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UF/IFAS Highlands County Extension Announces New County Extension Director

UF/IFAS Extension Highlands County is proud to announce the current Citrus Extension Agent, Laurie Hurner, has accepted the position of County Extension Director.

As the County Extension Director (CED), she will be responsible for leading the county extension program while maintaining and building effective working relationships with county government, community leaders, private sector clientele, media, other government agencies, the general public, UF/IFAS faculty and staff, and extension administration. Hurner will supervise and evaluate county faculty members with primary assignments in horticulture, livestock, and 4-H youth development while continuing to serve citrus producers as a citrus agent. She will also be expected to maintain an overall advisory committee that reflects the demographics of the county and effectively advocates for Cooperative Extension within the community.

Ms. Hurner is a fifth generation Floridian with deep ties to the Florida Citrus Industry and a long time extension supporter. She joined Extension in 2013 as the Citrus Extension Agent. After Les Baucum resigned in early 2015, she quickly adapted to a supervisory role as interim CED on top of her duties as the county’s citrus agent.

Laurie Hurner received a Masters of Agriculture degree from the University of Florida in 1994. She is a graduate of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources and is currently a member of the Mason G. Smoak Foundation Board, the Highlands County Cattlewomen, the Florida Crop Advisor Advisory Committee, and a member of Faith Lutheran Church in Sebring.  

“I am looking forward to Laurie's leadership of the office in her new role. She has done an excellent job as the interim director and expect that even greater things are on the horizon for the extension programs of Highlands County“-Ray Royce, Executive Director of Highlands County Citrus Growers, and member of the Overall Advisory Committee for Highlands County.

When asked about how she felt regarding her added position, Hurner stated, “The Highlands County Extension office has been through some difficult times. I am prepared to take on the role of cheerleader and chief to assure that this office continues to work together to become one of the premier extension offices in the state.”

The faculty and staff of UF/IFAS Highlands County Extension welcomes Laurie into her new position with open arms and have no doubts that she’s the woman for the job. They have faith in her and trust she will be what Highlands County needs to continue to provide residents of Highlands County with the very best extension office Florida has to offer.

To learn more about UF/IFAS Highlands County Extension and what they can do for you, visit their website at: http://highlands.ifas.ufl.edu/ , call their offices Monday through Friday from
8:00am – 5pm at: 863-402-6540, or direct your gardening questions to their Master Gardener volunteers Monday – Friday
 from 9:30am – 3:30pm at 863-402-7151.

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