By Michael Buhler
After more than a decade serving as the Sedgwick County agriculture extension agent, Gary Cramer has taken on a new challenge.
Cramer became the agronomist in charge at the South Central Experiment Field in Hutchinson for Kansas State University on April 8. After working for years for both Sedgwick County and K-State, Cramer works exclusively for the university now.
“I still work for KSU as the agronomist in charge at the South Central Experiment Field in Hutchinson,” Cramer said. “I have went from an ag agent position to a tenured position now as an assistant professor. I now work for K-State only, not KSU and Sedgwick County.”
Unlike Cramer’s former position, which was a county-only and research-free position, Cramer’s new job consists of more research than extension programming.
“The ag agent is local – it’s strictly a county position,” Cramer said. “I was responsible for Sedgwick County and education there. I was not responsible for any research, whereas here as agronomist in charge, my appointment as associate professor is 60 percent research and 40 percent extension programming.”
Cramer now works with corn, grain sorghum, soybean, and wheat and also creates research and extension programs on planting practices like no till, strip till, and twin-row planting. Cramer also is working to determine how farmers can conserve soil, nutrient, and water resources by improving efficiency while staying profitable.
Cramer also has some help at the experiment field.
“I’m enjoying the job,” Cramer said. “We have two full-time technicians here and that’s good. They are good fellows and hard workers.”
Cramer’s new job also represents him coming full circle in ways, as he has his doctorate in agronomy from the University of Nebraska.
“It’s getting me back to my training,” Cramer said. “I have a Ph.D. in agronomy. Most of my career, I was involved in research. Right out of school, I worked for Monsanto. After that, I started a contract research company, AgVenture Research and Consulting, where I did contract research for major chemical manufacturers. Then I started in extension in 2002.”
Eleven years of working as the ag agent in Sedgwick County had a lot of rewards for Cramer.
“One of the best parts of working there was working with farm families in Sedgwick County and helping them,” Cramer said. “I met a lot of great people.”
However, Cramer is also quite happy with his new job.
“I enjoy it. I enjoy research a great deal,” Cramer said. “I look forward to getting deeper involved on the experiment field and to help to solve problems for many more farmers.”