Rohling is new NRCS conservationist

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, June 10, 2015

0610 NRCS-Patrick

Georgia native Patrick Rohling is Natural Resource Conservation Service’s newest conservationist.

Rohling started last week, and said he’s going to be the main face at the local NRCS office.

The agency recently named Josh Elliot the district conservationist for Covington and Coffee counties, and he splits his time between the counties, which means that local farmers will mainly deal with Rohling.

Elliot replaced retired district conservationist Steve Yelverton and Rohling was added since Elliot has a two-county territory.

Rohling earned a degree in environmental science at the University of Georgia.

He said he was working on a research farm in Georgia and enjoyed it.

“A professor told me to take one of his classes,” he said. “That got me started in the College of Ag. When I thought of what I wanted to do when I grew up, that was the best fit.”

Rohling, who is married to his high school sweetheart, said when he graduated, they had one child and he needed to “bring home the bacon.”

“I started applying in state, then in the Southeast and then applying everywhere,” he said. “NRCS in Glendive, Mont., offered me a job.”

He said he had completed a few internships and worked as a gardener at Calloway Gardens before then.

Going to Montana from Athens was a culture shock for Rohling.

“I missed Southern hospitality,” he said. “By our second winter my wife told me that I had six months to get her out of there. She also wanted to be within eight hours of our hometown and be in a town with a Walmart in it.”

Rohling said that Glendive was 70 miles from the nearest McDonald’s and Walmart.

They moved to Oak Grove, La., where they stayed for two years.

A promotion in NRCS brought the family to Covington County.

“We are in the process of finding a house,” he said.

Rohling said he spent two years in the Army.

Additionally, while Georgia is his alma mater, football fans can take it easy on him because he’s not a die-hard fan.

“My family is all Georgia Tech fans,” he said. “In Georgia, if you want to do something ag-related, you have to go to UGA.”

He and his wife have three children, ages 5, 3 and 11 months.