The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

November 3, 2012

Nelson takes reins at extension office

By J.C. Hobbs

— As of Thursday, Rick Nelson became the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service educator, agriculture and 4-H youth development director for Garfield County.

Prior to this, he was the extension educator for Beaver County. He has more than 19 years experience in the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. Prior to coming to Oklahoma, he was employed for 13 years with the Kansas Research-Extension System, serving a southwest Kansas county. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with him.

Nelson grew up on a family farm and graduated from Canton Public Schools. He continues to have family in the Dewey County area. He received his bachelor of science degree in animal science from Oklahoma’s Panhandle State University. He received his master of science degree from Northwestern Oklahoma State University in 1997. In addition, he has earned his certified crop adviser certification in 1997.

He is a self-proclaimed agriculture business and animal science enthusiast but realizes we have to grow it before it can be utilized by the population whether it comes from crops or livestock.

He has a strong commitment for extension, and his first area extension director ingrained his vision of the extension service during Nelson’s first years as an extension educator in Kansas. He was instructed to “deliver current, practical, useful and research based information” to the county agricultural producers. This vision has been with Nelson all through his extension career.

“So, I have continued to ask as I am planning programs, whether in the area of horticulture, crops, livestock or economic development, if I am meeting the mandate given to me by my first extension director,” Nelson said. “I have expanded this to include youth work, as 4-H is an intense piece of the extension program effort. If we can demonstrate value, the youth will remember what the extension service did for them throughout life.”

He is a member of Woodward Chamber of Commerce and serves as co-chair of the Ag Committee, which develops and delivers the Northwest District Junior Livestock Show. Throughout the years, this endeavor has experienced a noteworthy record of great 4-H and FFA exhibitors and project animals from Beaver County competing at various state and national livestock shows.

His goal is to bring this knowledge and experience to Garfield County and enhance our local youths’ competitive edge. In addition, he has served as the OSU Division of Agriculture Sciences and Natural Resources representative to the Panhandle Regional Economic Development Coalition for the last three years. The ongoing water development plan has been a major emphasis for the organization as water will dictate the future for rural and metropolitan Oklahoma.

Nelson and his wife, Kathy, have four sons between them, ranging in ages from 26 to 38. They live from Denver to New Braunfels, Texas, and points in between. They also have three grandchildren. Rick and Kathy have said they are excited to become a part of the Garfield County Extension family. Please come by the Garfield County Extension Office and welcome our newest staff member.

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Hobbs is Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service assistant extension specialist.