Eric Richer, Wauseon, is the new Fulton County Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator beginning today, Wednesday.
Richer takes over the position vacated by Greg LaBarge. LaBarge was promoted to regional agronomist for the western region of the Ohio State Extension offi ce.
The extension educator position, also known as a county extension agent, is operated by the agriculture department of Ohio State University. It is meant to foster good agricultural practices by employing experts in communities around the state.
As a land grant college, Ohio State operates an extension office in each of the 88 counties in Ohio.
“My duties include planning and delivering educational programs on public issues like water quality, food safety, natural resources, rural economic development, biotech, land use, zoning, and agricultural profitability,” Richer said.
He sees the position as being of great importance because of the prevalence of agriculture in the economy of Fulton County.
“The job description requests that I spend no less than 25% of my time solely on agronomy,” Richer said.
Richer’s pet project will be advancing “the importance of precision agriculture as a means of increasing crop yields.”
Precision agriculture is using Global Positioning System maps of soil and site quality to determine the best use of fertilizer, seed spacing and other agricultural parameters.
The position also serves the ten counties of Northwest Ohio through the Maumee Valley extension regional office, as well as working on statewide issues. The regional office helps coordinate resources on projects that span multiple counties.
While Richer is a part of that regional office, “Fulton County is definitely my number one priority.”
A 1995 Wauseon High School graduate, Richer has lived and taught in Wauseon the past 10 years.
He and his wife Amy, have a daughter, Peyton, 2, and son, Thomas, nine months.
He received a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Ohio State University, specializing in agricultural education.
He earned a master’s degree in business administration in 2010 from the University of Toledo.
Prior to joining the extension service, he was the agriculture education instructor at Wauseon High School.
Richer said that he looks forward to serving the people of Fulton County.
“Point blank: agriculture is very important in our community, and I’m really excited to work with our community members to advance agriculture here in Fulton County.”