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Thomas G. Zinn began his career with the Extension Service in 1962 as a County Extension Agent for Columbia County. In 1965, he was transferred to Gilliam County. From 1970 to 1975, Zinn took a leave of absence in order to serve as a Wheat Specialist in Ankara, Turkey, as a part of a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) team that was assisting with the improvement of Turkish wheat crop yields. Continuing his leave after returning to America, Zinn earned a Master’s degree in Cereal Production.

Upon returning to the Extension Service, Zinn was relocated to Wasco County and served as the Extension Agent focusing on livestock and crops. In 1980, Zinn moved to Corvallis, Oregon to become a Supervisor within the Extension Service. During a reorganization of the Extension Service in 1982, Zinn was made an Associate Director. In 1993, Zinn retired from the Extension Service with an Emeritus appointment.

Tom Zinn was born in 1933 in Klamath Falls, Oregon. He earned a B.S. in Animal Husbandry from Oregon State College (1956) and a M.S. in Cereal Production from Oregon State University (1978). After earning his Bachelor’s Degree, Zinn toured Iran as one of Oregon’s International Farm Youth Exchange (IFYE) delegates.

Prior to joining the Extension Service, Zinn served as an Army Food Inspector and held a position with the Weyerhaeuser Company. While working at Weyerhaeuser, he met his future wife, Lydia. They married in 1960.