University of Kentucky College of Agriculture
New Ag & Hort Agent Resources

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    Tips for New Ag and Hort Agents prepared by KACAA   

First Day

The first day should be primarily reserved for getting acquainted with your new office and co-workers and to fulfill general new agent expectation.   Check out your computer and have a colleague send a test email (provided that an email has been assigned).

First Week

During the first week, familiarize yourself with any workstations in the office that are available for soil test preparation, sample preparation, and/or special equipment such as microscopes, pH meter, soil probes, hay probes, etc.  Check the Extension calendar for any training opportunities that may be coming up soon that you might need (District Directors can help, but your colleagues may not be aware of training in your subject matter area).  Check with colleagues regarding possible county field days or meetings that may have been planned prior to your arrival and that includes your subject matter area.  Ask about the County Extension Council and County Ag Advisory Council (it may be called the County Ag Advancement Council in your county).  Familiarize yourself with support web sites (Go to first, click on the Agent Resources link and test a few sites to get familiar with resources)(Note: Links are on the left of this screen).   

First Month

You may have taken a ride around the county prior to you interview, but a tour with a colleague or, preferably, a county leader will help you get acquainted with the different communities in the county.  This will also provide an opportunity to bond with a leader.

Register for eXtension at List your Institution/Affiliation as University of Kentucky.

Check out the on-line UK Soils Testing resources (individual components are listed below) for information that will help in preparing soil test recommendations.  Soil test recommendations are often the first recommendation that you will have to make and soil test result from Regulatory Services may have accumulated prior to your arrival.  Check the online resources first but don't hesitate to call or email Frank Sikora regarding the online interface or Edwin Ritchey for specifics regarding crop recommendations.  The soil test site will give you the recommendation in units (lb/a) of the element needed, but you will have to determine how much of a specific fertilizer to use. (example the soil test recommends 200 units of nitrogen, but you would recommend 444 lbs of Urea (Urea is 45% nitrogen. therefore 200/0.45 = 444).  


First Six Months

Have an introductory meeting  with your Ag Advisory Council so that you can get to know your council members, get them involved with programming decisions, and start developing plans for the coming year with their input.  Encourage them to make some of the hard/controversial decisions regarding programs that need to be discontinued.  

Don't rush into developing cooperators.  Get to know producers and their reputations with other producers in the county.  You are expected to work with all producers, but working too closely with a producers who has little respect among other farmers could hurt your ability to get other farmers to work with you. 

While it is wise to develop programs in your strongest areas initially and let the rest develop, all ag and hort agents are expected to provide support for any ag and/or hort related products produced in the county.  Therefore, if you are weak in one area, you may want to seek out training in that areas.  Look for new and emerging enterprises that producers are starting to adopt and familiarize yourself with those to stay ahead of your producers.

Involve your Ag Advisory Council in programming decisions, and start developing plans for the coming year with their input.  After you are well acquainted with your members, encourage them to help make some of the hard/controversial decisions regarding programs that may need to be discontinued.  

UK Soil Testing

UK Soil Testing
Soils, water, greenhouse media, animal waste, and mine
spoils testing with fertilizer and lime recommendations

Soil Calculators

One Fertilizer Multiple Fertilizers Economic Lime
Economic Lime II AGR1 Calculator  Manure
Ag Forms
  The Plant Disease Identification Forms

Plant Disease Diagnostic Labroratory:  Procedure Manual

Weed Id

Woody Plant and Wildflower Identification Form

Hay Sample Request Form

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