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Lermon returns home to take on ag educator role

Ryan Lermon
Ryan Lermon
Rick Bussler, Publisher
“I’ve always had a passion for learning, and I’m really passionate about agriculture.”
-Ryan Lermon, New Ag Educator

After traveling around the country and working in different roles, Ryan Lermon is settling back into the area that he can call home.

Lermon grew up on a hog farm near Northfield. In addition, his grandparents farmed by West Concord. During his high school days, he was a member of Randolph FFA. He graduated in 2003 from Northfield High School.

He has taken on the role as ag and natural resources educator for the University of Minnesota Extension for Steele and Rice counties. Lermon replaces Claire LaCanne, who shifted to another position with the U of M. He began his duties on May 6.

Lermon admits he never planned to return back to southern Minnesota, but he find himself always open to an adventure.

The fact that he has traveled around to different parts of the country makes him uniquely qualified for this position, Lermon said. “I’ve met people with different backgrounds and understand them,” he says.

The educator served four years in the U.S. Marine Corp. Lermon has a bachelor’s degree in rangeland ecology and watershed management from the University of Wyoming. For four years, he worked with the U.S. Forest Service in the Black Hills National Forest. He eventually returned to Minnesota to work at a cabinet shop in St. Cloud.

One thing Lermon noticed while working out west is that things are much drier, and farmland is used for burning or grazing of animals.

He expects livestock grazing to become much more popular in Minnesota in the future. “It’s a more economical way of feeding livestock,” Lermon said. “Let them eat the grass.”

Working for Extension will suit him perfectly, he said. “I’ve always had a passion for learning, and I’m really passionate about agriculture,” said Lermon. “I want to combine those two things and share with anyone that will listen,” he added.

Just like his predecessor, Lermon will split his time equally between the two counties. He will have offices in both Owatonna and Faribault.

In his role as educator, Lermon will focus on “a little bit of everything.” He is versatile with providing assistance with ag production systems, crop farmers who need ideas, helping with soil health and even educating city folks on ideas for lawn and gardens in their backyards.

“I’m here for small to big and everything in between,” Lermon said, noting his goal is to connect the community with the U of M. “It’s taking scientific research and putting it into plain English so everyone can understand it.”

Currently, Lermon is working on a “Passport to Agriculture” program for Aug. 8 in Rice County. He said the event will focus on “farm to table” by highlighting ways local farmers can connect with the community.

He said having the resources of great people and excellent research from the U of M should be beneficial for people. “I want to get that information out to the people. I’m trying to get my feet under me to understand what education programs people want in this area,” he said, adding his role is all about getting in touch with people and building relationships.

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