No Garden too Small for Tommy Yankey

Most of us have tried to grow something at one time or another.  Maybe it is just grass or a few plants.  If you are more ambitious, maybe you planted a large garden, shrubs or trees.  If you have tried, you have probably also had questions like when is the best time to plant, does my soil have the proper nutrition, how often should I water and what about fertilizer and weed killer?   When you have questions, Tommy Yankey has the answers.  Or, if you are a farmer with a few acres or several hundred acres, Tommy Yankey is the man with the answers if you need help.

Tommy Yankey is the County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources.  He works at the Anderson County Extension Service on County Park Road.  But you will frequently find him on the road helping solve problems, whether big or small.  This is one of the blessings Mr. Yankey brings to his role.  He wants to help anyone with an agricultural problem, be it one shrub in your front yard or problems with hundreds of acres.

Tommy Yankey grew up in Washington County on a small dairy and tobacco farm. He earned his bachelor’s degree at University of Kentucky in Agricultural Education in 1981 and went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Vocational Education.  He loves helping people.  He has a great personal motto: “Every day is a good day, just some are better than others.”

He and his wife, Cheryle, have been married for 33 years.  They have two sons, Austin and Tanner.  He is a busy man, but when he has time, he likes to hunt, fish and garden.  He also has a special passion as a way to relax by hybridizing day lillies.  He is also an advisor to the Cattleman’s Association.

Tommy’s position as part of the County Extension Service was created by Smith-Lever Act of 1914.  This is a federal law that established a cooperative extension service that is connected to land-grant universities, which include Kentucky State University and the University of Kentucky. Mr. Yankey brings not only his extensive experience to your aid, but he also has access to specialists in the UK College of Agriculture in areas such as plants, animals, bugs, soil and weeds. After 35 years in his field, he has close ties with these experts.

What is important to realize is Tommy is truly here to help anyone.  For example, if you live in a subdivision and want to plant a lawn, call Mr. Yankey.  He can help you with soil samples which are free.  He can then tell you how to adjust the pH balance to adjust the acidity of the soil, and then offer suggestions on how to sod or seed.  If you have insect or bug problems, he can identify them, tell you if it is really a problem and if so, what to do.  If you think a shrub or tree has a disease, again, Mr. Yankey is here it help.

He is also available for other questions like identifying snakes or help with weeds.  Knowing about weeds can be especially helpful for farmers.  Weeds compete with crops for nutrients, but you need to use the right treatment to get rid of them.  Many weeds are herbicide specific so you need the right one.  He has access to the extensions research farm where many of the herbicides are tested so you get excellent and accurate information.

And, these services are all free.  There are occasionally small fees, but these are usually for UK publications or record books that are available through the extension. The Extension also provides other services, 4H, Youth and Family and Consumer services.  You can receive help with canning, diabetic diets and other nutritional information.

Tommy Yankey is a valuable resource for Anderson County.  He truly enjoys helping people which is probably why you can always recognize him by his big smile. As he puts it, he wants to be an encourager and to be positive.

-Written by Don West

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