National Association of County Agricultural Agents honors four Extension agents
Four Virginia Cooperative Extension agents received awards from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) at its annual meeting in Tulsa, Okla. in July.
Rodney Leech, agricultural and natural resources Extension agent from Highland County, and David Moore, agricultural and natural resources Extension agent from Middlesex County, received Distinguished Service Awards. The awards honor Extension agents with more than 10 years of service for excellence in the field, outstanding program development, and support and improvement of their state Extension program. Only 2 percent of agents from each state’s membership are honored annually.
Leech was recognized for his work in the area of beef cattle production and profitability, including pasture management, marketing, and production. He is actively involved in the Virginia Beef Quality Assurance Program. He also provides pesticide education and eradication of invasive weeds. Leech received his associate’s degree in agriculture from Ferrum College and his bachelor’s degree in agricultural education from Virginia Tech. He has received numerous honors and awards, including the Epsilon Sigma Phi Outstanding Achievement Award and two state-level NACAA awards for livestock production programs.
Moore was honored for his work organizing annual field days and crops conferences to share the latest research-based information on economically and environmentally sustainable crop production with more than 100 grain producers in the Middle Peninsula. He is the principal investigator for Eastern Virginia’s on-farm soybean plot work generating $40,000 in grants. Moore received his bachelor’s degree in dairy science and his master’s degree in horticulture, both from Virginia Tech. He has received many awards, including the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Excellence in Extension Award, the Mid-Atlantic Crop Advisor Program Excellence in Crop Advising Award, and the Virginia Soybean Association Research and Education Award.
In addition, Melanie Barrow, agriculture and natural resources Extension agent for Henry County/Martinsville, and Scott Jerrell, agriculture and natural resources Extension agent for Scott County, received Achievement Awards. These awards recognize agents who have served Extension for fewer than 10 years for excellence in the field, and just 1 percent of each state’s members receive the awards each year.
Barrow was recognized for her work in developing the horticulture program in her county. She works closely with clients and agents in her county and across the district, and is respected for her leadership of the Master Gardener programs, pesticide programs, and work with youth. Barrow received her bachelor’s degree in horticulture and her master’s degree in career and technical education from Virginia Tech. She has been the recipient of awards and honors such as the Epsilon Sigma Phi Less than Five Years Award and the Virginia Pesticide Control Board Outstanding Pesticide Program Award.
Jerrell was recognized for his work with area beef producers to promote and develop marketing via state programs for feeder calves and heifers. He also assists hair sheep producers with production and marketing. Jerrell works with the Master Gardener program to assist homeowners with lawn and garden questions. He received his bachelor’s degree in plant and soil sciences from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and his master’s degree in crop and soil environmental sciences from Virginia Tech. He has been the recipient of awards including the Epsilon Sigma Phi Outstanding Team Award and the Virginia Association of Agricultural Extension agents Achievement Award.
Written by Liz Guinn, communications assistant in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.