RUNNELS COUNTY – Runnels County Extension Agent Marty Vahlenkamp has hit the ground running since starting the position on January 15. He came to Runnels County right in the middle of stock show season and has been traveling to various shows since then.

RUNNELS COUNTY – Runnels County Extension Agent Marty Vahlenkamp has hit the ground running since starting the position on January 15. He came to Runnels County right in the middle of stock show season and has been traveling to various shows since then.

He was named county agent in late December by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, replacing Garrett Cline, who resigned in the fall of 2017 for another agricultural position.

Vahlenkamp comes to Runnels County from Hood County, where he had been since 2001 serving the communities of Granbury, Tolar and Lipan. His first experience as an extension agent was in Ellis County, where he served from 1999-2001.

“We are pleased to have Marty join us here in AgriLife Extension’s West Central District,” said former Runnels County agent Marty Gibbs in December. “He’s a veteran agent with a top track record within the agency. Runnels County is unique in its agricultural diversity with a good mix of crop and livestock production.

At the time of his appointment, which was officially announced by Runnels County Judge Barry Hilliard.

Vahlenkamp arrived in Runnels County just after the Runnels County Junior Livestock show and since then has taken 4-H teams to the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo, the San Antonio Stock Show and the Fort Worth Stock Show. Over the next two weeks, he will be traveling to stock shows in Houston and Austin.

The rich agricultural heritage with both livestock and crops, made this an attractive place for Vahlenkamp to share his skills. He said Hood County was more of a “urban, home-based horticultural community.”

“The opportunity to move to an area more based in agriculture was attractive,” Vahlenkamp said. “Plus there is a traditional and strong 4-H program with lots of leadership and involvement and as a dad that was attractive to me.”

Vahlenkamp has a son Kyle, who is a freshman, and a daughter Rylee who is in fourth grade. Both are finishing out the school year in Tolar, but will be participating in Runnels County 4-H next year. His wife Megan, is a science teacher in Tolar.

Vahlenkamp earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Texas A&M University, College Station, and a master’s degree in agriculture with emphasis on ruminant nutrition from West Texas A&M University, Canyon. He graduated from high school in 1993 in Aspermont, where he participated in leadership activities and events in 4-H

In his previous posts, Vahlenkamp has worked extensively with the 4-H youth program while maintaining an active adult education program focused on beef cattle, water, brush management and horticulture.

He said he is very excited to lead the healthy 4-H program in Runnels County which has about 160 members.

His first weeks hear have been fairly hectic - he took 24 members to contests in San Antonio, 31 members to contests in San Angelo and 17 members competed in contests in Fort Worth. He will be taking 22 members to the stock show in Houston which is slated from March 6-10 and about 18 members will go to the lamb and goat show in Austin. Then, Runnels County 4-Hrs are slated to attend steer and heifer shows in Houston and Austin.

“We’ve had many 4-H members do really well in these contests,” Vahlenkamp said.

He is currently preparing for Runnels County Ag Day, which is slated for Tuesday, March 27, which he reported to Runnels County commissioners in his first monthly report Tuesday, Feb. 27.

He said he is glad to have made the move to Runnels County.

“I'm really liking being here,” Vahlenkamp said. “It has been really good and there are just some super nice people here - it’s just been great.”