Hall County Extension Coordinator Billy Skaggs has accepted a position with the Georgia Department of Agriculture.
In mid-January, Skaggs will begin his tenure as the department's chief operating officer.
"I was asked to accept a position by the (newly-elected) Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black," Skaggs said. "I've known him for about 15 years. He knows agriculture and agribusiness just as well as anyone in the state. I'm full of confidence that things will be better at the department under his leadership."
Skaggs said he has a little background knowledge about the state department.
"I've worked with the department for a number of years - some of our issues overlap," he said. "They often call on us for assistance and we do the same with them."
Although he has an extensive background in agriculture - he's been with the cooperative extension for the last 13 years - Skaggs' new role will be a departure for him.
"The extension is more on the education side of things," Skaggs said. "The department of agriculture is more of a regulatory agency."
The agriculture department's duties include ensuring food safety, consumer protection and inspecting meat-processing facilities, among other things.
"It's a pretty wide-ranging department," Skaggs said.
Over the next two months, extension officials will be working to find a successor for Skaggs.
"Most likely, an interim (coordinator) will be named," Skaggs said. "A coordinator from an adjoining county's office will more than likely oversee things here until the position is filled. We're still working those details out."