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Morning Sun
  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Josh Coltrain is the new Wildcat District extension agent

  • Josh Coltrain has never been able to get away from farms, and that suits him just fine.



    On Dec. 31 he assumed his duties as agriculture and natural resources agent at the Kansas State University Research and Extension Wildcat District office in Girard.

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  • Josh Coltrain has never been able to get away from farms, and that suits him just fine.
    On Dec. 31 he assumed his duties as agriculture and natural resources agent at the Kansas State University Research and Extension Wildcat District office in Girard.
    “I don’t know how they started me on New Year’s Eve, but they did,” Coltrain said. “For most agents, their first week is spent in Manhattan in training, but I got to spend a week here in the office.”
    He said that he is originally from the Neodesha area.
    “I grew up on a vegetable and purebred hog farm,” Coltrain said. “This job is like coming home, or at least getting close.”
    His father was in Extension work for quite a few years, in La Crosse and Washington, but had been more focused on horticulture.
    Coltrain earned bachelor’s and master’s degree in agronomy from K-State.
    “I really like the name, Wildcat District,” he said.
    The district is comprised of Crawford, Montgomery and Labette Counties.
    After completing his degrees Coltrain worked six months as an agronomist for a cooperative in Talmage, which is located near Abilene. After that he was an agronomy teacher and crops and soils team coach at Cloud County Community College, Concordia.
    His coaching worked out pretty well.
    “We were second in the country in four of my last five years,” Coltrain said.
    He also served as a project coordinator of a U.S. Department of Agriculture  Natural Resource Conservation Service Conservation Innovation Grant.
    In a way, his work as a teacher is similar to his job as an Extension agent.
    “A lot of Extension is education,” Coltrain said. “Being able to disseminate information is our primary service, in my view. This job affords me the opportunity to be able to learn, and I consider myself a lifelong learner. That’s the big advantage of Extension, that and being able to pass on what I learn.”
    He contributes a column to The Morning Sun every third week and is also involved with radio.
    “I’d also like to have meetings and do programs,” he said.
    When the growing season sets in, Coltrain expects business will get busier. He and many others hope for good crops this season.
    “I’ve been out looking at some wheat, and I think it’s looking very good in our area,” he said.
    The agent thinks there will probably be another good wheat harvest in this area, but won’t hazard a guess when it comes to corn or soybeans.
    “The time of dryness is an important factor,” Coltrain said. “Soybeans seem to be not quite as dependent on the time of moisture as corn is. With corn, there’s a very short period of time in which you have to have water, or you will not get a crop. I don’t know what kind of moisture we’ll be getting, and if anybody out there  does, there are a lot of producers who would like to talk with him.”
    Page 2 of 2 - When he’s not busy with his duties, he has plenty to keep him busy at home. He and his wife, Tabetha, have five children, three boys and two girls, between the ages of 3 and 9.
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