CRAWFORD AND RICHLAND COUNTIES - It looks like the long wait for a UW-Extension Ag Educator in Crawford and Richland counties is almost over–Carolyn Ihde is expected to begin work in the position on May 18.
Ihde is currently working as an ag education teacher for the Clayton Ridge School District in Iowa. It’s a position she’s held for the past five years.
The newly minted UW-Extension Ag Educator has a deep background in farming–both on the practical and educational levels. Ihde grew up on a diversified family farm in south central Iowa. Ihde’s family milked cows and raised swine, beef and sheep. And, there were also some chickens and horses and dogs–just to fill things out.
The farm was close to the town of Corydon, Iowa. Ihde graduated from Wayne Community High School in 1994. Then, she attended Iowa State, where she received and Bachelor of Science Degree in Horticulture. She later returned to Iowa State to receive a Master’s Degree in Ag Education.
Carolyn currently lives on a farm north of Garnavillo, Iowa with her husband Erin Ihde and their two teenage sons. She raises sheep on the farm.
Carolyn didn’t go out looking for this Extension position. If kind of came to her in an usual way.
As part of her duties at Clayton Ridge High School, Ihde is responsible for teaching a class on pre-employment strategies. As she was reviewing with the class how to use Monster.com or Indeed.com for a job search, she noticed the job posting for a UW Extension Ag Educator for Crawford and Richland counties.
Ihde had resurrected her resume and cover letter to use as examples for students in the class. So, she dusted them off and sent them to UW Extension and got the ball rolling.
The opportunity to work directly with the producers and farmers is what motivated her. While many of her students are ‘interested’ in the ag education class, farmers are totally ‘invested’ in the process. Carolyn sees working directly with the producers as more natural fit for her passion for agriculture. She sees this Extension position as evolving herself and taking the next step in her career.
Ihde will work in the UW-Extension office in Prairie du Chien. That office is about a 15-mile commute from her farm in Clayton County, Iowa. She will also work in Richland Center at the UW-Extension office there.
The ag educator is definitely excited at the prospects of her new job.
As for her immediate plans?
“I just need to get there and see what I need to do,” Ihde said.
Her extension district supervisor Craig Saxe has some ideas how Carolyn can fit into the total picture of ag educators working in the six-county district. Ihde’s concentration will be livestock.
Ihde looks forward to visiting with other county ag educators. She’s also excited to go out and visit with farmers to see what they’re working on and what their ideas are.
Ihde said without being on the job yet, it’s hard for her to say what she will do specifically.
Carolyn Ihde steps into a role last filled by Adam Hady, who left to take a district manager position in July of 2019. Hady began working as both the Richland and Crawford ag educator, also known as the ag agent, in January of 2019.Crawford County’s long-serving Extension ag agent, Vance Haugen, retired in January 2018 and the position remained vacant for 11 months before Hady added it to his Richland County responsibilities. In July of 2019, Hady left the ag educator position to become an extension district supervisor of ag educators in a multi-county area. The Richland-Crawford position has been vacant since then.