With our lives being so uprooted during this time of dealing with the pandemic, it is nice to know something is normal and working as it should. Our ACES-NRCS Program has some of the most wonderful people in the world working for us, and the following is about one of those great individuals working hard to help promote and to protect our wonderful world of agriculture.
We are proud to introduce you to Mr. David Graves, who works for the Gate City, Virginia NRCS office and has been with the ACES Program for 16 years! David has been teleworking during this time, but that hasn’t put a damper on his work ethics or his enthusiasm. David’s Monitor, Mark Jessee added this comment: “I am so pleased about the spotlight on David Graves. I met David in 2016 when I became the District Conservationist for Scott County. His wonderful personality and solid reputation with producers made the transition to a new office very easy for me. David’s background in farming and experience with NRCS programs has been a tremendous asset to the office. From inspecting practices that are being installed to discussing the benefits of conservation programs with clients, Dave is always ready to assist the office.”
We asked David to give us a rundown on his experience with the ACES Program, and the following is his answer:
“My time before joining the ACES program actually goes back decades rather than years! I was born on a farm in northern Missouri and agriculture has been a central part of my life. I entered the University of Missouri at Columbia following my high school graduation and received a BS degree in Agriculture after several years of studying and fulfilling my military obligation. During my college years, I worked part-time for the Soil Conservation Service – today’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. I also owned and operated our family farm for a number of years.
I learned about the ACES program in October of 2006 through an ad in the paper. I had recently retired after 24 years with the Florida Department of Agriculture and my wife Joyce and I had just relocated to Northeast Tennessee from Winter Haven, Florida.
Every day is a little different on the job I have now, which is one of the many pluses of this position. I am usually asked to go with District Conservationist Mark Jessee as he calls on Scott County farmers to discuss problems they are encountering on their land and how NRCS can help them. I also work closely with Tim Mullins, the NRCS technician in our office. We confirm that NRCS specifications are met when our producers install pipeline or fencing. My office work might include preparing job sheets for the new clients so they fully understand what is expected of them when they sign their contracts. I bring my lifetime of experience in agriculture (the production end of it in the Midwest, the regulatory part of it while in Florida and now my time in Virginia) to help in a small way to preserve soil and clean water.
I enjoy several aspects of the ACES program offered through NRCS and the NEW Solutions. As a former farmer, I like being around other farmers and helping to solve their problems. I also think I benefit from being around younger people at work, and, thankfully, they tolerate an older guy like me. Studies have shown that older people need to associate and be involved with younger folk … which gets me back to the goals of the NEW Solutions. People are living longer than ever before and, in many cases, have great know-how and experiences that remain very beneficial in the current workplace. For most of us, technology and computers are the biggest challenge in today’s work environment.
My wife and I enjoy being close to our daughter and four granddaughters and spending time together when I’m not working. We regularly attend the Woodlawn Christian Church and that is an important part of our lives. I still play golf, too. I just wish my game reflected all the years I spent in Florida, which may be the perfect state for year-round golf.”
David’s experience and his dedication to what he does is the exact description of the Enrollees that we have in our Programs. We thank David for his contributions to our program and for the help he so readily gives to NRCS in improving and protecting our most valuable resources!