University of Georgia Extension agent Scott Carlson is a middleman of agricultural information. He brings the university to the people.
One day Carlson may be in a cornfield listening to a farmer's questions about insect control. The next, Carlson is on the UGA Tifton Campus searching for answers from researchers in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
“Extension's been a good experience for me. I feel like we're meeting the needs of people. Part of what we do as agents is try to help find answers to questions and help people have the latest information (from) experiment stations and research,” Carlson said.
Extension has played a starring role in Carlson's life since 1996 when he started in Irwin County as an agent in training. After two years, Carlson moved to Tift County where he served five years working with 4-H livestock and row crop agriculture. His longest-serving position was as an agent in Ben Hill County where he worked for more than 9 years. He's now settled in Worth County where he's been since March, 2013.
“There's a lot of agriculture here, row crop agriculture. That's more of my background and interest having grown up on a farm. With an agent position, though, you have to learn about any part of agriculture, whether it's homeowners' yards or corn or pond management, forestry or livestock,” Carlson said. “I thought it was a good opportunity to come and work with the farmers in Worth County.”
While Carlson has called various places home during his career with UGA Extension, one important part of being an agent hasn't changed â€” building relationships, whether it is with the farmers of Worth County or with the scientists conducting the research at UGA.
“We get to meet a lot of people in this job, but part of it is building relationships and working with people. You have to be able to do that as an agent, to be able to work with people well,” he said. “Hopefully, that's what we all strive to do.”
Carlson knew he wanted a career in agriculture after growing up on a farm in Dawson, Ga. His father farmed row crops, specifically corn, cotton and peanuts. Watching his dad work on a daily basis helped prepare Carlson for the career he eventually attained in Extension.
“I was exposed to a lot of things on the farm. I think it's helped me with my job as an agent,” Carlson said.
Being able to make a difference motivated Carlson as a young agent in training and still motivates him today as a veteran Extension agent.
“There are things that may not be as enjoyable, but that's part of what farming is. These farmers deal with that day in and day out. I believe that with what we do, we can help them. Our job isn't like being on the farm in the day-to-day (tasks) that have to be done. It is helping farmers make decisions on being more profitable or on saving money in certain areas. We're helping them to do the best that they can,” Carlson said. “It's their occupation and their living.”
Visit the UGA Extension Tift County website for more information about local programs.
Published April 21, 2014
D. Scott Carlson
Agriculture & Natural Resources
"We get to meet a lot of people in this job, but part of it is building relationships and working with people. You have to be able to do that as an agent, to be able to work with people well. Hopefully, that's what we all strive to do."
- Scott Carlson, Worth County ANR Agent