For a few years now the county has been without a livestock agent, but that changed with the arrival of Chris Jeffcoat.
Jeffcoat is the new livestock agent for the Stokes and Forsyth county branches of the N.C. Cooperative Extension. He will be housed in the Stokes County office but will split his time equally between the two counties, which are sharing the obligation for his salary. Jeffcoat began his new role on May 1.
He has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in agribusiness management and a minor in animal science from Pennsylvania State University. Jeffcoat earned a Master’s of Science in agricultural sciences from the University of Kentucky. He was an extension agent in agriculture and natural resources in Woodford County, Kentucky.
Jeffcoat has also been an industry relations and beef quality assurance director with the Pennsylvania Beef Council, a crop and beef consultant, and a 4-H summer program assistant in Pennsylvania. He most recently worked with a law firm dealing with agricultural and environmental contracts.
In his new role, Jeffcoat will devote his time to assisting livestock producers. He will develop educational programming, go on farm visits, answer questions and help farmers solve issues.
“It is very important as we face increasing input costs and help people cope,” said Jeffcoat.
The livestock agent hopes to help producers be more profitable. He noted that over the last seven or so years, they have faced the increasing cost of fuel, fertilizer and feed. Jeffcoat will help people explore savings in other areas, such as new pasturing techniques. He also wants to help people with direct-marketing their meat or animal products. He plans to provide educational classes on current issues in the industry.
“I hope to help them with the issues they’re facing,” he said.
Jeffcoat has a lot of experience with livestock. He grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania south of Gettysburg. His family has a beef and crop farm and operated a family-owned meat packing facility.
“It’s a passion — agriculture is,” said Jeffcoat.
He loves working in Stokes. Jeffcoat said he had actually gone hiking with his fiance at Hanging Rock State Park before interviewing for the position here.
According to Jeffcoat, there are about 10,000 head of cattle in Stokes County. About 1/3 of the county’s total acreage is farm land dedicated to livestock or crops.
The county plans to host a “Meet Chris” event soon. Jeffcoat said he likes to be readily accessible and available, so people should feel free to contact him with any questions.
“We’re absolutely delighted,” said horticulture agent Randy Fulk of having Jeffcoat on board. “There’s definitely been a need for it … He’s a real asset to us.”
Debbie Cox, Stokes County Extension director, said, “We are very excited to have Chris join the Stokes Extension Center. His depth of knowledge and experience in the livestock industry will certainly help our local livestock producers with extending their market reach and the continued quality of life for their animals.
“He will fit in very well with Stokes and Forsyth livestock producers and our staff.”
For more information about the livestock program with the local Cooperative Extension office, call 336-593-8179.