Extension director ends long career

Greene retires as concerns rise over nutrient rules

July 01, 1999|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,SUN STAFF

The agricultural community is up in arms these days about the state's proposed new rules for fertilizer and manure. And the man upon whom many Carroll County farmers have been relying to be at the forefront to disseminate information or relay concerns is going to start taking it easy.

Today is David L. Greene's first day of retirement, after 27 years as an agent in Carroll County for the Maryland Cooperative Extension.

He spent his last morning on the job meeting with the county commissioners and staff to draft a letter urging the state to revise the proposed nutrient management regulations to be more practical and fair to farmers.

"It might be nutrient management today, but last year, it was something else," said Greene, 57, relaxed on his last day of work. Whether it's the state, the federal government, the market or nature -- sometimes all four -- farmers always face challenges, Greene said.

"Right now, it just happens to be nutrient management," he said.

It could be months before the University of Maryland selects a new director for the extension office in Carroll, said Greene, who has held the position since 1990. The process involves several steps, starting with a re-evaluation of the staffing in the extension office to ensure that the position is needed. The process has not started, he said.

The remaining agents in the office will divide Greene's responsibilities.

Judy Stuart, the agent who specializes in family and consumer sciences, such as helping people plan budgets and get out of debt, will be the interim director, taking on Greene's administrative roles.

Bryan Butler and Mike Bell, the agents who specialize in agricultural areas, will take on Greene's duties as adviser and educator to farmers, Greene said. Butler will be the main coordinator for information on nutrient management regulations. Bell will advise farmers on livestock management, Greene's specialty.

Greene said he's looking forward to spending more time on the 17-acre sheep farm he and his wife own in White Hall, in northern Baltimore County.

Commissioner Donald I. Dell, a dairy farmer, said Greene will be missed.

"I really hate to see him retire, but he deserves it, and we're going to have to let him go," Dell said. "He understands [nutrient management], and he's worked and studied the law."

The last thing Dell and the other two commissioners got from Greene was help drafting a letter to the Maryland Department of Agriculture with a list of concerns about the new regulations.

Greene pointed out that the state will provide cost-sharing for chicken farmers on the Eastern Shore to haul away poultry litter, but so far have no help to offer cattle farmers who might have to dispose of the more-expensive-to-transport liquid manure.

At a meeting yesterday morning at the County Office Building, Commissioner Robin Bartlett Frazier and Jack Lyburn, the county's director of economic development, urged sending a letter to the state quickly.

"The letter has got to go out now," Lyburn said, and asked whether Greene could stay after the meeting and help draft it.

"Well," Greene told him, "it's a good thing you got me today."

Greene said he decided the time was right to retire. The office has several staff members who have been there for several years and could provide continuity in his absence.

He also wanted to retire at full throttle.

"I didn't want to retire on the job," he said. "I wanted to go out doing the job."

Pub Date: 7/01/99

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