Kayla Wyse is officially in as the new agriculture and natural resources educator for the Williams County Ohio State University Extension Office.
Wyse started last week, taking over for Stephanie Karhoff, who resigned in June to take a state position.
Wyse finished her degree in December, having earned a degree in agronomy with a minor in chemistry from Wilmington College, which she attended after graduating from Pettisville High School in 2019.
“I was talking to one of the local ag teachers and his wife mentioned this position had come open and I thought I’d apply and see what happened,” she said. “I got screened by the state screening board and then the community screening. Just talking to those people, I really enjoyed what they have to say about the community and the different things that Extension educators had done in the past in terms of programing.”
Having heard all that, Wyse thought the opportunity would be a good one for her right after graduating from school.
She said she especially liked the love the interview board had for the community and their desire to give back to the community.
Having grown up in Wauseon, she didn’t have the experience of growing up on a farm. However, she became involved in the FFA at Pettisville High School.
“I did an ag-based science research project my eighth grade of school and John Poulson, the (ag) teacher at Pettisville, came up and said, ‘This is an ag project that you could present at the state FFA.’ And I said I’d do it,” she said. “I got to go to the state FFA convention and I didn’t realize how many people were involved in FFA and that’s what started it all.”
In addition, she said both her grandparents had farms, with one now being ran by the children.
“We get to run 4-H projects and just general care and management out there, which helped expose me to some of the livestock sides of things,” Wyse said.
She got into agronomy, specifically, in high school as it is part of the FFA program there.
“I really got interested in the field through (Poulson) and the different CDE (career development events) events that go on through FFA,” Wyse said. “I really enjoy the research side of things as far as ‘OK, we have a problem, how do we solve it? Or, what potential solutions are there?’”
This first year, she wants to get to know the basic needs of the community and what people expect out of her in this position and “go from there” in terms of programming.
While some programming may be up in the air, Wyse said she was interested in doing an entomology (study of insects) course in the schools with Jessica Runkel, program assistant, 4-H Youth Development and agriculture and natural resources.
“We’d be bringing in specimens into the schools,” she said.
Wyse said she is looking forward to serving and working with the farmers in the county and said her door is always open. The county OSU Extension office is located at 1425 E. High St., and the phone number is 419-636-5608.
Currently, Wyse is commuting from Wauseon for the job.
In her spare time, she enjoys giving back to the community by judging in various FFA activities in Fulton County.
“I attend Pettisville Missionary Church and help out with the children’s program there,” she said.