Puthoff joins OSU Extension Office


By Melanie Speicher

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SIDNEY — Rylee Kay Puthoff grew up with an appreciation of farm life and all that goes with it including protecting it for future generations. She’s taken that love of nature and turned it into her career. She was recently hired as the newest member of the Ohio State Extension Office for Shelby County as its Ag and Natural Resources agent.

“I grew up on a hobby farm which is my grandfather’s farm,” said Puthoff. “My parents and two siblings moved in when my grandma died to help him with the farm.”

From the time she was old enough, Puthoff, 21, has shown animals with 4-H and then FFA when she got to high school at Miami East High School.

“I showed all animal projects except cattle,” said Puthoff. She was also a member of the Miami County Junior Fair Board, where she served as treasurer.

She graduated from Miami East with an associate’s degree from Edison. She then graduated from Wilmington College with an agronomy major and a minor in sustainability. She will begin her master’s degree in the fall with Ohio State University in plant health management.

“I thought I would major in ag business,” said Puthoff of her first career goals. “I traveled internationally as a youth. But then I took an economics class and changed my major.”

So Puthoff instead focused on soil health during her college years. This also included looking at erosion prevention and how it affects communities, especially how it’s related to farmers and their land.

At first, Puthoff thought she’d take her knowledge to the Peace Corps and travel throughout the world to help with soil health. But those plans fell through and she started to look for different employment.

“I want to make a difference in people’s lives,” said Puthoff. “And it will to the people who reach out to me and ask for help.”

Puthoff thought she’d stay in the Wilmington area after graduation. But after three months — and no job — she began looking outside the area for employment.

“Then one day, the job in Shelby County popped up,” said Puthoff. “Then three people sent it to me. It was withing 15 minutes of my parent’s home and it just felt right.”

Puthoff is currently working on goals for her new job.

“I want to be a resource to the community whether it’s farmers or gardeners,” said Puthoff. “If they ask a question, and I don’t have the knowledge to answer them, I’ll find someone who does know.”

For the time being, Puthoff has moved back to the family farm with her parents.

“They’re happy to have me closer to home,” said Puthoff. She has an older sibling in college and a younger sibling attending Upper Valley Career Center in Piqua.

“Because I had an associate’s degree from Edison, I was able to graduate from college in 2 1/2 years,” said Puthoff. “I’ve been mistaken for an FFA student at a meeting.”

An open house will be held Thursday, April 25, from 4-6 p.m. at the extension office so Puthoff can introduce herself to the community.

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