|New Southwest 4 extension educator on board|
Robert Tigner’s first day
on the job was Monday
By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
Iowa native Robert Tigner joined the staff at the Southwest Four Extension Service (SW4) Monday, March 2, as its new extension educator.
Tigner, who prefers to be called Robert, said he’s looking forward to the new challenges that await him in the SW4.
In Iowa, the primary crops consist of corn, soybeans and alfalfa so working with the wide diversity of crops in the SW4 is something he’s anticipating.
That cropping diversity drew Tigner to the job. He said he’s always up to new challenges and looks at this position as a new opportunity in his career.
“I like changes that make sense,” he said, and this position makes sense for him, he noted.
He’s also looking forward to doing more work with the youth in the SW4.
He said his former position in Iowa didn’t lend itself to working much with youth.
When it comes to youth involvement, Tigner said he holds a keen interest in shooting sports and wants to share that with the youth.
He’s also looking forward to working with the county fairs in the SW4 area.
Tigner said his first goal will be to meet people in the area.
He has extensive background in working with the Farm Bill and wants to offer that assistance to farmers here, as well as developing a strong working relationship with the Farm Service Agency.
In his previous position as a farm management field specialist with the University of Iowa extension, he worked extensively with “Annie’s Program.”
This is a nationwide program designed to assist women who are involved with farm businesses, either as an active member of the farm or farm women not involved in an operation.
He also has Master Gardener training and is looking to build interest in that program here.
Tigner noted some stark differences between Iowa farms and Nebraska farms, such as size of farms and annual rainfall.
He said farmers in southwest Nebraska tend to farm a lot more acres than their counterparts in Iowa.
And when it comes to rainfall, the region he came from in Iowa averages 34 inches of rainfall—a big difference from southwest Nebraska.
He said 34 inches of rain “covers up a lot of sins” that farmers in southwest Nebraska could not get away with, even with irrigation.
Tigner grew up on a small dairy farm in Lehigh, Iowa, and started his education in animal science at Iowa State University.
After running out of money and ambition, Tigner joined the U.S. Navy in 1975, serving six years on the USS John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier.
After leaving the Navy, he returned to ISU, finishing his degree in dairy science and animal science.
He joined a dairy cooperative in eastern Iowa and in December, 1987, he and his wife, Arlene, started their own dairy farm on about 200 acres in Luana, Iowa.
As a member of the Naval Reserve, he was called to active duty in Operation Desert Storm.
Afterwards, he returned to the farm but began working towards his masters degree. That meant many late hours working his schedule between school and the farm.
In late 1995, he joined the University of Wisconsin as a county dairy and livestock agent.
In 1999, he returned to Iowa Extension as a farm management field specialist.
In that capacity, he concentrated on crop marketing, women’s education, computer education, financial educations and Master Gardener training.
He will be joined by his wife after they sell their property in Iowa.
Tigner fills the extension educator vacancy in the SW4 that occurred after the death of previous Extension Educator Tom Dill nearly two years ago.