Dr. Stu Duncan is a lifelong Kansan, having made the transition from growing up on a small farmstead in southern Osage County, Kansas, to Extension specialist in the Agronomy Department at K-State. Along the way, he received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Agronomy at K-State.
As the Northeast Area Crops and Soils Specialist, he has a wide-ranging responsibility involving all types of crop production and environmental protection practices in this diverse area of the state.
His main area of emphasis, however, is not any one certain crop or agroecosystem, but county agent development. Dr. Duncan served as a county Extension agent from 1978-1986, which helps him identify closely with the county agents in his area. The most important part of his job is helping agents develop professionally and maintain subject matter competency so that they may deliver the strongest possible program to their clientele. That’s how he believes he can have the greatest impact on Kansas agriculture.
Dr. Duncan views his responsibility as a two-way street. He interacts with research faculty and state Extension specialists, then transfers the applicable pieces of this information to local agents and into scientifically valid on-farm trials within the counties. Equally important is bringing the local knowledge of the agents and the concerns of their clinetele back to the research faculty so they can work on practical solutions.
The best part of being an area Extension specialist is having the opportunity to help people and have an impact on their lives, he says. This applies to both younger Extension agents just getting started as well as the more experienced agents, and agricultural producers and landowners in his area.
Aside from his Extension work, Dr. Duncan likes to spend time with his wife and family, and in church-related activities. He enjoys outdoor activities, particularly hunting and fishing, and reading American and world history.