Danny R. Peek, of Abingdon, Va., has been named director of Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Southwest District. Peek has been with Extension for 14 years as the burley tobacco specialist at the Southwest Virginia Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Glade Spring, Va.

“Danny has been an outstanding Extension specialist, and he knows what it takes to build strong educational programs as well as collaborative partnerships at the local and regional levels,” said Ed Jones, director of Virginia Cooperative Extension. “Danny is highly respected by clientele, agribusinesses, and Extension colleagues.”

Prior to his tenure at Virginia Tech, Peek led, developed, and implemented research-based educational outreach initiatives in many areas of tobacco production in North Carolina.

In his new position, Peek wants to create a team atmosphere among the 45 agents in the Southwest District’s 21 counties. Extension agents cover four programs areas: agriculture and natural resources, 4-H youth development, family and consumer sciences, and community viability.

“I also want to share the Extension agents’ accomplishments with our state leaders and legislators,” Peek said.

Peek began his career in 1989 as an apprentice for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and assisted in tobacco research. In 1991, he was named student farm manager at Berea College, where he received his bachelor’s degree in agriculture. He joined North Carolina State University in 1995 as a livestock and row crops Extension agent in Henderson County. In addition, he was the pesticide coordinator and assumed leadership responsibilities in two counties.

As Extension’s burley tobacco specialist at the Southwest Virginia Agricultural and Extension Center, Peek conducted research in many areas of tobacco production, including the evaluation of burley tobacco varieties for disease resistance. Peek has received the Virginia Cooperative Extension Programming Award and has chaired multiple committees, including those for plant growth regulators and Burley Tobacco Field Day. He received a master’s degree in plant and soil science from the University of Tennessee and is a member of several organizations, including the National Association of County Agricultural Agents and the American Society of Agronomy.




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