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Temp job turns into 27-year career for Davis

Battle Lake native Beth Davis will be retiring from her 27-year career with the USDA Farm Service Agency on July 31. An open house in her honor is set for Tuesday, July 30 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the FSA office in Detroit Lakes. VICKI GERDES/TRIBUNE

When Beth Davis first took a job with the USDA’s Agricultural Stabilization & Conservation Service (ASCS) office in Center, N.D., 27 years ago, it was only supposed to be for three weeks.

She’s been with the agency ever since. Over the years, the Battle Lake native has seen the ASCS evolve into the Farm Service Agency (FSA), and from hand-written reports to computerized ones.

She’s even switched from the Center, N.D., FSA office to the one in Detroit Lakes, where she and her husband moved 17 years ago, in October 1995.

“I like to say it’s been the longest three weeks of my life,” Davis joked, then quickly added, “and the best.”

The biggest change she’s seen in her job through the years is the switch from handwritten or typed reports to computerized ones, Davis noted.  “That was a big thing,” she added.

Even though she’s truly enjoyed her job, come Wednesday, July 31, Davis will be shutting down her computer at the FSA office for the last time. After 27 years with the federal agency, she’s decided to retire.

“My husband’s retired,” she explained. “I just want to spend more time with him, go and do things, be with family.”

That family includes husband Lou, three children and seven grandchildren, who are spread out between Detroit Lakes, Albany, Minn., and Davidson, Mich. (near Flint).

“I have two wonderful grandchildren here in Detroit Lakes that I see all the time,” Davis said. “I’d like to see the others a little more, and maybe be able to go to some school functions of theirs the way I’ve been able to do for the two who live here.”

She and Lou are also planning to enjoy more of their favorite outdoor activities, such as fishing, riding bike and gardening — “mostly flowers now,” Davis said, noting that their current residence doesn’t have much room for anything else.

She’s not quite sure what they’re going to do to fill their time in the winter yet. “We like to ice fish,” she said, as well as playing cards and reading.

“Maybe we’ll take up cross country skiing too — I’m not sure yet,” Davis said with a smile.

“And my parents are getting older, so I’d like to be able to take them to the doctor when they need me, without having to take a day off work,” she added.

Besides raising her family, she has pretty much spent her entire career working with the same agency, and it’s going to be a bit of an adjustment when she doesn’t have to get up and go to work every day.

Though she plans to embrace retirement, Davis said, that doesn’t mean she won’t miss her colleagues at the FSA office, as well as the others working in the Ag Services Building — which also houses the Becker County Soil & Water Conservation Service as well as the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and Rural Development offices.

And of course, she’ll miss the farmers, many of whom have become friends over the years.

“I’ve worked in pretty much every aspect of the agency, and what I’ve enjoyed the most is the farmers,” Davis said. “I love helping them, and I love listening to their stories. That’s the best part.

“I’ve made some great friends here,” she added. “Not just my coworkers, but the farmers and people in the other offices.

“I just want to thank all the farmers I have worked with over the years,” Davis said. “I’ve enjoyed it, and I’ll miss it — and I’ll miss them too.”

Those who would like to bid Davis farewell and wish her a happy retirement are invited to come to the FSA office next Tuesday, July 30, from 1 to 4 p.m., for an open house in her honor.

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454