AUBURN, Ala.—Jessica Kelton, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System regional extension agent, has been selected as a member of the two-year Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Fellows Program.
Kelton Studies Conservation
Kelton, who is also a member of the Extension farm and agribusiness management team, said she has been working with conservation practices since graduate school.
The Auburn University graduate said the program will provide her an opportunity to see different conservation options on-farm.
“I am looking forward to seeing sustainability practices in place on working farms,” Kelton said. “After the program, I plan to transfer my knowledge and help producers throughout the state implement better on-farm practices.”
Kelton will participate in the 2019 Fellows Program, along with three other individuals. The National Association of County Agricultural Agents selects four individuals who practice within the four regions of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The program provides a hands-on experience with the basics of sustainable agriculture and alternative farm systems. Kelton will participate in the program for two years. While part of the program, she will visit two sustainable farming systems per year.
While completing her masters degree, she worked at the Auburn University tillage lab. She said she has always enjoyed learning about sustainable systems, especially relating to soil quality.
“There are lots of soil erosion issues in Alabama. While many producers are using cover crops, there is still room to improve the numbers, especially from an economic standpoint,” she said. “Therefore, it is important for Alabama farmers to think long-term and set long-term sustainability goals for their operations.”
Kelton an Asset to Alabama Extension
Farm and agribusiness team leader, Max Runge, said Kelton’s selection as one of four members of the SARE fellows program is a great honor.
“Jessica’s selection as one of only four fellows in the U.S. is reflective of her hard work and dedication to Alabama’s farmers, as well as the Alabama Cooperative Extension System,” Runge said. “She will have the opportunity to experience some of the most successful sustainable programs across the nation. She will then be able to return to provide Alabama’s producers with information to help implement sustainability options on their operations.”
Kelton is excited to represent Alabama when her participation in the Fellows Program begins in January 2019. Coupled with her pre-existing interest in sustainable practices, this fellowship will allow Kelton to bring new ideas to Alabama producers.
For more information about the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, visit https://www.nacaa.com/awards/sare-fellows.php. You may also visit www.aces.edu for more information about Alabama Extension or the Farm and Agribusiness Management team.