Refugio native will serve as Victoria County Extension agent
June 19, 2012 at 1:19 a.m.
Life begins where the comfort zone ends, Peter McGuill said, and it's time to take a leap.
On July 2, McGuill will join on as Victoria County AgriLife Extension agent. He replaces Joe Janak, who retired in February after 29 years.
"I'm excited," the Refugio native said with a grin. "It's going to be fun to step into those shoes."
Agriculture is a way of life for McGuill, who grew up on a cow/calf ranch in the Refugio and Goliad County area. He harbored early memories of building fences with his brother and helping out around the property, and continued on that track through school.
McGuill, 39, obtained a bachelor's degree in animal science from Sam Houston State University and earned a master's degree in agricultural development from Texas A&M University. He is now working on a doctorate from the same school.
The father of two has been with the extension service about 13 years, he said, and worked in Matagorda, Atascosa and Wharton Counties.
He counts Wharton County's leaps forward regarding production decisions, crop hybrids and cultural practices among the successes he's most proud of with his current position, and said he cherished the friendships he developed over time.
Still, McGuill said he felt up to the challenge a new county offered, and Victoria was a good next step.
"Victoria County was always sort of the jewel of the Midcoast," he said, explaining the area served as a sort of agricultural and industrial hub for the region. "It's where everything seemed to happen, but it still had that small-town feel."
Although exciting, the Victoria post presents a challenge, McGuill admitted.
Wharton County is more production-based, he said, while Victoria is a mix of agricultural and rural development. The key is to allow both to live in harmony.
"You're dealing with two different clientele needs, and Joe did such a good job of that," McGuill said. "I'm excited to start, but there will be a sort of learning curve there."
McGuill said he would commute daily from his home in El Campo, and planned to begin slowly.
It's important to learn about the program and area, and then make changes if necessary, he explained. After all, there's no sense in changing things that don't need it.
"Every area has different challenges, a different emphasis," he said. "It's finding out what that is at a grassroots level and working toward solutions."