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Her job's a natural fit

October 09, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Donielle Inskeep grew up on a dairy farm in Frederick County and still raises beef cattle and hogs.

So she is feeling right at home as a 4-H development educator at the Maryland Cooperative Extension Service in Washington County.

She said she can't believe her good fortune.

In 2005, Inskeep was able to intern with Jeff Semler, local agriculture and natural resources specialist.

Afterward, she returned to West Virginia University and completed her master's degree in agriculture.

Inskeep came back on board shortly after Beth Bubacz joined the local staff and now both are 4-H development educators.

"Beth is handling outreach and the after-school programs while I am working with 4-H clubs and volunteers," Inskeep said.

Inskeep also is involved with livestock and the more traditional agricultural duties.

Bubacz was educated at North Carolina State University, where she went into animal science and Extension education. She applied for a job as a horticulture agent in Baltimore County and although she didn't get that job, she did meet Semler, who was on the interview committee.

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Just 22, Inskeep said her master's degree studies focused on artificial cattle insemination, a field she says is quite active and growing.

"There are people who do that for a living," Inskeep said. She has met with students and showed them videotapes of the process where cattle are inseminated to strengthen the herd.

Inskeep lives near Thurmont, Md., with her parents and two younger sisters. She said her mother and father were 4-H leaders when she was growing up as a 4-H member.

"I recently did a program with fourth-graders at the nearby Western Maryland Research and Education Center on Keedysville Road," Inskeep said.

Open to all Washington County fourth-graders, only four schools took her up on the offer to spend at day at the center learning about agriculture.

She taught the students about animal sciences and also about seeds and then took them for a wagon ride to see the plants that grow from those seeds.

"We learned about nutrition and, in teams of two, they baked a loaf of bread to take home," Inskeep said.

That program is supported through a grant from the Maryland Grain Producers Association. "I also go out to some schools," she said.

As she is still settling into her new job, Inskeep said she has high hopes for the future of 4-H and agriculture in Washington County.

"Just last week, I trained 12 new volunteers for 4-H work, some of whom recently moved into the county from other areas," she said.

For more information on agriculture in Washington County, call 301-791-1404. The county office is at 7303 Sharpsburg Pike south of Hagerstown.

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