David Coltrain, new Kansas State Research and Extension agriculture and natural resources agent for Finney County, is no stranger to the area.

"I've been out here before. I was an agent for Lane, Ness and Rush counties for about five and a half years," Coltrain said.

Coltrain, who started July 8, said Finney County has been without an agriculture agent for nearly a year and a half. He said the job is his first since coming back to the extension service after a stint with the Kansas Farm Management Association.

"I decided I liked extension work better," he said. "I just like meeting people and helping to answer questions and provide information to people through questions or through educational meetings."

According to a press release from K-State Extension, Coltrain worked previously as an agriculture and natural resources agent in the River Valley district, covering north-central Kansas, and the Walnut Creek Extension district, covering Ness, Lane and Rush counties.

Coltrain earned a bachelor's degree in horticulture from Kansas State University and a master's degree in agricultural economics, also from K-State.

"I cover agriculture. I'm trying to cover all the areas of agriculture. The three main ones I'd consider agronomy, livestock and horticulture," he said.

Coltrain has enjoyed his first three weeks on the job. Last week, he helped out at the Finney County Fair, judging 4-H exhibits such as the flowers division on Thursday afternoon.

"There's a lot of enthusiastic people. You can tell that Garden City's a thriving area," he said.

The big issue in agriculture right now is the ongoing drought, Coltrain said.

"Of course, everybody would be happier if it rained. It's pretty bad unless something starts changing. There's different problems associated with the drought, both short term and long term. We plan on providing education, looking into the future about what's gonna happen in southwest Kansas," he said.

Agriculture and natural resources extension agents provide leadership in their communities by developing and delivering educational programming relative to agriculture-related information including crop and livestock production, environmental stewardship, farm and ranch management, agriculture public policy, and horticulture production.

Extension agents are jointly employed in a partnership between K-State Research and Extension, headquartered on the Kansas State University campus in Manhattan, and the local Extension board.

The role of K-State Research and Extension is to encourage the adoption of research-based information to improve the quality of life for Kansans. K-State Research and Extension is the short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service.