How Smart is Your Ag Agentgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Dairygoats : One Thread
I see this advise so often.."Check with your ag agent"..that I have to comment on it. In the county where I live (won't mention the name for obvious reasons)we have had a turn-over of about half a dozen ag agents in the last 10 years. We always get the fresh-out-of-school, wet behind the ears kids who don't know squat about what they are doing. And we always get the cattle production majors. They may have access to good reference material, but most can't find their backsides with both hands. I once noticed apple trees in our area putting on a wonderful crop of fruit, so I called the ag office. Asked what variety it was that was looking so good in everyones yard, was told apples don't do well here. That wasn't my question, do you know what they are? Huge crops of blush pink over light green. Apples do not do well here. Ok, let's try this again...You get my drift. After ten minutes of this little aggie boy telling me apples don't grow here, I gave up and asked if he could steer me toward someone at the college who could answer my question. I ended up with reams of info about apples in my area. Same with gardening questions in general. Now, ask about bull evaluations or hay analysis, and you're in business. So, you know what I think of our local agents, how about yours? Do you trust their advise, or are they incompetent government boobs who can't spell extension office, let alone find their way to it each day?
-- melina b. (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 13, 2002
Our Ag agent does not have much information on anything. If you want information you have to go look it up yourself or call the next counties agent to get any type of help. The office people know more about things so I usually just ask them.
-- shari (email@example.com), February 14, 2002.
Amen! (Sorry, Ken!) Here it's the same thing. When we first started with chickens, I went in and asked our newbie agent if he had any info on sizes of nest boxes, etc. He suggested I try the local library! We're on our third new graduate since him, unfortunately! I've had luck checking with the agent in another county to the north of us, but here, forget it! Guess they all have to start somewhere, but it sure doesn't help us that need them! Jan
-- Jan in CO (Janice12@aol.com), February 14, 2002.
Here it is all cattle, hay, peanuts, sorghum (sp?), and corn. If you ask about fruit tress, they say, peaches and pears. That's all they know. The agent here isn't a college kid, but when I have called, he was taken back by questions regarding dairy goats, grapes, blueberries. He's a nice man, but he knows the things he deals with daily the best, and my interests aren't those things!
-- Doreen (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 16, 2002.
These extension folks are expected to know just about everything and unless they've been in it a LONG time, they won't. They are USUALLY interested in finding out answers to your questions, but you may have to word it differently. If you are in an area where there is mostly cattle and peanuts, ask the extension agent if they could find out which universities in your area of the country do research concerning bees or honey or apple trees or whatever you want to learn about. Ask them if they could find out who the extension agent or professor in charge is and then go talk to that person. I know that Cornell does a lot of work with goats and that bees are researched at Penn State and in Beltsville in MD. The "experts" may not have the approach you are looking for and may not be of help (as in, you may be interested in organic and they are pro-med or chem), but at least you have a valid starting point. Extension is extended a long way beyond the agent in your county and he/she is connected with educators and experts nationwide. Make that agent exercise his/her research muscle and if you can not convince the agent to do so, go to his/her boss and you will eventually find someone who will help you.
-- Sheryl in Me (email@example.com), February 16, 2002.
NOT VERY. When I first moved to X county, PA. I went to Ag office for Goat material - Nothing there, they said. So now I'm the dairy goat 4-H LEADER FOR 5 YRS. They do have everything!
-- Bety Quintana (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 23, 2002.
Bety sounds like they are VERY smart to me, getting you to take over the dairy goat club!!! :) Vicki
-- Vicki McGaugh TX (email@example.com), February 24, 2002.