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Goff joins WVU Extension Jackson County office as agriculture agent

Ben Goff headshot on a navy blue background.

Ben Goff’s academic and professional career has taken him in many directions and to a few different places, but as they say, all roads lead home.

The Grafton native has been a West Virginia University Extension agriculture and natural resources agent in Mason and Putnam counties for the past four years, but now he’s starting in a new county.

In late June, Goff started a new position as the WVU Extension agriculture and natural resources agent in Jackson County—the place he has called home since returning to West Virginia.

“The Jackson County community has been very welcoming, and there’s a really great connection between the WVU Extension office and the community, so I’m just trying to build on that,” Goff said.

Goff’s academic career started at WVU, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in agronomy. He moved on to Iowa State to get a master’s in agronomy, then to the University of Kentucky to receive a doctorate in crop science.

After completing his doctorate, Goff became an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky, teaching courses and conducting research in the field. He realized during this time that that he was more of a “boots-on-the-ground” person, so when the opportunity to get back to West Virginia and work in a different environment arose, Goff jumped at the chance to work at WVU Extension.

In Mason and Putnam counties, Goff took on many duties, such as creating programming for local producers and working with retired WVU Extension specialists Tom Basden and Ed Rayburn on forage management systems. He also worked with the Certified Forage and Grassland Professional program to help WVU Extension agents and West Virginia conservation specialists become certified crop advisors for forest livestock systems. In addition, he worked with other WVU Extension specialists and agents to lead WVU Grazing Schools, which are classes on how to improve profit and efficiency of grazing in pastures.

“Jackson County is one of the premier fair offices in the state, and there’s a long, strong history here. What’s the saying? On the shoulders of giants?” Goff said. “I’ve really enjoyed the interactions I’ve had so far in the community, and I’m looking forward to seeing things grow.”

Goff already has plans for programming in his new position, but agronomy isn’t the only thing he’s an expert in.

“Ben understands the people side of the agriculture field — and that’s what we can’t teach," Ronnie Helmondollar, WVU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources program director, said. "It requires a service mindset and a willingness to get out there and meet with people. Ben is knowledgeable and has done a great job in the state so far, and he’ll continue to be a great resource for producers."

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CONTACT: Sydney Keener

Communications Specialist

WVU Extension