Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Thank You Gaylord Moore

Gaylord Moore will retire from being the Southwest Missouri Horticulture Specialist soon and I wanted everyone to have the opportunity to read a message that he recently wrote about his retirement.

Goodbye from Gaylord
By Gaylord Moore
Horticulture Specialist
University of Missouri

On October 26, 2007 I will be retiring from the University of Missouri Extension. After twenty nine years with Extension, I think it is time to step aside, rethink my situation and take another direction. I will have 36 years of service with the University of Missouri.

I started my horticulture career in May of 1970 on the Columbia campus as Research Specialist under Dr. Aubrey Hibbard, pomologist and Professor of Horticulture.

Dr. Hibbard was a great wealth of knowledge in all phases of horticulture and was a fine gentleman and great mentor to me. I thoroughly enjoyed working with the fruit industry in Missouri and this will always be my first choice for horticulture crops. However over the years with Extension and working directly with the public, all horticulture related crops have entered into my life experiences.

My location in the SW Region and Springfield guided a large portion of my work toward urban horticulture. Public requests for horticulture assistance in this community is quite strong due to the extreme popularity of gardening. I have attempted to reach large audiences with my programs through the media such as television, radio and newspaper.

The Master Gardener program is quite active and popular in Springfield. I owe a lot of credit to John Lower, former horticulture specialist for SW Region who laid the ground work for the Master Gardener program in this area.

Due to the dedication and hard work of Master Gardeners, a number of projects and programs were started and continue to provide many benefits for Greene County. In addition, nine other strong independent Master Gardener programs are established in SW Missouri and are led by dedicated Extension agents from those counties.

Autumn 2007 I have been rewarded with a wonderful and fulfilled career. I don’t know of any other job that I would have enjoyed better. I always say there has never been a day that I have not looked forward to going to work. Challenges with new programs, problems and wonderful people have always kept the job fresh and enjoyable.

People have been an important part of my life. My joy has been witnessing the success of people. No matter if it is helping to establishing a profitable 20 acre peach orchard or advising how to produce quality home grown tomatoes, job satisfaction comes from people who are successful. Hopefully, I have had a small part in their accomplishment.

What have I learned as an Extension worker?
• Don’t be hesitant to say "I don’t know". However, follow with "I will be happy to find the answer". If you do, be sure and follow through with your promise. In fact most folks are leery of people who claim to have all the correct answers.
• You don’t have to know all the answers, but it is good to know where you can find them.
• All people deserve equal attention. Whatever the problem or question it is very important to that individual who has the concern.
• Be accessible to the people you serve. If they want to see or talk directly to you make certain you make yourself available.
• Extension work is not a 40 hour week job. It is a way of life and lifetime career.

In my 29 year career with Extension there have been changes in horticulture. Environmental issues and food safety are two of the largest concerns. Pesticide safety has been a major issue. Many pesticides have been removed from the shelves and replaced by others due to environmental concerns. Less effective pest control has often been the result. Integrated pest management, using all means at our disposal together to achieve effective and environmentally sound pest management, has been adopted.

Food safety issues are a concern with the public consumer. More people want to know where their food is coming from thus there is a greater demand for local produce such as roadside markets and farmer markets. I am seeing a resurgence of interest in personal backyard gardens and food preservation.

Organic gardening and production have been on the increase the past 20 years. Will that trend continue? It probably will due to food safety issues.

Pick-your-own operations were quite popular in the 70’s. They seemed to fall out of favor in the 80’s and 90’s but may be coming back. However, I think there will always be a market for pre-picked produce.

Many strides in agricultural technology have taken place in big commercial agriculture. Due to computers, electronics and other automated devices aids in the field have come about. Precision agriculture is one term that identifies some of these technologies. On the other hand, agriculture and horticulture production can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it depending upon the size of operation and limited or unlimited resources.

Speaking of retirement I think it is time to sign off. It has been a good ride through the years. I have met many wonderful people and gained numerous friends. I certainly don’t want that accomplishment to change.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

He was truly a great asset to us in southwest Missouri and we appreciate everything he has done for our produces.