George Place II named new director of Catawba County Cooperative Extension

George Place II has been named Catawba County’s new Cooperative Extension director, starting Jan. 5.

He will succeed Jeff Carpenter, who retired in 2013.

Funded by the county in partnership with the state and federal governments, the Cooperative Extension is the outreach arm of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University and the School of Agriculture at North Carolina A&T State University.

Place, who will supervise a staff of seven, has a PhD and Master’s Degree in crop science from N.C. State and a Bachelor of Science in plant biological sciences with a chemistry minor, in combined studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of New Mexico.

Since 2012, he has been working with the Peace Corps in Panama, where he and his wife, Soraya, co-founded a project to improve food security and educate future farmers and leaders.

While in graduate studies at N.C. State, Place was a teaching assistant in weed science, world population and food prospects. From 2005 through 2011, he was a research assistant in weed management and soil fertility. Later, he worked as a research associate on a $1.2 million U.S. Department of Agriculture study entitled “Farmer Driven Breeding: Addressing the Needs of Southeastern Organic Field Crop Producers.”