Craig Frey named new chief Hendry Extension agent

McAvoy names his replacement

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
LABELLE — New Hendry County Extension Agent Craig Frey stands in the doorway to his office.

IMMOKALEE — Gene McAvoy was proud on Wednesday, June 3, to introduce Craig Frey, who is more or less his replacement in Hendry County.

Mr. McAvoy, who is now the associate director for stakeholder relations with the University of Florida/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee after “retiring” last year, circulated this announcement:

Craig Frey is the new multi-county commercial horticulture Extension agent for Southwest Florida and the new county Extension director for Hendry County. (Extension is the outreach organization of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.) Mr. Frey started May 15 and begins while he is in the process of finishing his last requirements towards his Doctor of Plant Medicine degree at UF. Mr. Frey has his Bachelor’s of Science in engineering, with a concentration of mechanical engineering, from Messiah College in Grantham, Penn. He has a Master’s of Science in horticulture from the University of Florida, and plans to graduate with his DPM degree this year.

Mr. Frey has developed a broad foundation of knowledge ranging from entomology, nematology and plant pathology to plant, soil and weed sciences. Some of this comes from his studies and some from hands-on work with growers.

His work with New International took him to Zimbabwe and Mozambique, training farm mangers and extension workers, while his studies provided him the opportunity to meet with farmers and researchers throughout Taiwan. His experience at Whole Foods Market has provided him with many years of management experience, and he’s looking forward to using his array of experiences to serve Hendry County and the various stakeholders in Southwest Florida.

He is passionate about sustainable vegetable production and very eager to work in commercial vegetable extension in some of the most productive counties in Florida. He is excited to settle with his family, put down roots and invest in the agriculture community.

Hendry County Extension Director Craig Frey, will work out of the Hendry County Extension Service office at 1085 Pratt Blvd., LaBelle, 33975. He may be reached by email at, and his office phone number is 863-674-4092. To view a video introduction online, go to

Mr. McAvoy is also the Hendry County regional vegetable Extension agent IV emeritus and currently president of the National Association of County Agricultural Agent, based at the UF/IFAS SWFREC, 2685 State Road 29 N., Immokalee, 34142.

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