Familiar face: GF native comes home as county extension agent
After graduating from Green Forest High School in 2010 and receiving degrees from Connors State College and the University of Arkansas, Olivia Foster is the new extension agent with the Carroll County Extension Office. She began working on Jan. 19.
Foster's position involves conducting educational programs for county clientele in agriculture and 4-H with major efforts in horticulture, livestock and forages. Foster taught agriculture at McAlester High School in Oklahoma beginning in 2014 and said she's excited to work with agriculture education more broadly.
"I was just down in Little Rock for a whole week learning about leadership practices and office management, and next week I'll go back for pesticide application training. I'm training in a little bit of everything," Foster said.
Learning so much and interacting with so many different people, she said, is a dream come true.
"I really love it. It keeps me on my toes. One day I might be in the field walking through a pasture with a farmer, and the next day I could be working with the 4-H kids," Foster said.
Foster said she's most excited about working with students involved in 4-H. A 4-H student herself, Foster said she wants to bring more teenagers into the program. This, she explained, would allow 4-H to be more competitive and serve as an
example for younger students.
"I'd like some older kids so we can go do some competitions. I can get the younger kids ready for things to come, but they're not old enough to compete yet," Foster said. "It'll help them see that 4-H isn't just for young kids but older kids too."
Another thing she's excited about, Foster continued, is working with local farmers and organizations such as Master Gardeners.
"I'm looking forward to all of it. Everything's good right now," Foster said.
Remembering growing up in Carroll County, Foster described how much the community helped her throughout college. Local scholarships, she explained, helped her graduate from college debt-free.
"I love this community. It's done a lot for me. To come back and put that degree to use in an area I love is really rewarding," Foster said.
This job, she added, is not just a steppingstone for her.
"I want to make this into a career. That's my goal," Foster said.
Foster's family lives in Green Forest, including both sets of grandparents.
"I'm just a hometown person, and I really wanted to get back to this area," Foster said.
A drop-in reception introducing Foster to the community will be held all day Tuesday, Feb. 23, at the extension office.