Since working with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, I have been in awe of our County Extension Agents. Most often their hours align with famer’s hours – sunrise to sunset (and if they are between those times, red bull drinks are always in their hands). They love their community, they love agriculture, and they love the people that embody both of those things. They are the heartbeat of Texas agriculture. What they do for their job, how they do their job, where they do their job absolutely amazes me. That said, I wanted to learn more about our County Extension Agents – I wanted to learn why they do this job.
I have started a new blog series called “Meet a County Extension Agent” and I hope you enjoy getting to meet these incredible folks as much as I have.
Our October issue features Michael Palmer, Coleman County Extension Agent. Mr. Palmer is a one-of-a-kind agent, and in my opinion he just gets it. He is open-minded, willing to learn, willing to work hard, and makes everybody feel like they are contributing toward a bigger purpose.
Meet Mr. Michael Palmer:
Why did you become a County Extension Agent? I have always had an interest in agriculture and have been involved in farming and livestock operations with my family since childhood. I knew I wanted a career in agriculture and the opportunities that Extension offers only enhance the desire to be involved in agriculture. I like the diversity that being a county Extension agent offers; things are always changing.
What are some concerns specific to agriculture in your county? Coleman County is a diverse county made up of range and pasture, as well as cultivated land. Agriculture is a key industry here. Many producers continually conduct brush control, as it is a never-ending issue with undesirable and invasive plants. Predator control is another issue landowners face; specifically wild hogs. Coleman County has a large number of sheep and goat producers who, along with the wildlife industry, face challenges with predation caused by coyotes and bobcats. Many farmers are currently facing challenges with low wheat prices and high input costs. Alternative crops have been looked at but no silver bullet has been found.
What is the most rewarding part of your position? Being able to make a positive difference within the communities where I live and work; and make a difference in the relationships I develop with the people of the counties I have worked in the past 19 years.
What is the weirdest request you have ever received as a CEA and how did you solve it? It would be hard to narrow down to only one request, but I have had several requests over the years that were “odd”. That’s what I like about being a county Extension agent; you never know what the day holds or what the questions will be.
If you could be anything else, what would you be? I don’t know that I would change what I do because a career as a county Extension agent is more of a lifestyle than a job. I get to combine the work I do with my hobbies/interests and am always garnering knowledge that I’m able to apply to each.
Thank you Mr. Palmer for all you do! We are grateful to have you!