Seminole Crop E News

Agricultural News for Farmers and Agribusiness in SW Georgia

County Agent Stories

Posted by romeethredge on December 22, 2015

I’m getting very close to retiring as a county agent and I thought I’d share a few “county agent” stories and remembrances. I have many fond memories and some not so good.

I remember an early September day in 2002 when farmer Ray Hunter Jr.(called “Whimpy” by his Daddy), and I went to look at several cotton fields for making decisions about defoliation. We were in the last field and I was going into it ahead of Ray and about 10 feet into the field I look into the next row over and there’s one of the biggest rattlesnakes I’ve seen. I stepped backwards and  might have said a bad word and pushed Ray back away. Ray called his wife for a gun and here’s the photo of the 5 foot 8 inch snake.  It’s fair to say that seeing rattlesnakes in crop fields is pretty rare thank goodness, but they can be around edges especially.

Here’s the photo that hangs on my wall with the actual rattles at the bottom, count them, there’s 14.

 IMG_9767

But that’s not the end of the story. Farmer Travis Braswell came up and asked what about the snake? He said we hadn’t had much rain lately and maybe if we hang the snake on a fence it may bring rain. I guess that’s an old wives’ tale. So he did and I put a photo in the paper about it. Well we got rain all right, too much!! Within a short time we got 14 inches in one night and Donalsonville flooded, including my office and Travis’ house. Travis came up a week or so later and said ” You remember that snake?… and darn you, you put it in the paper that I hung it on a fence, now folks will be mad at me, claiming I caused the rain. And do you remember how many rattles were on the tail? Fourteen rattles…. the same number of inches of rain we got in the flood. Oh my gosh. I may need to hide out for a while.”

We’ve had some sad times and I remember a Corn Nematode test we put in at the Warriner farm near the lake. It was a good study and early on we could see a lot of difference in corn growth where we had used nematicide. Russ Ragan, son of Gene Ragan (Dothan TV personality), took me up in his airplane to get some good and useful aerial photos of the test plot. The sad part is that we lost 2 great men associated with this study, both Jamie Warriner and Russ Ragan, some time later. Jamie to a cotton module packer accident and Russ to a plane crash.

Another day, Sheriff Deputy, at the time, Heath Elliot, came to see me with blue lights flashing, (no lights really) and asked if I’d go look at a pond with him. A lady said someone was out to get her and killed her fish and Heath wanted us to check it out. So we went to the pond and met the lady. It was fenced in and there were several goats in the pond area. We walked in and one of the goats nudged the deputy and pushed him a little and I laughed about it. So we walked around the pond and saw the dyeing fish. I explained that no one had poisoned her fish but it was likely an oxygen depletion problem, but I needed to collect a couple of fish to look at closely for other possible problems.  So I went to the water’s edge and leaned over to pick up a catfish and BAM, a Billy goat hit me in the rump pretty hard and I just barely escaped falling into the water. Heath had the last laugh that day.

We, as agents do a lot of 4-H youth work and I usually enjoy it. Once then agent Jeff Nunnery and I were helping a young lady with her show pig. It was a good sized pig about 250 pounds and was stubborn.  We were trying to get it into a trailer. There was a wire fence and then an electric fence around the area. We tried pushing the pig, pulling it, putting boards around it, using the whip to encourage it, nothing worked. She didn’t want to leave the fenced in area to get on the trailer. I got mad and grabbed her by the ear and told Jeff to push her and I would walk beside her. Well it worked, sort of, we exited the pen and headed towards the trailer but I could see she was pushing me sideways, I probably weighed only 135 back then, so she had almost double my mass and strength. She could have pushed the other way but I swear she knew what she was doing when she pushed me right into the electric fence.  Jeff laughed and I think I let him load her, she was so tired after that and probably happy, it wasn’t as big a problem.

No one ever said being a County Agent is a dull job.

 

 

 

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5 Responses to “County Agent Stories”

  1. ufcowman said

    Thanks for sharing so much good information about farming, weather, and just interesting stuff you saw out in the fields of Seminole County. I hope the next chapter of your life is as good as the last one you shared on the blog with so many followers.

  2. M Stewart said

    Best of luck to you Rome and thank you for all the kind words, support and encouragement. To say you will be missed in Extension is an understatement.

  3. Wes Briggs said

    Rome, thank you so much for all your dedication to agriculture and your willingness to always help whoever it may be. As a Crop Consultant for now over 20 years in GA it’s been a pleasure to know you personally, thanks for all your help over years. I wish you the best.

  4. Some great memories Rome. Hope you enjoy your retirement. You have been a great asset to our community. Our family wishes you the very best.

    • Thanks Mark , I appreciate that . I remember you and I looking at some peanuts with some CBR in them and Ben jumping around playing in the vines. We are both fortunate to have great kids, … and wives.
      See you soon. Happy New Year!

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