PUTNAM COUNTY — A Leipsic resident has been hired to serve as the new Putnam County OSU Agriculture Educator.

Beth Scheckelhoff will begin her job this week at the office in Ottawa. She will fill the position left vacant when former OSU Ag Educator Jim Hoorman left in August to take a position as the NRCS Soil Health Specialist for Ohio and Southern Michigan, located in Findlay.

Scheckelhoff has been an extension educator with Ohio State University since 2005 working extensively in northwest Ohio as well as with hydroponics vegetable producers across the state.

“I have always had a passion helping producers troubleshoot issues they are facing,’ Said Scheckelhoff, “whether it be in developing viable business and marketing plants, determining best management practices in the production of a wide variety of crops, implementing pest management strategies and navigating governmental regulations.”

An Ohio native, Scheckelhoff was born in Dayton, but raised in Arlington, Texas. Most of her extended family lives in Sidney and Mercer County.

Scheckelhoff attended the University of Arkansas where she majored in horticulture and focused on agricultural business. She then moved on to Michigan State University to pursue her Master’s and Ph.D in Floriculture production.

“Much of my work was in helping the greenhouse ornament industry learn the techniques to propagate, grow and flower herbaceous perennial plants for retail markets,” Scheckelhoff said. “I worked as a technician for MSU’s Horticulture Department for several years, coordinating both research projects and extension programs.”

Scheckelhoff has resided in Leipsic since 2010 and said she is very much looking forward to assisting folks in Putnam County with their agricultural and natural resource needs.

“Putnam County has a large agricultural bases with 98 percent of the land in agriculture,” she said. “I think there is a great opportunity in this county to continue to advance agriculture productivity and bring new ideas and market opportunities to our producers.”

Scheckelhoff said she is especially interested in working with local farms ti implement best management practices, provide farm management training, women in agriculture programs and specialty crop resources.

“There are numerous opportunities to reach clientele with regard to homeowner yard and garden issues, involving youth in agriculture, expansion of the Master Gardener program and other areas,” she said. “I’m excited to meet and learn about other potential partners in the community that have a vest interest in promoting excellence in agriculture here and abroad.”

Scheckelhoff said she welcomes residents to contact her at the office in Ottawa with questions or concerns they may have.

“I am also interested in hearing ideas and suggestions for programs and information they feel would benefit this area,” she said. “In the near future, our office will develop a consistent means to communicate agriculture and homeowner topics to the community.”