Committed to helping farmers see success, Dorough cherishes the relationships and the victories he experiences throughout his work as an agent.
“Part of the job is going out and finding the research and the data to help them (farmers) make a change,” Dorough states. “When they come back and share with you, ‘hey you made a difference,’ that’s the most special part.”
Dorough, and extension agents alike, not only make a difference agriculturally but financially as well.
“They need answers that will have a potential impact on the bottom line of their sustainable operations,” Dorough says. “We offer those real-life solutions that change people’s lives.”
Growing up a Navy brat, Dorough was rarely exposed to extension work. He credits his college professors for sparking his interest in the field he now makes a career out of.
“As an undergraduate, a couple of my professors, who were extension specialists, turned me on to some of the work they were doing,” Dorough says.
Dorough explains how his professors gave him “special assignments” that provided him with hands-on experience and valuable learning opportunities.
“They would take questions they received from farmers across the state and give them to me,” Dorough says. “They would ask me to write it up for them, get them the solution and what answer should go to the farmer.”
Graduating with a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science degree from Auburn University, Dorough began his extension career as a county agent in Calhoun County.
After serving there for eight years, he transitioned to Talladega County where he served as its county agent before moving to a regional animal science and forages agent position.
Working specifically in animal science, Dorough considers that his area of expertise, along with forage production. He has a special interest, though, in one particular area, sheep and goats.
“One of my goals in life was to have a farm,” Dorough states. “I didn’t now exactly what I was going to get into with farming. It just evolved and we ended up raising sheep.”
In his spare time, Dorough sells whole lambs farm to table, building a market base across the state by customer word of mouth.
“Having that background, doing it myself builds credibility with my extension clientele, especially with people that are new to extension,” Dorough says.
Both his personal and professional experience helps Dorough guide farmers on tending and maintaining these small animals.
“My farm always seems to tie into my job in some standpoint,” Dorough states. “I have real world experience I can share with people.”
When Dorough is not working or farming, you can find him with a wearing a backpack hiking with three of his closest friends.
With two treks planned per year, Dorough and his companions have set out to section hike the Appalachian Trail.
“We just decided one day, ‘let’s go do it’,” Dorough states. “Let’s just start at the southern end and start moving our way north and see how far we get in the rest of our life.”
Dubbed “Three Men and a Yankee,” the group is made up of past and current extension agents from Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Michigan, each member being a former president of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents.
“It’s fun, four of us, four different states,” Dorough says. “I will be retired and probably in my 70s before I finish the trail but I plan on doing it.”
Driven and dedicated, Dorough has worked to educate, cultivate and encourage farmers, all through his work as an extension agent.
“I have enjoyed every minute of my career, Dorough says. “I found my place and I enjoy it.”
For more information on Dorough or the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, click here.