Earl Allen has been serving University of Illinois Extension since 2005, currently in the role of County Extension Director for the Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit. He was born and raised near Delavan, Illinois and earned a bachelor of science degree in 1983 from the University of Illinois majoring in agronomy. He received his master of science degree in 1987 and his Ph.D. in 1991 both from Texas A&M University majoring in soil science.
In 1991, Earl moved his family from Texas to Oklahoma where he served as a professor and state Extension Specialist for the Agronomy Department of Oklahoma State University. His specialization was soil fertility and environmental management. He also served as Director of the OSU Soil, Water, & Forage Analytical Laboratory.
After five years of Extension programming and applied research in Oklahoma, Earl acquired a NASA Small Business Innovation Research Contract in cooperation with a Colorado technology firm and moved his family back to Illinois to launch an agricultural research and commercialization business in Mason City. The purpose of the research contract was to commercialize patented slow-release fertilizer technology he co-invented through his Ph.D. research with NASA Johnson Space Center. From 1995-2005, Earl managed his research business and also partnered with two of his brothers in their family farming operation in Tazewell and Logan counties.
In July 2005, Earl joined the University of Illinois Extension team as the Woodford County Extension Director. After two enjoyable years in Eureka, Earl accepted a transfer to Fulton County as their County Extension Director in Lewistown. In late 2010, he assumed his current duties as multi-county unit director over Fulton, Mason, Peoria and Tazewell Counties. On the side, Earl continues his participation in operating the family farm.