Jeffery Stapper, who has served as the county extension agent for agriculture and natural resources in the San Patricio County for the past 10 years, took over as the extension agent for Nueces County, effective Dec. 1.

Stapper has a distinguished 24-year career as a county extension agent with Texas Cooperative Extension. He is a Comal County native and graduate of Smithson Valley High School.

Stapper began his extension career following graduation from Texas A&M University-College Station with a degree in animal science. His first assignment was as assistant county extension agent in Bastrop County. During his tenure, he has served as county extension agent in Stephens, Falls and Fort Bend counties before moving to San Patricio County.

Since coming to the Coastal Bend area, Jeff has conducted outstanding work with the area's major crops of cotton, grain sorghum and corn. His applied research work in crop irrigation management and cotton computer modeling demonstrations have been recognized for excellence in the agricultural community and by the Texas Agricultural Agents' Association's professional excellence awards programs.

Stapper has also conducted a series of test plots to evaluate pasture and range weed control products and approaches to brush management. During the past decade, Stapper has collaborated with the Welder Wildlife Refuge to conduct numerous educational programs and field days. In early November, Stapper coordinated a very successful feral hog management seminar for area farmers and ranchers.

He has worked closely with agricultural organizations, including the soil and water conservation district. He has worked with the Farm Bureau's board to conduct a highly effective "Ag Classroom Field Day" which involved 90 percent of the fourth-grade students in San Patricio County.

Stapper brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position of Nueces County extension agent. He will be filling the senior extension agent's position with responsibilities of agriculture and natural resource education programs held by myself for the past 25 years.

I began my service as the county extension agent in Nueces County in November 1982. I followed Norman Vestal who served for nine years before transferring to Bexar County. Lin Wilson preceded Vestal and served as Nueces County extension agent from 1973 until the opening of the Corpus Christi A&M Research and Extension Center in 1975.

Wilson was appointed to serve as District Agent for the new Coastal Bend extension service district with headquarters at the Corpus Christi A&M Center.

Bud Nolan preceded Wilson and served for 19 years as the agricultural extension agent for Nueces County. Nolan served during an exciting period in the development of Coastal Bend agriculture. He arrived during the midst of the drought of 1953 and served until his retirement in 1972. Nolan followed E.D. Beck who served for only two years following the 14-year tenure of Henry Alsmeyer.

Alsmeyer's efforts as agent included the introduction of grain sorghum as a new cash crop for the area. For more than 30 years, Nueces County has been the state's (and often the nation's) leading producer of this grain crop. Alsmeyer and his predecessor, W.M Seller, who served in the agents position for only four years, were responsible for starting the youth livestock shows in the county.

Les Brandes served as assistant agent with Alsmeyer and was instrumental in growing the Nueces County Junior Livestock Show and gaining the financial backing that purchased the property for the original Nueces County Show Barn.

F.W. Hoefner preceded Mr. Sellers and served as agent for six years. G.C. Plamer served during the mid-1920s and was preceded by M.C. Jaynes who served from 1920 through 1922. A number of the early county agriculture agents found greater opportunities in the newly developing farming region and quickly gave up working as extension educators.

The first to serve as county agent for Nueces County was J.O. Berryman who held the position for one year and was replaced by George McClelland who continued for less than a year. George Johnston served from 1912 to 1915 when Robert Caldwell worked as agent for two years and was followed by John W. Kirkpatrick. He held the position until 1919.

Since 1912, extension agents have shared their time and expertise with Nueces County's agricultural community. We hope you will join us in welcoming Jeff Stapper to his new assignment in Nueces County.