Carroll Preston Culbertson
If it were possible to have been everywhere and done everything, Culbertson probably would have.
While specializing in row crops early in his county agent career, Culbertson applied his skills to almost everything in agriculture: row crops, fruit crops, horticulture, beef cattle, integrated pest management — you name it.
Beginning his Clemson Extension career in 1976 as an assistant county agent in Abbeville County, he continued that work in Greenwood County (1979-87), Union County (1989-93) and then as a multi-county director for Abbeville, McCormick and Anderson counties (1993-98), adding Oconee and Pickens counties to the mix in 1995.
Ultimately he would be responsible for administration of 22 counties in the Upstate. At his retirement in 2010, Culbertson was a special assistant to the vice president, where his work included oversight of grants, contracts and finances.
“He would go to extraordinary lengths for the programs he believes in,” said Laurens County Extension agent Bryan Smith. “He always made sure the solution he provided his clients were in keeping with their means. He made sure they had the resources to utilize the solutions he gave them.”
Culbertson helped bring the popular Master Gardener program to South Carolina. Now in 29 counties, the Master Gardener program provides intensive, practical horticultural training to volunteers who then share their knowledge and skills with others.
“His people skills were amazing,” said retired Extension Chief Operating Officer Fran Wolak. “He was rough and tough but he could also be gentle — and somehow he could be all three at the same time.”
In addition to active membership in the state and national associations of county agricultural agents, Culbertson was a working member of the Angus Cattle Association, the Hereford Cattlemen’s Association, the S.C. Grange Hall Association and a board member of the Association of Fairs, the Farm Bureau, the Upper Savannah Land Trust and the S.C. Foundation Seed Association.