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

Your Entire Career
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Tips for New Ag and Hort Agents
prepared by KACAA Revised 2015
UK Soil Testing Agent vehicle kit for field visits  

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 (Kentucky Extension Reporting System) 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) or County Horticultural Advisory Counci.  Familiarize yourself with support web sites (Go to first, click on the Agent Resources link and try a few sites to get familiar with resources). Make sure you get on Microsoft Lync (you may see it as Skype for Business) as soon as possible.  Log-on may require your official email which generally has an abbreviated form of your name and some numbers.  Many training will be over this system and collaboration or trouble shooting with specialist can be done this way.


First Month

You may have taken a ride around the county, but a tour with a colleague or, preferably, a county leader will help you get acquainted with the different communities in the county and should be done early within the first month.  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.  Your counter parts in neighboring counties are a great resource for this and other questions you might have.  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 or Hort 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.  Develop programs in new areas so that producers will see that your are willing to develop a diverse program.

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.  

Your Entire Career

Never forget to call your colleagues, specialists, your District Director or their Support Associate, and your Assistant Director for help.  if you try to do this job by yourself, you are not as smart as we thought you were when we hired you.


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
Weed ID The Plant Disease Identification Forms

Plant Disease Diagnostic Labroratory:  Procedure Manual

Snake ID Page

Woody Plant and Wildflower Identification Form

Hay Sample Request Form

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