Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

July 24, 2013

Extension agent grew into his job

VALDOSTA — As a kid, Jake Price went to work with his father.

Since his dad was a veterinarian who did a lot of work with cows and cow diseases, going to work with him meant going from farm to farm around Ashburn, where he grew up.

In doing so, he developed what would be a life-long interest in agriculture.

It’s what led him to work towards his degree in agriculture. In the summers, Price would work as an insect scout, going through cotton and peanut fields, searching for signs of an insect infestation. He would then work with the farmers and county extension agents, giving them the information they needed to determine if and when crops needed to be sprayed.

That work introduced him to county extension agents and to the work they do. When he finished college, Price started working as a county extension agent.

As part of the extension services offered by the University of Georgia’s College of Agriculture, county extension agents serve as a bridge.

“We bring all of the research to the community,” said Price. “We’re kind of the point of contact. People can talk to us instead of trying to track down a researcher ... It’s so broad, that it’s hard to explain what we do.”

Extension agents find themselves fielding questions from everyone from farmers to gardeners, landscapers to homeowners. Agents pull from a broad swath of research on a variety of agricultural topics.

Take cotton, for example.

There are hundreds of kinds of cotton seed. If you’re interested in growing cotton, how do you choose a seed?


University of Georgia researchers have researched cotton yields for South Georgia conditions, planting plots, harvesting them and calculating the yields.

“If you find one that yields 200 more pounds in the soil here, that’s a distinct advantage. It’s got more upside.”

Of course, after the research is done, it still needs to get into the hands of farmers. That’s why Price, and other extension agents like him across the state, plan meetings with farmers in the winter months before the growing season. They present research and answer questions.

They do the same thing for peanuts, corn and other popular Georgia crops.

And that’s just the crop itself. They do the same level of research on plant diseases, optimal soil conditions and insects that can threaten crops.

And that’s just farming. They also help landscapers, helping them control weeds and keeping yards healthy.

“It helps them do a better job for their clients.”

They work with homeowners as well, helping them understand their soil and their plants.

Any given day might find Price helping a farmer figure out if a new batch of weeds are a noxious threat, analyzing why fish are dying in a pond, helping 4-Hers prepare projects, talking with a homeowner about whether she needs to fumigate for termites or plowing through all the paperwork that comes with the job. Or, some days, all of that at once.

“It can be overwhelming sometimes, having a complete shift of thought from one thing to the other.”

Still, Price values the work, the chance to be on the front lines of agricultural research, to help people and to see kids grow through the 4-H program. And he’s busy, of course, researching satsumas, a type of tangerine that he thinks could be a good crop for the area.

“It’s sweet and easy to peel, but it has to have some cold weather, which is why they can’t grow it down in south Florida. I think it could be grown here ... and I think there’s some interest out there. People are always looking for something to do with a few acres.”

Text Only
Local News
  • 140421 - flooding Shiloh Rd B#1.jpg Road re-opens following flooding

    Lowndes County officials re-opened one road Monday while keeping an eye on the area’s waterways for potential flooding.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Justice_Scales.jpg Second ‘Quitman 11’ case mistrial

    Another week-long trial ended again in mistrial last week in the case of Lula Smart, the Brooks County woman charged in a case of unlawful possession of election ballots, according to court officials Monday.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • graphic.jpg School systems get report cards

    South Georgia school systems received mixed results, with some showing performance increases while others suffered decreases, in the College and Career Ready Performance Index released Monday by Georgia State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • flood4c.jpg Flood warning extended

    A flood warning for the Withlacoochee River at Valdosta has been extended until Wednesday afternoon.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • doug henderson.jpg Memorial tourney returns

    The Doug Henderson III Memorial Golf Tournament has raised thousands of dollars for scholarship funds and to help organizations throughout the region.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914-WA-Egghunt021.jpg Park puts wild spin on Easter tradition

    Adventurous egg hunters braved overcast skies and a persistent drizzle to search for hidden prizes Saturday during Wild Adventure’s first Ostrich Egg Hunt.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • FallenTree003.JPG More spills reported

    City of Valdosta employees have spent the weekend responding to spills caused by several inches of rain that have again drenched the city during the past few days.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Underwater Easter_Rich copy.jpg Stories behind ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’

    Christ comes from the Greek word, “Christos,” meaning “the anointed one.”

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140418_valwood001.jpg Valwood students register to vote

    Valwood teaches its students about the importance of voting. Each year, the school has encouraged eligible seniors to register to vote and participate in local elections.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • wadebrandon14.jpg Police still seeking missing mother, son

    Though their assignments have changed during the past dozen years, Valdosta Police Capt. Bobbi McGraw and Sgt. Chris Crews continue working the case of a missing mother and her son.

    April 19, 2014 3 Photos

Top News

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
     View Results