.

The lesson from all this is that foggers are not very effective for insects that spend most of the time hiding, such as immature fleas, cockroaches, bed bugs and ants. They can help rid a room (temporarily) of flying insects, or insects otherwise in the open; but these problems are much less common. There are many other, better, ways of managing cockroaches and bed bugs that you can read about in the Citybugs website.

Personally, I don’t often recommend total release foggers. But if you choose to use one, take the time to calculate the size of the room (length X width X height) before your purchase. Then read the product label in the store to calculate how many TRFs you need. Do not buy or use more than recommended. It is a waste of money and potentially dangerous to you and your pets.

Lane Dunn is the County Extension Agent for agriculture and natural resources for Shelby County. His email address is

Educational programs of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, national origin, genetic information or veteran status. The Texas A&M University System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the County Commissioners Courts of Texas Cooperating.

December 22, 2017 - I was falsely accused last week. A distraught homeowner called about the hordes of insects that had come into her house. They were Lady Beetles looking for a place to overwinter.

Lady beetles can have a variety of colors and spots. All of these insects are beneficial.When I told her they are a common nuisance and could simply be vacuumed up or swept out, she told me that I didn’t understand, she had a “serious infestation!” So much was her distress that my ability to comprehend large numbers of insects was called into question!

It is true that homeowners may be seeing numerous lady beetles invading their homes this time of year. Lady beetles are insects that are considered beneficial. But they are not invading your home to cause problems, only to stay warm. The lady beetle does not chew or bore holes in walls nor do they eat carpet or any food in the pantry.

While they cause no harm, their overwintering habits inside people’s homes causes them to be a nuisance.

Lady beetles have been considered one of our most beloved insect. They are in stories, a good luck charm for some, and I’ve even seen kids dress up as one for Halloween. You’d never see a kid dress up as a fire ant or termite!

Locally we call them Lady Bugs. If you grew up and don’t remember seeing as many, you are absolutely correct.

This is the larvae of a lady bug and should not be “controlled” in your landscape and garden.There is a native Lady beetle that are harder to locate and a multitude of non-native insects that are native to Asia but in the past few decades have spread to many areas of the United States.

This beneficial (yet sometimes controversial) Asian relative was released in the United States as early as 1916. More were released in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. It has taken years for the populations to spread, but now large populations are found in many areas of the south, northeast, Midwest, and as far north as Oregon and Washington.

Adult beetles can have a variety of colors and spots. The larvae are soft-bodied, gray and orange, and covered with rows of raised black spots.

The lady beetle is an effective and natural control for harmful plant pests such as aphids, scale, and other soft-bodied arthropods. One adult lady beetle may eat over 5,000 aphids during its lifetime.

A few folks ask if they bite. Well, sort of.

Lady beetles have mandibles, a jaw-like part of their mouth that they use to capture and eat their prey. And while they are not out to bite (like a fire-ant) or sting (like a hornet), they can certainly give someone a good pinch on the skin with those mandibles!

The lady beetle also has a defense mechanism. If agitated or disturbed, the beetle’s reaction is to “reflex” bleed in which a yellow fluid with an unpleasant odor is released from the leg joints. This reaction helps prevent predators, such as birds, from eating the lady beetle.

This fluid can sometimes stain walls and fabrics.

The lady beetle is attracted to lighter colors such as whites, grays, and yellows. They enter homes through cracks and crevices. During warm winter days and early spring, the lady beetle may become more active searching for an exit.

No “control” of these beneficial insects is warranted as is for termites or perhaps fruit flies. Prevent them from entering the home by caulking exterior cracks and crevices. Sweeping and vacuuming are effective means of removing these insects from the living area.

Article by Lane Dunn, County Extension Agent for agriculture and natural resources for Shelby County. His email address is

Educational programs of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, national origin, genetic information or veteran status. The Texas A&M University System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the County Commissioners Courts of Texas Cooperating.

November 6, 2017 - Jheri-Lynn McSwain, Shelby County Extension Agent was honored recently at the National Extension Association for Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) 2017 annual session for her programming efforts in Shelby County, Texas. She received the 1st place National and 1st place Region NEAFCS Greenwood Frysinger Fellowship Award, 2nd place National and 3rd place Southern Region Mary W. Wells Memorial Diversity Award, 2nd place National and 1st place Southern Region Environmental Education Team Award, and 3rd place Southern Region Communications Educational Technology Award at the conference held on October 19, 2017 in Omaha, Nebraska.  

The Greenwood Frysinger Fellowship is granted to an Extension Educator in Family and Consumer Sciences by NEAFCS to give members an opportunity to participate in a professional development opportunity of their own choosing. The award was presented based upon McSwain’s work with the Shelby County Community Garden project and school gardening programs at Center Elementary, S.W. Carter Elementary, and Excelsior School.

She received the Mary W. Wells Memorial Diversity Award and was recognized for her collaboration with Piney Woods Outreach Center to offer Step Up and Scale Down, a 12-week nutrition, fitness and weight management program for 63 participants in which 414 pounds of weight was lost. The Mary W. Wells Memorial Diversity Award is presented in support of the Cooperative Extension System emphasis on diversity and pluralism—a national program to respond to the changing work force, population and Extension audience. 

The Environmental Education Award recognizes NEAFCS members for outstanding educational programs conducted for families and/or communities on various environmental issues concerning water quality, air quality, recycling and natural resource conservation. McSwain served on a team of Region 4 and 5 Extension agents to develop and provide Earth-Kind Living Expos for participants to learn about ways to make their homes and land more environmentally sound.

The Communications Educational Technology Award was given in recognition for her program development of “Food Waste and Kitchen Pest Management” for use by other agents across the state. These NEAFCS awards were presented McSwain for her commitment to meeting the needs of individuals, families and communities.  

NEAFCS Environmental Education Award Team: Johanna Hicks, CEA-FCH - Hopkins County; Denita Young, CEA-FCH – Rains County; Jheri-Lynn McSwain, CEA-FCH – Shelby County. 

October 27, 2017 - The Shelby County A&M AgriLife Extension Office is hosting a Beef & Forage Seminar Thursday, November 2, 2017. The program will be held in the Extension Office Gym (Old Elementary School Gym) at 266 Nacogdoches Street, Center, TX.

Pre-Registration is $15 per person and registration at the door is $20. Click here to see/print Registration form.

The program will be held from 6:00-9:00PM, meal served at 5:30PM sponsored by Crop Production Services.

Speakers and topics include Vanessa Corriher-Olsen, Ph.D., a Texas A&M AgriLife Forage Extension Specialist and John Roach, Crop Production Services. Corriher-Olson will speak about getting the most out of your spray equipment, calibration, GPS and nozzles as well as speak about use of dry, liquid, and organic fertilizers. Roach will give a chemical update.

The program will also provide 3 C.E.U. credits with 2 general and 1 IPM. Please RSVP by October 30th, 2017 with payment.

Return registration form and fee to: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Beef & Forage Seminar, 200 San Augustine Street #7, Center, Texas 75935.

The members of Texas A&M AgriLife will provide equal opportunities in programs and activities, education, and employment to all persons regardless of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation or gender identity and will strive to achieve full and equal employment opportunity throughout Texas A&M AgriLife. The Texas A&M University System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the County Commissioners Courts of Texas Cooperating. Anyone needing special assistance at an Extension Program should contact the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office of Shelby County (936) 598-7744 at least two weeks prior to the program or event.

Submitted by Lane Dunn

October 10, 2017 - The 2017 East Texas Poultry Festival broiler sale brought over $120,700 with the grand champion pen of broilers selling for $9,000.00.

Eighty-three Shelby County 4-H and FFA youth exhibited at this year's show, with 45 pens of broilers making the sale. We would like to give special thanks to the Judge Jacob Price for taking the time to come judge the show. Mr. Price spoke to several of the exhibitors and gave them several tips of how to grow an outstanding Broiler.

The Results of the show are as follows:

Camille Greer of Shelby County 4-H sold her grand champion pen of broilers to East Texas Poultry, Ace Hardware of East Texas and 4-C Electric for $9,000.00.

Cale Hall of Center FFA won reserve champion honors with his pen of broilers, which sold to Farmer’s State Bank for $5,500.

Other Shelby County 4-H and FFA members selling their pens and buyers were:

3. Klayton LaRock, Center FFA; Shelby Savings Bank, General Shelters, Hunter Buildings, Nacogdoches Bottling Company; $3,000.00
4. Zoie Eberenz, Center FFA; First Financial Bank; $2,750.00
5. Addison Lloyd, Shelby County 4-H; 4-L Logging; $2,500.00
6. Wesley Wages, Shelby County 4-H; Shelby Savings Bank, General Shelters, Hunter Buildings, Nacogdoches Bottling Company; $2,500.00
7. Corey Smelley, Timpson FFA; Austin Bank; $2,500.00
8. Mason Perry, Center FFA; Chris Paddie State Representative; $2,800.00
9. Grant Gregory, Center FFA; Tyson-Carthage; $2,500.00
10. Collin Lloyd, Shelby County 4-H; Shelby Savings Bank, General Shelters, Hunter Buildings, Nacogdoches Bottling Company; $2,600.00
11. Emilee Elliott, Center FFA; Borders Poultry Supply, $2,600.00
12. Stormie Meyers, Joaquin FFA; R&D Distributing, Fish & Still Equipment, Heritage Land Bank; $2,250.00
13. Logan Holloway, Center FFA; McAdams Propane; $3,000.00
14. Logan Speedy, Center FFA; Shelby Savings Bank, General Shelters, Hunter Buildings, Nacogdoches Bottling Company; $2,600.00
15. Colby Lout, Shelby County 4-H; Roughrider Tire; $2,600.00
16. Laura Ann Scull, Shelby County 4-H; Bird Forestry; $2,500.00
17. Camryn Crouch, Shelby County 4-H; Rydaco Investments, Rapid Payday and Title Loans, Title Pro., Insurance Bureau Group, and Pine Creek Farms; $3,200.00
18. Megan Dunn, Shelby County 4-H; Deep East Texas Electric Co-op; $2,600.00
19. Lance Holloway, Center FFA; McAdams Propane; $2,900.00
20. Trista Britt, Center FFA; Shelby County Farm Bureau; $2,400.00
21. Hollie Hamilton, Joaquin FFA; Tyson-Carthage; $2,000.00
22. Seth Shamblin, Center FFA; Pilgrim’s Pride; $2,900.00
23. David Barton Jr., Shelby County 4-H; Pilgrim’s Pride; $2,200.00
24. Brayden Britt, Center FFA; Sabine State Bank, Shelby Veterinary Associates, 96 Equipment Inc; $2,100.00
25. Chandler Pritchett, Joaquin FFA; Tyson-Carthage; $2,400.00
26. Alec Dykes, Shelby County 4-H; Tyson-Nacogdoches; $2,300.00
27. Kaden LaRock, Center FFA; Hawkeye Hunting Club; $2,100.00
28. Rylan Barbee, Shelby County 4-H; Chris Paddie, State Representative; $2,100.00
29. Carsen Vickers, Center FFA; East Texas Surveying and Mapping; $2,400.00
30. Hannah Wages, Shelby County 4-H; Borders Poultry, Heritage Land Bank; $2,400.00
31. Samuel Richey, Shelby County 4-H; Citizens Bank, Keith Oswalt Logging, and Matthews Real Estate; $2,100.00
32. Anna Holland, Tenaha FFA; Chris Paddie, State Representative; $2,200.00
33. Evan O'Rear, Shelby County 4-H; M&M Construction; $2,400.00
34. Mason Hughes, Joaquin FFA; Tyson-Carthage; $1,800.00
35. Faith Alford, Joaquin FFA; Silva-Tech.; $1,900.00
36. Maddox Hutchins, Joaquin FFA; Roughrider Tire; $2,100.00
37. Lane Webb, Joaquin FFA; Bird Forestry; $3,000.00
38. Eli Lout, Shelby County 4-H; Roughrider Tire; $2,700.00
39. Abi Hooper, Joaquin FFA; Link Charolais; $2,700.00
40. Carter Tomlin, Shelby County 4-H; High Roller Wells, and Center Welding; $3,000.00
41. Britain Tyler, Shelby County 4-H; McAdams Propane and Weldon Boles; 1,600.00
42. Autum Andrusick, Shelby County 4-H; Spartan Structures; $1,900.00
43. Wade Collard, Shelby County 4-H; Tyson-Carthage; $1,600.00
44. Aspen Pritchett, Joaquin FFA; Texas State Bank; $2,800.00
45. Julie Bird, Shelby County 4-H; Shelby Savings Bank, General Shelters, Hunter Buildings and Nacogdoches Bottling Company; $3,400.00

Cale Hall, a senior at Center High School, will be awarded a $500 scholarship from Shelby Savings Bank for being the highest placing senior with his pen of broilers and Center’s awards ceremony.

Thanks go to Boles Feed for the purchase of the wing band and the wing-banding for the broilers.

Also contributing to the sale were: East Texas Poultry, Ace Hardware of East Texas, 4-C Electric, Farmers State Bank, Shelby Savings Bank, Hunter Buildings, General Shelters, Nacogdoches Bottling Co., First Financial Bank, 4-L Logging, Austin Bank of Timpson, Chris Paddie, State Representative, Tyson-Carthage, Borders Poultry, R&D Distributing, Fish & Still Equipment, Heritage Land Bank, McAdams Propane, Roughrider Tire, Bird Forestry, Rydaco Investments, Rapid Payday and Title Loans, Title Pro., Insurance Bureau Group, Pine Creek Farms, Deep East Texas Electric Co-op., Cobb Vantress, Shelby County Farm Bureau, Pilgrim’s Pride, Sabine State Bank, Shelby Veterinary Associates, 96 Equipment Inc., Tyson-Nacogdoches, Hawkeye Hunting Club, East Texas Surveying and Mapping, Citizens Bank, Keith Oswalt Logging, Matthews Real Estate, M&M Construction, Silva-Tech, Link Charolais, High Roller Wells, Center Welding, Weldon Boles, Texas State Bank, Lease Operating Services, Double “O” Operating, Trails End, Ms. Odessa Link, Few Ready Mix, Mettauer Law Firm, Wheeler Law Office, Judge Charles Mitchell, Smith Sawmill Services, Dairy Queen, Ihlo Sales & Imports, Elliott & Waldron Title Co., Spartan Construction, Center Tire Company, Atwood (Buddy) & Paula Kay, Bounds Insurance, Fairchild Law Office, Dance Furniture, Shelbyville Grocery, Dean’s Hardware, Ward Animal Clinic, Judge LeeAnn Rafferty, Boles Feed, JBA Financial Services, Worsham’s Grocery, Steel Building Supply, Light & Champion Newspaper, County Judge Allison Harbison, Wayne Christian Financial, Payne’s Rentals, Payne’s Community News, Mack O’Rear Real Estate, Shoop Insurance, Shoop Financial, Action Credit, Monco Motor Company

We would like to take this time to say “thank you” from the Shelby County 4-H and FFA members, and the Broiler Show Committee to Contributors for their generous contributions and to the many volunteers that help make the annual “Broiler Show and Auction” the great event that it is every year!

September 26, 2017 - Shelby County 4-H was well represented at the East Texas State Fair with members winning several divisions in the livestock show. The heifer show started Friday with Hannah Wages winning Reserve Champion Hereford and being selected for the junior showmanship contest.

Hannah Wages

Camille Greer began Saturday by winning Reserve Champion Charolais and she was also selected to show in the junior showmanship contest. Camille then went on to win junior showmanship.

Wesley Wages exhibited the Champion Limousin.

Wesley Wages

When the heifers were finished showing the swine and steers moved in and showed the next day. Seth Shamblin’s Hampshire barrow was selected as Reserve Champion and he also placed first in class with three other hogs.

Megan Dunn’s steer was selected as Champion Charolais. Please take time to congratulate these exhibitors for their efforts and making Shelby County proud!

Camille GreerMegan Dunn

Submitted by Lane Dunn