Submitted by: Doug Mayo, Jackson County Extension
Jackson County Extension Director, Ed Jowers was recently inducted into the Florida Association of County Agriculture Agents (FACAA) Hall of Fame, at their recent state meeting held in Orlando, Florida. Only one agent per year statewide is selected for this honor. Jowers was selected as the 2008 inductee because of his many years of dedicated service to the agricultural producers of Florida, University of Florida Extension, and FACAA.
Ed Jowers has served as a true leader through more than 40 years of public service. He served five years in the US Air Force, as a maintenance officer during the Vietnam War, before beginning a career in Extension with the University of Florida. Jowers has been a leader in UF Extension, FACAA, and in the three communities he served for 37 years.
Ed had a vision for how things should be, and always worked to keep people involved to make things better. He has consistently hired the very best people, and gave them the support they needed to succeed. Jowers also worked very hard to make FACAA successful, by giving of his time and energy, and by encouraging other agents to get involved.
In 1971, Jowers began as a County Agent in Suwannee County working primarily with 4-H youth, cattlemen and hog farmers. When the local County Extension Director (CED) was fired, Jowers was pressed into service as the acting CED. He met the challenge by providing the leadership the staff needed to serve their clientele until a new director was hired.
Throughout his career, Jowers sought challenges and a place where he felt he could make a difference. In 1979, he was promoted to CED of the Madison County Extension Office. While in Madison County, he worked very closely with Farm Bureau, and also formed the North Florida Hog Producers Association.
The work he was most proud of in Madison was his use of demonstration plots. Jowers showed local farmers the value of adopting nematode and disease resistant varieties of soybeans. He also introduced farmers to conservation tillage. Jowers was able to help the farmers in the region increase their average annual yields by 25%, going from 20 to 25 bushels to the acre.
In 1985, Jowers transferred to the Jackson County Office to face a new challenge. His friends in Extension told him that the Jackson Office was not a good place to work, with aging facilities, limited meeting space, and a limited budget. Today our Extension Office has 13,000 square feet of office and meeting space, including a Conference Center with a seating capacity of 350 people.
In addition to improving the facilities for the Jackson County Extension, Jowers was also able to provide office space for all of the agricultural support agencies in one building. While in Jackson county, Jowers became well known for his expertise in peanuts. He has maintained an annual attendance of over 200 farmers for his yearly Peanut Short Course and Peanut Field Day.
Jowers has also been a long time leader in FACAA. His primary leadership came as he moved through the officer rotation from 1990-1994. While serving as President he completely revised the Bylaws and Polices. He established the Young Professional Award by securing an annual $500 sponsorship from Farm Credit. In 1995, he served as the National Association of County Agriculture Agents (NACAA) Southern Region Scholarship Committee Chair. Since that time, although he has not held a formal office, he is still recognized statewide as an opinion leader and mentor for those in leadership roles.