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New extension staffer excited by possibilities

South Boston News
Chris Brown / December 03, 2012
Chris Brown’s eyes light up as he talks about the opportunities he sees awaiting in his new job as associate extension agent for agriculture and natural resources in Halifax County.

“I’m happy to have been named to the position,” says Brown, who added he is hoping to meet and greet Halifax County residents on Wednesday, December 5 when a floating reception is planned for him from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at the Virginia Extension Service Office in Halifax.

Brown, born and raised in Franklin County, said he did not grow up on the farm, but his grandparents and great grandparents were tobacco growers. He dates his interest in agriculture to the seventh grade, when he began work with a local beef cattle producer, repairing fences and cutting hay.

He received his bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech in 2004 in animal and poultry science.

He first taught agriculture at Chatham High School and then went back to Tech and got his master’s degree in 2010. For the last year he worked with Halifax County in the General Properties Department.

As he surveys the scene among local agricultural producers, Brown notes that the average age of the local farmer is 60. He expresses concerns about younger farmers and is anxious to work with them, noting that many are transitioning from the traditional tobacco crop to other commodities —cattle, livestock, vegetables, fruits, grapes, wineries and forestry.

He is also happy to be a part of the Extensive service where employees work together and support each other, he says. He notes that he can call on the experts at Virginia Tech to help him out when he doesn’t know the answers to questions that may arise. “They will be mentoring me for the next year and helping me when I don’t always know the answer.”

“I’m glad to be in the line of work that keeps food supplied locally,” Brown said. He is married to Leah Brown, the county’s agriculture development director and the two share a love of agriculture and its many aspects.

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