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Fairmont woman named state agronomist

March 2, 2012
Kylie Saari - Staff Writer , Fairmont Sentinel

FAIRMONT - Carissa Spencer's desk is covered with file folders needing her attention.

Neat piles of varying heights show different degrees of completion while boxes dot the floor as she prepares to leave a job she has held for six years.

As the district conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Services, Spencer has helped local farmers navigate the waters of government programs.

Article Photos

Carissa Spencer

Soon her duties will change, when she moves to a job with more responsibilities.

Spencer has been named state agronomist, a position that puts her in charge of writing and updating the conservation practice standards that deal with agronomic issues, and getting information and technical tools to field staff and producers.

There will be other duties, although Spencer isn't quite sure what they are at the moment. The federal Conservation Service is redefining the job description of state agronomist, including adding nutrient and pest management - items that used to fall under a different department.

The job comes after much preparation. Spencer went to college for agronomy - the study of crops, soils and climate - and worked as a sales agronomist before coming to the service.

The previous agronomist retired last fall, and with only one per state, Spencer has had her calendar filled with meetings and trips to the Twin Cities, where her office will be located come March 26.

"It is a little bit of a whirlwind," she said.

Spencer said she is most looking forward to getting back to agronomics.

"It will be a challenging job," she said.

The downside? Leaving home.

Spencer grew up in Madelia and has lived in rural areas ever since.

In addition to wrapping up loose ends at the local field office and attending meetings around the state, she and her husband are trying to navigate the process of moving to the Twin Cities.



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