As she travels throughout Lincoln County, Taylor Dill doesn’t just drive by fields of corn, soy or wheat without a second thought as most people would. She eyes those fields of green with interest and is slowly learning which farmers have planted and harvest them in order to offer support and guidance based on the latest agricultural research and development. Dill is the new field crop extension agent for Lincoln County. She also serves Cleveland County and Gaston County.
Originally from Darke County, Ohio, Dill got her bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Wilmington College in southern Ohio and her master’s degree in agronomy, the study of crop and soil science, from Ohio State University.
“I grew up on a 1,200-acre row crop farm and ever since I was really young I loved agriculture,” she said. “Going to school for agriculture and agronomy kept me connected when I wasn’t able to go back to the farm.”
A row crop farm is one that mostly makes its money from corn, soybeans, wheat, grain sorghum and other small grain production. With row cropping, it isn’t as simple as just planting a seed and watching it grow. There’s a lot of more involved, said Dill, who did her master’s thesis on corn physiology and nitrogen application. As an extension agent, she educates farmers and the rest of the public on the latest agricultural research and development.
“One of the reasons why we have extension is to educate people within the county on what research is happening at the university,” she said. “We can participate in that research within the county as well, however, we don’t always. I receive information from specialists and other researchers on different management practices or new diseases that might be happening. I’m the person who’s supposed to be educating the farmer.”
Dill’s sister lives in North Carolina and she visited her a lot and liked the area so she was happy to get a job in the state. The crops are the same as what she was used to in Ohio, but the soil is much different.
“While I’ve worked with Ohio soil the most, other soils aren’t unfamiliar to me,” she said. “The learning curve is mostly seeing that it’s red rather than the black that I’m used to.”
Dill, who’s based at the Lincoln County Cooperative Extension office, can be reached at (704) 736-8461.