Extension service work came naturally for Garrett Hibbs.
Both his parents worked in the field, with his father serving as the extension agent in Oconee County for more than 20 years.
“Extension’s no stranger to me at all,” said Hibbs, who began his job as Hall County’s agriculture and natural resources agent on Monday, Feb. 3. “Growing up, my whole life, if I wasn’t at school and I wasn’t at home, I was at the extension office.”
Hibbs, 26, replaces Joshua Presley, who resigned in April 2019 for another job.
Hibbs’ job involves advising farmers and homeowners about agriculture and lawn issues, including soil and water tests.
He grew up in 4-H programs and graduated from the University of Georgia in December with a master’s degree in plant pathology.
“I was real excited about positions in extension and looking at the available counties,” Hibbs said. “When I saw Hall’s (position) was open, I was excited to apply and grateful to get the position.”
Bobby Smith, extension director for Georgia’s Northeast District, said that Hibbs’ master’s degree “matches with many Hall County needs well.”
“Agriculture in Hall County is very diverse,” including “a strong Master Gardener program,” he said. “The needs of the community match well with Garrett’s skill set and 4-H background.”
Smith also explained the long wait for a new extension agent.
“We are looking for the right fit for each county,” he said. “We want to match up the agents’ skill set with the needs of the community, but we also realize skill sets are not as diverse as the county needs … and we have to train and develop agents in many areas of study.”
So far, in his first week, Hibbs said he has had “a chance to meet a lot of our Master Gardeners and attend some of their meetings, and they are all so enthusiastic,” he said.
“I’m excited to get out and learn the needs and what people want, then from there develop programs based on what people want,” he said.