The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service announced the filling of county agent positions across the state, as well as transfers within the agency.
AgriLife Extension employs county agents, divided by districts, to serve every Texas county. These county agents are the agency’s connection with the people in communities. They are instrumental in providing hands-on education and programming based on scientific research.
A full list of county agents can be found at: https://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/counties/.
The following AgriLife Extension county agents have recently moved locations:
Dru Benavides, agriculture and natural resources, transferred from Atascosa County to Guadalupe County.
Chad Coburn, agriculture and natural resources, transferred from Sterling County to Howard County.
Dianne Gertson, family and community health, transferred from Ft. Bend County to Matagorda County.
David Groschke, agriculture and natural resources, transferred from Limestone County to Robertson County.
Floyd Ingram, agriculture and natural resources, transferred from Milam County to Bell County.
Rusty Lanier, agricultural and natural resources, transferred from Dickens County to Yoakum County.
Mark Zoeller, agriculture and natural resources, transferred from Schleicher County to Bandera County.
Following are the individuals hired and the county agent positions they will fill:
District 2, headquartered in Lubbock
Ashley Hanson, family and community health, Hockley County. Hanson, of Lubbock, earned her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education at Texas Tech University and her master’s in organizational leadership from Colorado State University. Hanson has had many careers in the education field, spending six years with AgriLife Extension as an agent in Snyder before teaching high school family and consumer sciences courses at Frenship High in Wolfforth. And before returning to AgriLife Extension, she worked in admissions and student affairs for over five years at the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center in Lubbock. Hanson said she is excited about her return to AgriLife Extension and looking forward to tailoring programming to county residents’ needs.
District 3, headquartered in Vernon
Paul Dockter, agriculture and natural resources, Childress County. Dockter graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Hardin Simmons University and completed postgraduate work at Hardin Simmons and Texas Tech University in quantitative research methods and management strategies. Dockter spent the past 15 years in land management and beef cattle production and is the owner/operator of a cow/calf operation. He said he understands the need for agricultural endeavors to be financially productive while also protecting water, soil and other natural resources. “My family and I have a deep connection to the land and a respect for rural life,” Dockter said. “My desire is to utilize my specific set of skills and experience to help promote ag literacy, support local producers and help secure the future of rural life for the next generation.”
District 4, headquartered in Dallas
Merritt Cloud, Better Living for Texans, Collin County. Cloud, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, graduated with her bachelor’s degree in nutrition sciences with a pre-dietetics concentration from Baylor University. She completed her dietetic internship at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and then earned her title of registered dietitian nutritionist and licensed dietitian in Texas in 2021. Cloud has experience in clinical nutrition and food service management in the hospital setting. She also has community nutrition experience working with local health departments, public schools, and regional food banks. Cloud said she enjoys helping others learn how to cook, meal plan and discover joy in nutrition. “I am passionate about helping my local community improve their quality of life through nutrition education,” she said.
District 5, headquartered in Overton
Colton Brown, agriculture and natural resources, San Augustine County. Brown, from Center, earned his bachelor’s degree in horticulture from Texas A&M University. He has worked for Wiggins Watermelons growing watermelons in various locations across the state for the last five years. Brown grew up next door in Shelby County and said he is excited to help educate the people of San Augustine County about all things agricultural. “I joined AgriLife Extension because Texas agriculture is the backbone of our state, and I want to be a part of growing that for the future,” Brown said.
Erica Davis, Better Living for Texans, Smith County. Davis, of Tyler, earned a bachelor’s degree from Alcorn State University in nutrition and dietetics and a master’s in nutrition from Lamar University. She previously worked with the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, WIC, as a nutritionist/site supervisor and at the East Texas Food Bank. She said she loves being active in the community. “I hope to bring change into the community,” Davis said. “I hope I can impact the way people feel about their health and physical activity. I am passionate about nutrition and fitness.”
Lindsey Yeager, family and community health, Wood County. Yeager, of Winnsboro, earned her bachelor’s degree in nutritional sciences at Texas A&M University and her master’s degree in agricultural sciences at Texas A&M University – Kingsville. She spent the past four and half years as internet technical support in Quitman. Yeager grew up participating in FFA leadership events as well as showing Charolais beef heifers. She said she enjoyed her coursework during college, and that is where she developed a passion for food and nutrition. “I believe the AgriLife Extension programming can help change the mindset of the community to adopt principles for better health and wellbeing,” Yeager said.
Michaela Vincent, agricultural and natural resources, Newton County. Vincent, of Pilot Point, earned her bachelor’s degree in wildlife, sustainability and ecosystem sciences at Tarleton State University and her master’s in natural resource conservation at Sul Ross State University. She previously worked with Tarleton State University in the information technology department as well as the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, where she worked as a chronic wasting disease technician. She has interned with multiple deer ranches and recently has been volunteering with AgriLife Extension Wildlife Services. Vincent was an active member of both 4-H and FFA, earning her American FFA degree in swine production and the 4-H Gold Star Award. “I genuinely enjoy building relationships within a community and watching those relationships flourish into something amazing,” she said.
Tina Rosenbalm, agriculture and natural resources and 4-H coordinator, Upshur County. Rosenbalm, of Gilmer, earned her bachelor’s degree in agriculture education from Tarleton State University. She previously worked as the coordinator of competitive events for the East Texas State Fair in Tyler and as the agriculture science teacher at Big Sandy Independent School District. Rosenbalm said she wants to develop a strong youth program in Upshur County, as well as start a Master Gardener program. “The youth are the future of our community,” she said. “It will be a great joy to work with each 4-H member to develop growth in leadership and agriculture knowledge. It is also important to continue providing up-to-date research information to our local farmers and ranchers and I look forward to working to provide this in our community.”
District 6, headquartered in Fort Stockton
Sara Moran, horticulture, Ector/Midland counties. Moran, of El Salvador, earned her bachelor’s degree in rural development and environmental science at Pan-American Agriculture University Zamorano and her master’s in horticulture at New Mexico State University in 2015. Moran spent the last five years as the Extension horticulture agent in Bernalillo County, New Mexico. She has developed urban horticulture programs in English and Spanish, supported volunteer programs, assisted residents with their gardening concerns, and collaborated with community organizations, schools and city and state institutions. “When it comes to my work, I realized how important incorporating gardening activities is to our daily lives,” she said. “Gardening offers many benefits for all people regardless of age. Gardening allows us to get in contact with nature, explore, keep our bodies active and motivates us to improve our eating habits.”
District 9, headquartered in College Station
Danielle McLure, 4-H and youth development, Fort Bend County. McLure, of Damon, earned her bachelor’s degree in animal science at Sam Houston State University. She previously worked with the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office serving as a clerical clerk and reception relief, as well as a legal administrative assistant for two private attorneys. She joined AgriLife Extension in Brazoria County as the 4-H and youth development administrative assistant for two years before spending the last two years as the 4-H program coordinator for Fort Bend County. Growing up, McLure competed in 4-H animal as well as food and nutrition projects. “I hope the impact of my work will be to pass my knowledge and love of agriculture to future generations,” she said.
Magen Lee, Better Living for Texans, Orange County. Lee earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from Lamar University. During her last semester in college, Lee worked as a summer intern at the AgriLife Extension office of Orange County. After graduation, she was a family and youth support specialist for Buckner Children’s Village. Lee said she joined AgriLife Extension as soon as the opportunity presented itself. “Being a summer-long intern, I was truly inspired by the work that is done for the community,” Lee said. “I hope to impact individuals to lead a healthier and happier lifestyle. My passion is in helping others to help themselves.”
Robyn Green, Better Living for Texans, Jefferson County. Green, of Beaumont, earned her bachelor’s degree in biology at Prairie View A&M University. She spent her time as an undergraduate as a student research assistant for the chemistry department at Prairie View A&M. Green said she is passionate about public health and extending knowledge on healthy lifestyles to the Jefferson County community to create a healthier tomorrow. “I hope the impact of my work as a Better Living for Texans AgriLife Extension agent will create a healthier and more active community,” she said.
District 10, headquartered in Uvalde
Rainey Bingham, agriculture and natural resources, Real County. Bingham, of D’Hanis, earned her bachelor’s degree in agricultural science at Texas A&M University and her master’s in agriculture at Angelo State University. Bingham has volunteered with the natural resources and range management programs at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at San Angelo under Morgan Treadwell, Ph.D. She grew up in the 4-H system showing rabbits; participating in wildlife judging, food and nutrition projects; and serving on club and county officer teams in both Uvalde and Medina counties. “I joined AgriLife Extension because I want to be able to share the knowledge and skills I have and to continue to learn new things every day,” Bingham said.
District 12, headquartered in Weslaco
Amanda Ortega, family and community health, Kleberg/Kenedy counties. Ortega, of San Benito, earned her bachelor of kinesiology in exercise science with a minor in psychology at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. She was a part of the university’s organization, PepTalk, where she would educate her peers on topics related to living a healthy and safe life while attending college. She completed an internship with the AgriLife Extension office in Kleberg County. Ortega said she wants to help the community live a happy and healthy life not only with physical activity and nutrition but mental health care as well. She believes both the mind and body must work together to lead a healthy lifestyle. “I joined AgriLife Extension to be a part of something that truly makes a difference in the lives of the community,” Ortega said.
Cynthia Covarrubias, Better Living for Texans, Webb/Zapata counties. Covarrubias, of Laredo, earned a bachelor’s degree in plant and soil science-agronomy from Texas A&M University-Kingsville. She is working on her Master of Public Administration from Texas A&M International University. Covarrubias worked as a peer mentor at Texas A&M University-Kingsville and a graduate research assistant at Texas A&M International University. She said she has always had a passion for gardening and learning more about different plants. “I wanted to join AgriLife Extension because I want to make an impact in my hometown community,” Covarrubias said. “I hope people learn how to garden and grow nutritious fruits and vegetables.”
John Holbein, 4-H and agriculture and natural resources, Jim Hogg County. Holbein, of Hebbronville, earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics at Texas A&M University. While he has worked in the automobile industry and the chemical business for the oil and gas industry, most recently, he worked in the water well industry and has been running a cow/calf herd operation. Holbein said he grew up in the working ranch environment and the family ranch kept calling him back. He said he knows just about everyone in his community and is ready to provide the education AgriLife Extension offers. “AgriLife Extension in Jim Hogg County has so much potential and opportunities available to conduct educational programming, result demonstrations, events, trainings and workshops,” Holbein said.