Herschel George started as a Kansas State University Extension Agent in February 1970, just after graduating from the university.
Through the years he worked in various counties as an agent, then became a specialist in watersheds.
A watershed consists of surface water-lakes, streams, reservoirs and wetlands, and all the underlying groundwater, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
George was a 4-H Extension Agent in Marion County, moved to be the agricultural agent in Miami County from 1972 until 2003 when he became a watershed specialist.
George continued in that role but moved to Uniontown, his home town in 2007.
His last day in the watershed specialist role was June 30, 2019.
As a watershed specialist for Southeast Kansas, he worked to encourage farmers and ranchers to install alternative water supplies for livestock and also encouraged the farmers/ranchers to participate in watershed restorative and protection strategies.
“That was the best part of the job,” George said. “Relationships I could build with producers (farmers/ranchers). Another good thing about the job was the continuing education and professional development through the K-State Extension system.”
“I would use county fairs and field days and the 4-State Farm Show as places where I might present or demonstrate alternative livestock practices,” George said. “I often did demonstrations of solar (water) pumps or tire tank installations, to create interest.”
Additionally, he worked with local Watershed Restorative and Protective Strategy organizations as a technical service provider.
Another role George had was to provide technical assistance to livestock operators who may be out of compliance with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment policies, he said.
The purpose of his job was to reduce the nitrogen and phosphorus content of runoff from livestock areas.
“Keeping the poop on the grass, not in the ponds,” George said.
In 2008 and 2009 he traveled with K-State’s Kansas Center for Agriculture Resources and the Environment (KCARE) to Africa where he demonstrated drip irrigation systems in community and private gardens.
On June 25-26, George invited co-workers to tour the types of projects that producers in this area installed to improve water quality, just before his retirement June 30.
It’s been a good 49 plus years, according to George.
“I’ve had nothing but very good supervisors throughout,” he said. “County extension board members to K-State Administration.”
“And I’ve had a good, supporting wife,” George said.
Following his retirement, George will continue to work with K-State and KDHE on special projects and activities across the state, as a consultant, he said.
In his retirement, George said he “might travel to see our daughter and help my brothers in farming as needed.”
George is a 1965 graduate of Uniontown High School, attended Fort Scott Community College, then transferred to Kansas State University, where he graduated in the fall of 1969 with a bachelors degree in agricultural education. In 1981 he earned a masters degree in agriculture mechanization from K-State.
He is involved in the Uniontown community through Uniontown Baptist Church and the Old Settler’s Picnic Association.