In our sixth career snapshot, Jackson County resident Randy Chlapecka talks to students about the responsibilities of being an extension agent – the first point of contact for farmers experiencing problems with their crops.
Randy is a good example of someone who from a young age was always interested in agriculture and decided to pursue it as an occupation. There are many opportunities for agricultural careers in Arkansas, and a county extension agent is just one of many challenging and fulfilling options.
“My degree is in agricultural business. I wanted to get a broad type of degree and I could do a lot of things with that.”
Randy attended Arkansas State University, earning his bachelor’s degree in agricultural business in 1981 and his master’s degree in 1982. After graduation, Randy quickly accepted a position as a county extension agent, a career he has continued for over 32 years.
County extension agents like Randy work to solve problems encountered by farmers. First they find out basic background information such as the variety of crop and when it was planted, then they visit the field to examine the crops in person. If the problem continues to be elusive, Randy can call upon a network of specialists from the University of Arkansas who offer helpful research to come up with a solution.
“A lot of the soybean research that we use when we are trying to educate producers, solve problems, you name it… comes from research conducted and funded by the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board, so it’s absolutely critical and essential that we have that support out in the field.”
If you are interested in agriculture and farming like Randy, watch our whole Field to Film series on careers in the soybean industry.