After being vacant for a decade, the Warren County Penn State Extension Office has filled the position of extension educator.
Saad Usmani took over the role in August. After coming from Kenya and being raised in New York City, he received a bachelor of science degree in agriculture economics from the University of Alberta and a masters of science in environmental economics from University of York.
At the extension, Usmani said there are resources which make it a good place for outreach. He plans to inform and educate the public, especially those in rural areas.
Through programs, workshops and seminars, Usmani said he will lend a hand in all agricultural matters. His specialties include agriculture entrepreneurship, innovation, niche markets, crop diversification and value added agriculture.
"Processing is key," Usmani said.
In this area, much of the agricultural industry revolves around dairy. As a result, Usmani said, farmers could focus on specialty milks and cheeses as well as different livestock and nontraditional products.
Since the position went unfilled for so long, Usmani said there is a lack of awareness. Now he's trying to gain a following and interest in the right programs while filling seats.
"There's a strong background here," Usmani said. "There's a long history of dairy."
Because of that, people know the ups and downs of the industry. They also have the ability to farm the land, Usmani said, and to grow the market.