Williams begins tenure as new extension agent
Savanna Williams started as Young County’s next agriculture and natural resources extension agent on Monday, Oct. 7, and has plans to grow the 4-H program.
In the position, Williams will also serve as a 4-H coordinator with a primary focus on the agriculture side. Her colleague Penny Berend focuses on the family and community health.
“I ideally wanted to come into this position with an open mind,” Williams said. “Of course, there are things that I am more geared to or that I prefer to participate in. For example, livestock judging or swine projects because I have a strong background in those specific projects. However, I am here to serve the county and I want to see our livestock numbers increase. They have slowly decreased over the last few years and I would really like to get more 4-H participation in all the projects.”
She said she will take the next couple of months to visit clubs and project groups to see what they want.
“I mainly want to focus on continuing to build up the 4-H program, like I said the numbers have decreased, there is a lack of participation in livestock projects and that’s something that really needs to be focused on,” Williams said. “Creating some kind of unity across the county, getting everyone involved and getting more youth participants involved in whatever project they are interested in. To me, that doesn’t matter if they want to do livestock judging or they want to show rabbits. Just looking for an outlet for these kids to focus and channel their energy.”
Williams will be replacing Justin Rogers who left the position on Aug. 4, after two and half years, to pursue a career as an insurance agent and in agriculture consulting in Kerrville.
The 4-H livestock judging program thrived under his leadership winning two species state championships in the last two years as well as high team in cattle and third overall at the American Royal contest in Kansas City last fall.
Williams said she hopes to improve the team and that they will benefit from an outside opinion, but she wants to continue to build the program starting at a younger age.
“I am going to do my best to coach them to my knowledge. I want them, especially the seniors, to have a successful senior year at livestock judging,” Williams said. “But, I think it would be best for me to look at the big picture. Although they do need a lot of attention and we are going to push for state fair, to be successful and all those wonderful things that come with that, there is more important stuff outside of that. Like getting recruited to colleges that hand them scholarships to pay for their schooling, get involvement from the juniors and intermediates that might have some interest in livestock judging so we do have a senior team for the next three or four years.”
She added that the livestock judging program and 4-H as a whole help create future leaders and give youth a chance for opportunities after high school.
“It is a program that develops public speaking skills, it develops responsibility and accountability. It drives them to focus and look forward to something,” Williams said. “You have to be very confident, you have to be able to make solid decisions, you have to provide reasoning behind the choice that you made. There is a lot of critical thinking involved in livestock judging.”
While serving as the county extension agent, Williams will also be responsible for putting together AgriLife and natural resources education programs.
“As far as the adult education side, I know we have a few programs coming up in the month of October,” Williams said. “It is basically the same concept, I am going to let ranchers and the producers tell me what they want to learn or what they are having issues with and do my best to get specialists here in the county to help better serve them.”
For the rest of the story, see the Saturday, Oct. 12 edition of The Graham Leader.