Tarah Young joined the University of Minnesota Hubbard County Extension Office last week as an interim extension educator in agriculture, food and natural resources (AFNR).
Young grew up on a beef farm outside Buffalo, Minn. and studied at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, earning a bachelor’s degree with a double major in agronomy-plant science and agribusiness. She is currently working on her master’s degree in applied plant science with a specialization in agronomy and agro-ecology at the U of M.
Since graduating in December 2019, she worked as the local educator in Carlton County.
Asked what attracted her to Hubbard County, she called it “definitely where I’d like to be someday, because I have family here and wanted to be back here, and the community and how they have a mix of agriculture and food systems and forestry. It was a very cool mix of a lot of what we do at Extension.”
Describing her position as “a little bit of everything” that the Extension offers, Young said she is excited to get started recruiting people for the master gardeners program, offering a course on canning food, and offering educational opportunities in forestry and pasturing.
She encourages residents to stop in at the Extension office or give her a call if there’s anything they would like to know better about caring for their lawn, garden or farm.
Young lives with her boyfriend, Kyle, north of Nevis. Since Kyle races boats, the couple spends a lot of time boating on the area’s rivers and lakes. Young also looks forward to hiking, skiing and all the other outdoor activities Hubbard County has to offer.
According to Sarah Chur, the Extension’s AFNR program leader, said Young’s position is a 14-hour-per week, interim position. Young said this will work perfectly with her ongoing studies.
Meanwhile, Chur said, the county extension committee will spend the fall searching for a permanent AFNR educator to start in January.
“The county extension committee and the county board have been really supportive about making this an extension educator position,” said Chur, “and really good about lining out some priorities.”
With Sally Shearer’s retirement from the role at the end of 2020, Chur said, there are some “big shoes set out in front of Tarah,” with a track record of good work in horticulture, arboriculture, agriculture, coordinating master gardeners and more.
“I’m confident that Tarah can do it,” Chur added. “As an extension educator, she can be a conduit for bringing in a field day,” such as a cow-calf day or an agronomy-cropping topic. “There are things she can teach herself, but also, she has access to all the resources of the university.”
Chur said the Extension’s mission is connecting university resources with community needs.