Clark Israelsen, the Utah State University Agriculture Extension agent, is retiring on July 1st.
“There is a time to come and a time to go,” he said. “A wise man knows when it’s time to go.”
As a high school teacher for 10 years, a Bridgerland Technical College instructor for 15 years, and an ag agent for the remainder of his time, he has touched the lives of generations of people in Cache Valley.
“I had an open house the other night at the Cache County Events Center,” he said. “We shook a lot of hands. It started at 5:30 p.m. and finished at 9 p.m.”
He said agriculture crosses a lot of boundaries and touches many professions.
“I’ve crossed paths with a lot of good people over the years,” Israelsen said. “We are all connected one way or another and we need each other.”
“Agriculture is the driver of our economy,” he continued. “It generates new wealth every year, it is the driver of our economy.”
While a lot of his time has been spent with farm issues, he will probably be best known for is ability to work with people of all walks of life.
Craig Buttars, the Cache County Executive, said Clark is a man of utmost integrity.
“I’ve had the opportunity to be instructed by Clark in many different forums, from the time he was an instructor for the Farm Management Program at Bridgerland Applied Technology College, to my current responsibilities as Cache County Executive,” Buttars said. “He is a sound thinker and an excellent analyzer.”
He said Israelsen has the talent and ability to sit in a meeting and listen to all views until a decision is needed, at which time his recommendation is usually adopted.
“Among his many accomplishments he has been instrumental in introducing and developing new crops to the valley to help local farmers diversify and increase their profits,” Buttars said. “Cache County is now, and will be for the extended future, a better place to live and work because of Clark’s wisdom and insight.”
Bart Esplin, manager of the Cache County Fairgrounds, said Israelsen has been a big influence throughout his life.
“My first recollection was Clark as an ag teacher at Sky View back in the early 80’s, he would have been a fairly new teacher at that point,” Esplin said. “I know he was well liked.”
“Most of my dealings with Clark have been during my tenure at the Cache County Fairgrounds,” he said. “As a board member of the fairgrounds advisory committee, Clark has always had the interest of those that we serve in mind.”
He said, “Clark has been an outstanding influence in the community and a great friend over the years.”
Adrie Roberts, USU Associate Professor and the Cache County Extension Director, said Clark is the epitome of the ultimate Agriculture Extension Agent.
“He knows almost everyone in Cache Valley – especially the farmers in the rural areas of the county,” she said. “In an era when we are encouraged by our Administration to do more online classes and social media, Clark is still meeting one on one with his clientele.
“His truck is always a welcome site out on the country roads of our beautiful county. His advice is sought after and trusted by hundreds,” Roberts said.
“In our office, Clark always has an encouraging word, particularly about the weather,” she said. “He is famous for several quotes that are now mainstays in our own lives. And he is always the first to adjourn a meeting so he can get to work!”
County Commissioner Dave Erickson said It was 44 years ago when he knocked on our door in the summer of 1976 and introduced himself as the new Sky View High School Agriculture Instructor and Advisor to the Sky View FFA.
”He wanted to meet with us and educate us on the many possibilities and opportunities available in the program at Sky View for me as a new incoming sophomore,” Erickson said. “Over the years, I have admired his ability to work with all types of people.”
Erickson said as a leader in agriculture, Clark is so willing to set aside his own personal ambitions to help others succeed.
Many lives are better for associating themselves with Clark Israelsen, Erickson said.
Isaeralsen said there is no limit to what you can do if you surround yourself with good people.
“I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by good people that made me look good,”he said.