The University of Idaho has hired Nic Usabel as its Canyon County extension horticulture educator.

He will start Aug. 1 in Caldwell.

He has taught science and agriculture classes in the Marsing School District for the past five years, and in the Jordan Valley, Ore., district for the previous six. He served as the FFA chapter adviser at both high schools.

“I am looking forward to taking my knowledge in the classroom and knowledge of the Treasure Valley, and working in extension education to help meet the needs of the county within horticulture,” Usabel said.

“Nic has a lot of teaching experience, and a strong background in ag science and the nursery areas,” UI Extension Southern District Director Pat Momont said.

Usabel will offer programs in consumer and commercial horticulture, and technical assistance in specialty areas that could include low-water landscape, integrated pest management, composting, fruit production, urban forestry and turf grass and nursery production.

“In addition, he will provide leadership and support for the Canyon County master gardener and advanced master gardener programs,” Momont said. “Those are two big jobs.”

Usabel said he plans to continue the work of local master gardeners and seek opportunities to expand that offering, including possibly starting a junior program.

He aims to work with community and horticultural industry leaders “to kind of get their feedback in terms of what are some needs to be met in the county,” he said. Water supply and consumption, and creating landscapes that fit neighboring uses as the region keeps growing are possible examples.

Usabel grew up on a farm near Marsing. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, both from UI. He will replace Rich Guggenheim, who left last year.

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