Buelon R. Moss, known as Pete, quietly began his Extension career soon after accepting an Animal Science teaching-research position at Montana State University (MSU). Shortly after his arrival, he was asked to take on a limited Extension appointment to oversee a weak dairy program. Little did he imagine the impact that decision would make on his work and life. MSU folks said the dairy industry would not request much; the dairy people had not asked because they were not offered much! Moss enjoyed the multifaceted position, meeting people and helping with their needs which meant long hours but gave him a better insight into the state’s needs. The “off campus” Extension work strengthened his research and instruction which in turn helped the state’s dairy industry. Thereafter, his career was entwined with his passion for teaching producers, students, co-workers and others-all who became close friends and supporters.
Moss moved up the ranks from assistant professor to full professor at MSU before relocating to Auburn University (AU) in 1983 as the Dairy Extension Specialist and Professor, the first Extension person granted academic rank at AU. He worked extensively with Alabama’s dairy industry, but was also involved with research and as major professor of graduate students.
Moss’s broad experience and academic rank led to appointment on AU’s Promotion and Tenure Committee (P&T) in 1988-93. This required evaluating dossiers of all AU faculty requesting P-T, but the first year focused on determining the initial rank and tenure of Extension specialists. This was a pivotal moment for Extension and AU as well as a challenge for him. P&T members were unfamiliar with Extension programs and some opposed academic rank for any Specialists. That attitude changed with patience, diplomacy and diligent reviews.
In 1998, Moss was awarded a 6-month JFK-Fullbright Award for him and his wife to live and work in Thailand. The multifaceted program that he conducted was similar to his AU work in that it included dairy “Extension programs” as well as teaching, presentations and research.
Upon his retirement in 2003, he and his wife relocated to the Glasgow, KY home farm where they regularly host family functions and friends. Reflecting on his time with Extension, Moss mentions many people who influenced him personally, professionally and spiritually. “My parents, wife and older brothers must be given top priority for their mentoring in Christian faith, integrity, respect for others, work ethic and meeting challenges and life in general,” Moss said.
In “retirement”, he conducted extensive international consulting in China and Vietnam from ‘03-13 with presentations, on-farm recommendations and other work. He also developed and coordinated topics and speakers for 4-7 large educational programs yearly from ‘06-15 for the Southern States Cooperative. He was honored and humbled to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from Berea College in 2008 based on his life’s work. The farm operation is leased out, but he enjoys gardening and working with his wife, puttering about on the farm and is active as an elder and Sunday School teacher at their local church. They visit their two daughters in CA whenever they can, enjoy having one daughter living nearby and catch up with the six grandchildren and six great grandchildren whenever possible. Their health is mighty good despite a few issues! They think often of friends in Auburn and throughout Alabama, especially when watching AU football games. “So, life is good! War Eagle!” Moss says.