You see them before, during and after natural disasters. The first responders and the emergency management personnel move in. The city and county crews buckling down and cleaning up. The linemen start getting power back up. But when disasters hit farm country in the South, another type of first responder shows up, too.
Land-grant Extension personnel are often also on the ground during, before and after trouble hits their counties or regions. They are there accessing damage and most importantly, visiting and checking on their growers, the ones they work with and live near every day.
Libbie Johnson is the University of Florida Extension agent in Escambia County. The county includes Pensacola, near where Hurricane Sally made landfall early Sept. 16, but the county also includes diverse agriculture, from major row crops to cattle operations. There was plenty of damage.
Johnson received no bad damage to her home following Sally, but she was without power and her mobile phone service was on and off. Still, she sent Southeast Farm Press pics and information from on the ground where she was driving the county doing what Extension does best, standing face to face and side by side with the growers in their counties in good and tough times.
Extension personnel are a vital part of Southern agriculture, some might say the most vital part. We at Southeast Farm Press have many friends in Extension and we thank them all, and you, Libbie.