Dennis Peterson, a Baldwin County native, is a proud member of the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service (ACES) family. His remarkable 26 years’ service, while shaping the lives of 4-H members, also earned him the title of Life Member.
Peterson began his career in Dale County as an assistant county agent, where his main duties were with 4-H and field crops. After a few years, he transferred to Mobile County where he still worked with 4-H. Peterson then transferred to Butler County where he served as county coordinator for four years. After that, he returned home to his native Baldwin County where he continued to work with 4-H, forestry and field crops before retiring in 1999.
When asked about any advice he received and would give to a young agent today he says, “Always listen to the people you serve and continue your education throughout your career.”
Peterson did just this when he went back to Auburn University to receive his M.S. after serving in the U.S. Army. “A friend of mine was working in Extension when I got out of the Army in 1972 and he suggested I apply,” Peterson said.
Peterson had many mentors growing up. His most memorable one was his grammar school teacher/principal who was an Auburn graduate and constantly encouraged him throughout high school, college and his career.
When reflecting over the years, he said the most memorable scientific change was the use of computers during his career. He said they made a big difference.
Since retirement in 1999, Peterson has worked with Alabama Agricultural Statistics Service, a golf course and is now a full-time grandparent. He and his wife Mollie have 10 grandchildren. Between traveling or doing volunteer work, they spend their time with the grandchildren or their pets.