Meet Bath County’s New Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources
This is part one of my phone interview with Berekely Clark, who will be hosting a free “Meet your new ANR Agent and Intro to Homesteading” Presentation at the Bath County Library at 4:45 pm on Wednesday, February 26th and at the Highland County Library at 6:30 pm on Thursday 2/2February 27th. Refreshments will be provided!
I’m on call with Berkeley Clark, who is Bath’s new extension agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources. Can you tell our listening audience a little bit about yourself and your background?
Yes. So I originally came from West Virginia. I grew up in 4-H and FFA and I showed cows, horses, you name it. I was really involved in agriculture my whole childhood, so then that really impacted me to decide to study agriculture in college. I attended West Virginia University, and I got my education in agriculture of course, and then I really felt like if I was going to go be an aga-agent after college that I should probably get some more hands-on experience so then I managed my step dad’s beef cattle farm for about two years, and then that led me to where I’m at today.
Can you give our audience a description of what that job title means? And about the Cooperative Extension and what services that you can provide for the community.
Yes. So Virginia Cooperative Extension is a program that basically comes from your land grant university, which in Virginia is Virginia Tech, and then Virginia State University has Cooperative Extension from each state as a land grant university. An extension basically brings research and knowledge to the Commonwealth so this actually started in other countries, but in the United States started during the Dust Bowl and farmers were having issues with restoring their land and they created extension agents to help with that, and it actually went really well. So hence why we have an extension today. There are many things that extension does. There’s a 4-H agent, of course, that’s Kari Sponaugle, and she handles all the youth programming. For agriculture, we can handle soil tests, compost tests, manure tests. We can facilitate water testing. There’s many programs through Virginia Tech like beef quality assurance training, basically, it there’s a wide variety of things that extension can do for people.
What do people in the area come to you guys for most?
You know, since I just started the 10th of January there hasn’t been a whole lot of foot traffic in here yet. Many of its been for 4-H’s paying for 4-H camp, but as spring comes up, a lot of people come in for soil testing, and questions regarding their yards, maybe their trees and then the local cattle and sheep association members usually have questions as well.
What are some of your goals that you want to accomplish since you’re doing this? You’ve been doing this you said since January, right?
Yes, I have many things in mind. They kind of change as time goes on. I definitely want to reach out to the community and figure out what they need from me, and some of that looks like it seems that we need more of a market for our beef and sheep producers in the area. So I really want to help bridge that gap and hopefully get more participation in our beef and cattle associations and basically just getting anyone involved in agriculture. I myself, I just moved literally over the weekend to Highland County. I don’t really have a farm but I basically have a homestead and I have chickens and a garden, we burn on wood and just getting people to really be self-sufficient and get back to what I think was intended for us to do.
So where is your office located and what is the best way for our audience to contact you?
I’m actually working both in the Bath County courthouse in Warm Springs as well as the Highland county extension office. I’m mostly in Bath County and you can find me here from 8:30 to 4:30, Monday through Friday. One day a week generally Tuesdays, I will be in Highland county 830 to five and then you can call me at the Bath County number is 540-839-7261. And you’ll usually find me there if you call the Highland number they’ll they’ll relay a message and then the best way to contact me is via email, which is firstname.lastname@example.org
Awesome. Do you have anything else that you’d want to share with our listeners?
I think the only thing I could probably share is that I don’t claim to be an expert at anything- I’m here to learn from them just as they might be here to learn from me and my interests go farther than just Agriculture. I have a horse, I like to budget, you know, I like other things other than agriculture. So just stop by and see what I can do for you.
Well, thank you for doing this phone interview with me. I’m glad that we have you here doing that job.
Thank you. I’m excited and excited to learn too!
If you’re looking to learn a bit about homesteading and wanting to meet Berkely, check out her presentation at the Bath County Library on Wednesday, February 26th at 4:45 pm and at the Highland County Library at 6:30 pm on Thursday on February 27th. Refreshments will be provided!
For AMR News, I’m Abby Dufour