After 21 years and seven months, Ralph Davis is leaving his post as a Kaufman County extension agent. But he’s not leaving behind fields, hay or horses.
“I’m a jack-of-all trades,” Davis said at a dinner honoring him hosted by the Master Gardeners Association on Aug. 9.
As extension agent with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, he counsels and aids farmers and works on programs to control pests and feral hogs, and oversees the Kaufman County Master Gardeners.
He leaves Aug. 31. A replacement will be named later by AgriLife.
“We love you Ralph," Master Gardener President Linda Wells said at the dinner. "We appreciate you."
He came to Kaufman County from northwestern Louisiana, where he was an extension agent working with 4H.
He hit the ground and went right to work. Within two days he met with the Master Gardeners and was attending horticulture classes in Hunt County.
The Master Gardeners are a volunteer group with special training from Texas A&M to help residents with gardening and landscaping questions.
Davis has overseen construction of an extensive Garden Learning Center at the county’s south campus, demonstration and pollinator gardens at the county Poor Farm and a Xeric garden, or flower garden that uses little water, in Forney.
Even though residential areas continue to grow, agriculture is still prominent in the county.
“We still do $70 to $90 million a year in agricultural production,” Davis said. “We have a tremendous amount of cattle.”
Much of his time is spent working with agricultural producers on the best ways to manage pasture and forage, answering cattle and pond questions, and interpreting soil test results. Of course, there’s the constant problem of feral hogs that he’s been working to find a way to control.
The hogs are a problem throughout the state. They can destroy a field, pasture, golf course, or a new lawn overnight. Trying to control them has been a particular challenge.
Davis said he will work as a consultant in many of the same areas, concentrating on pasture and pond issues.
He will ride his horse as often as possible and do some competitive roping.
His long-term goal? “I love to train cutting horses.”