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COLUMBIA CITY â€” John Woodmansee is the new Extension Educator working in agriculture and natural resources in Whitley County and in Noble County.
Woodmansee grew up on a family farm in Grant County. They raised corn, soybeans, wheat, oats, hay, hogs, cattle and rabbits. From time to time they had a horse or two.
He got his undergraduate degree in agricultural education from Purdue University, and his graduate degree was also from Purdue in vocational education. Woodmansee taught high school agriculture at Batesville High School for three years.
Following that, he was involved with full-time youth ministry with Youth For Christ for eight years. Following his tenure in youth ministry, he wanted to get involved again in agriculture and did that by landing a job with The Andersons at their Logansport Ernyâ€™s Fertilizer wholesale plant.
John was production coordinator there for a year and a half. He started in Extension back in 1996, and has worked in Fountain and Grant Counties.
â€śAgriculture is strong in Whitley County, ranking in the top one-third of Indiana counties in wheat, alfalfa hay, milk cows, hogs and sheep. Other crops and livestock rank among the top two-thirds of Indiana counties. Pasture and woodland acres also rank highly,â€ť he said.
â€śWhile the public at large may notice the larger farms in Whitley County, there are a significant number of small farms.â€ť Woodmanseeâ€™s desire is to work with the full spectrum of producers in Noble County, and he believe there are great educational opportunities to assist smaller farms.
â€śMy main goal in working here in Whitley County is to serve local educational needs. In addition to the opportunities I mentioned with small farms, I also foresee potential for education in forage production, pasture improvement, on-farm row-crop research, woodlands, wildlands, ponds, and many other areas.
â€śI also hope to be a valuable resource to homeowners, assisting with pest issues, garden problems, yard problems, and tree/shrub problems. There may be occasions where I could offer programs to lakefront owners on best management practices for lawns and for tree/shrub pruning.
â€śAnd, I plan to offer the popular Master Gardener program and enable local Master Gardeners to continue their great service in the county. I plan to use an advisory committee to help identify local educational needs on a semi-annual basis,â€ť he said.
While Woodmanseeâ€™s agricultural background is fairly diverse, he has developed somewhat of a specialty in helping homeowners with tree and shrub issues. He can also offer programs in tree identification.
So, while Woodmanseeâ€™s is new to Whitley County, he is certainly not new to agriculture, natural resources, or to Purdue Extension.
â€śI look forward to learning more, and meeting the many individuals, groups and businesses that support this great industry,â€ť he said.