Larry Johnson was encouraged to apply for a position in the NOWCC ACES Program in October 2006 by Jackson County District Conservationist, Alan Rees. Rees, a DC for two counties in Ohio, was looking to broaden the applicant pool for a position in his area so he contacted Larry to “just come in for an interview”. Larry had been retired for 6 years and was not at all sure he wanted to go back to work. As it turned out, the other two candidates decided on other things, so Larry decided to “give it a try”. Of course, Rees was excited to gain quality, experienced help for his area at a reasonable rate of pay. Larry is currently a Level 2, Conservationist Planning and Implementation Specialist in Jackson, Ohio.
Larry Johnson retired from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife in 2000 where he had worked for 16 years serving nine counties from the Athens District Office. The conservation work carried out by NRCS on Ohio’s private lands is usually done in partnership with other organizations. The ODNR Division of Wildlife is one of the most effective partners NRCS collaborates with to promote wildlife habitat through their many private lands biologists. Larry was one of those talented private lands biologists.
Some of Larry’s duties during his 3 day work week consist of assisting the civil engineering technician, Rob Rhyan, with inspections, investigations, and planning for primarily livestock-based conservation practices such as spring developments, heavy use pads or access roads. The remainder of Larry’s work week is either spent helping Alan make customer calls or working with the soil conservationist on Vinton County projects. The photo above shows Larry working in the field surveying conservation practices. With Larry doing most of the field work, Alan has more time to work on program contracts and payments.
The fact that Larry has lived his entire life in Jackson County has been quite helpful in getting people involved in NRCS programs; he says he knows the county and its residents like the back of his hand. His grandfather settled and began farming in Jackson County over 100 years ago. Larry and his wife, Charlotte now work the farm.
Money isn’t the primary reason Larry allowed himself to be coaxed into returning to work, but he says it doesn’t hurt. Like most people, he has felt the impact of the tough economy lately. He cites the interesting people, the flexible schedule, and the proximity to his home (only 3 miles away), all as reasons he likes his ACES work.
In his free time, Larry enjoys turkey hunting during the spring, often traveling to surrounding states in pursuit of a big tom. Larry and Charlotte also enjoy traveling and spending time between their two time-shares, taking advantage of the different locations for exploring. They also enjoy spending time with their three daughters and grandkids.