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Three questions with Mike Cruse, local U of M Extension ag educator

November 27, 2018

Question

Mike Cruse
Mike Cruse, U of M Extension educator in Fillmore and Houston Counties.

What was your journey before you landed at Extension? 

Answer

I am a small town farm boy from northeast Iowa. My mother was a teacher/administrator for 33 years and my dad raised corn and soybeans. Guess I got bit by both of those bugs because now my work is centered on agricultural education. Before landing in southeast Minnesota I worked for the USDA and a private ag research company. I taught a couple of college courses and got degrees from Iowa State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After finishing my graduate work in Madison, this job opened up and it seemed like a perfect opportunity to continue working in a field that I love while moving closer to family.

Question

As an educator, your work is in “agricultural production systems.” What area is particularly interesting to you? Why? 

Answer

As many of you know, local educators get pulled in countless directions. Narrowing down which of those directions is my favorite is next to impossible. I will say this though, no matter what subject comes across my desk I know there are talented, enthusiastic people within Extension willing to help me when I need it. Those connections with local and regional educators and state specialists as well as administration and support staff both provide me with support as well as help keep me in check. Something we all need from time to time. I hope no matter what comes across my desk or what my future holds that I will continue to have the opportunity to work with people like those that I have met here in Extension.

Question

What is most rewarding about your job?

Answer

Midwest farm boys are not always the best at expressing emotions. Probably something to do with our need to be rugged, tough or whatever. Anyway, while helping with the sheep and goat weigh-in at one of our county fairs this year I got to chatting with a couple of gentlemen who were also helping. We got around to talking about cutting hay and one of them mentioned the difference he sees in his grandson now that he went through the tractor safety course that I helped put together locally. It did not hit me right away but what that gentleman was doing was thanking me without actually saying it. That was pretty cool.

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