Renada Davis is probably best remembered for her towering home runs and clutch hits during her playing career at North Carolina State. Just a few years removed from her days prowling the infield in Raleigh, Davis now spends her days with a different kind of dirt.
Davis earned her Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Science, and she “went pro” in her chosen field, now serving as an Extension Associate for the LSU AgCenter in the Northeast Region of Louisiana. Her job includes everything from researching crop sustainability to driving a tractor at times.
“I have always loved the outdoors, whether it was on a ball field; overgrown pasture; or out on the water fishing with my family,” Davis said. “When I went to [NC State], I originally started in the zoology program… I shifted my focus from animals to plants and agriculture after switching to the Agricultural Science program… I have continued my career path in agriculture because I enjoy learning how food and fiber are produced, as well as helping farmers continue to produce in a manner that maintains environmental integrity and farmer profitability.”
A future Hall of Famer thanks to her on-field exploits at her alma mater, Davis has gained acclaim for her agricultural work since she got to the Bayou state. Several aspects of her position include working with farmers on projects while also doing work that one would stereotypically associate with the same occupation.
“I work on researching and demonstrating sustainable practices within the production of row crops, mainly cotton, corn, and soybeans,” Davis explained. “We prepare demonstration plots on the research stations in Northeast Louisiana, implementing new recommendations and best management practices.” The crops shepherded by Davis and her coworkers give a real-life example to active farmers, who can see new recommended practices in action before implementing them themselves.
“Each day brings something new,” Davis added. “I am rarely in the office unless I need to be on conference calls, have paperwork to turn in, or data to put into a project file.” Regular days in the field for her can include everything from crop work to helping repair needed farm equipment.
Now cemented into her chosen agricultural career, Davis said that she still loves what she does, and it comes with its own unique perks: “My favorite part of the job is being outside. I don’t sit still very well, especially inside, so I love that most of our days are spent working outside on various things. I also love that each day brings a new challenge. I am constantly learning and adapting to the situations that arise which helps keep things interesting!”
Even though she may have traded in her bat for farm equipment, Davis said that her career in softball influenced aspects of even her current job. “There are so many softball traits that have translated over to the workforce,” she noted. “Working with different groups of people to get tasks completed; leading when I need to but also watching and learning when necessary; working hard to accomplish the task at hand to the best of my ability;
and thinking and problem solving when working through those tasks.”
With two degrees already under her belt, Davis is currently in pursuit of yet another diploma; this one will be a Ph.D. in Plant, Environmental, and Soil Science. Even as the recent quarantine raged on, Davis and her coworkers continued their daily tasks. “Although the pandemic put the brakes on society, it didn’t stop the seasons with it,” she said.