JAY — The flat lands that used to grow cotton around Mickey Diamond's farm are picked clean. The only thing that breaks up the cold brown landscape is the rows of cars lining his long driveway. All these trucks and cars brought about 100 local farmers to say thank you to Mike Donahoe.

Donahoe has retired as the county extension director of the UF/IFAS Extension after serving Santa Rosa County and countless farmers for 42 years. That help is appreciated as evident by the number of farmers who organized a fish fry for their friend and presented him with a gift of appreciation — a new shotgun.

Donahoe, who received his Masters degree in Entomology in 1976 from Mississippi State University, concentrated on the following issues during his time with the Extension.

Agronomic Crop Production - providing educational programming to 594 producers who manage over 65,000 acres of cotton, peanuts, soybeans, corn, small grains, and pasture. Program emphasis includes cotton production and marketing, integrated pest management, and pesticide applicator training.

Agricultural Awareness - providing educational programming for residents, business leaders, and government officials to increase their knowledge and awareness of agriculture’s impact in the county. 

As the County Extension Director he provided leadership for six agents and six support staff and managed the administrative affairs of the Santa Rosa County Extension Office at three office facilities.

The work he was most proud of was with the farmers.

"I'm most proud of just working with this group of farmers in Santa Rosa county," he said.

Donahoe said he will stay in the area. For now, his plans include helping around the house and eventually he will get back out to meeting with the farmers and friends he has made during his long career.