Tag Archives: AAE

VALOR selected for national award

The Virginia Agriculture Leaders Obtaining Results program received the 2015 National Association of Agricultural Educators Outstanding Postsecondary/Adult Agricultural Education Program Award.

The award was presented at the National Association of Agricultural Educators annual convention in New Orleans on Nov. 18. VALOR is one of only four programs nationwide that received the 2015 award.

The Virginia Agriculture Leaders Obtaining Results program was one of four education programs to receive the 2015 National Association of Agricultural Educators Outstanding Postsecondary/Adult Agricultural Education Program Award. Megan Siebel, right, director of the program, is pictured with the other winners (from left) Brydon Kaster, Craig Grisham, and Bert Bodiford.

The Virginia Agriculture Leaders Obtaining Results program was one of four education programs to receive the 2015 National Association of Agricultural Educators Outstanding Postsecondary/Adult Agricultural Education Program Award. Megan Siebel, right, director of the program, is pictured with the other winners (from left) Brydon Kaster, Craig Grisham, and Bert Bodiford.

The program is a two-year fellowship for adults working in agriculture who want to develop their communication, problem solving, and critical thinking skills, in addition to broadening their knowledge of global and local agriculture. The mission of Virginia Agriculture Leaders Obtaining Results is to develop leaders who can effectively engage all segments of the Virginia agriculture community to create collaborative solutions and promote agriculture.

The program is housed in the Department of Agricultural and Extension Education and receives funding from participant fees, the college, and Virginia Cooperative Extension, as well as from philanthropy from individual donors, industry organizations and, agribusinesses. Its success stems from raising participants’ awareness of the diversity and profitability of agriculture in Virginia.

Each of the four regional Outstanding Postsecondary/Adult Program Award winners was recognized at the NAAE convention in New Orleans. The Outstanding Postsecondary/Adult Agricultural Education Program award is sponsored by Monsanto as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. NAAE is the professional association for agricultural educators. Its mission is “professionals providing agricultural education for the global community through visionary leadership, advocacy, and service.” The national headquarters for NAAE is located in Lexington, Kentucky.

See the full news release on Virginia Tech News.

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Two Virginia regions selected for Stronger Economies Together initiative

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development and Virginia Cooperative Extension have announced that two Virginia regions were selected for the 2015-16 Stronger Economies Together initiative. The Eastern Shore, — consisting of Accomack and Northampton counties and Tangier Island — and the Mount Rogers Planning District — made up of Bland, Carroll, Grayson, Smyth, Washington, and Wythe counties and the cities of Bristol and Galax — will benefit from a focused initiative to explore regional economic advantages and to formulate economic blueprints for the regions.

“The regions’ economic blueprints will strategically build on the current and emerging economic strengths,” said Basil Gooden, state director of USDA Rural Development for Virginia. “Both Virginia regions have tremendous potential for economic growth. The SET planning process will facilitate key discussions resulting in a high-quality economic plan that works in partnership with the great natural resources of both areas.”

The Eastern Shore and the Mount Rogers Planning District were selected from among seven regions that submitted applications earlier this year. They will join 21 other regions across 13 states that were selected for SET in 2015.

Continue reading

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George Norton wins lifetime achievement award

In March, George Norton, professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, was awarded the International IPM Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Norton’s research built the tools to measure the benefits to consumers,” the award announcement stated. His work shows the economic benefits that result when farmers replace indiscriminate pesticide use with IPM practices.

Congratulations!

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Frenda Haynie — May Employee of the Month

Frenda Haynie, undergraduate coordinator and academic adviser in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, has been selected as the employee of the month for May.

Frenda Haynie, May Employee of the Month

From left: Steve Blank, department head; Kurt Stephenson, professor; Frenda Haynie; Alan Grant, dean.

Frenda’s nominator praised her knowledge, professionalism, and positive attitude, noting that Frenda “has helped transform our undergraduate advising and improve our overall undergraduate program.” Frenda has helped increase the quantity and quality of communication with academic advisers in other departments and has wonderful rapport with students. She works hard to make the department better and makes proactive suggestions on how to improve the program. Frenda routinely offers assistance beyond what is outlined in her job description to help faculty and staff.

Because of her positive attitude and can-do spirit, faculty members who have unusual problems or special requests will come to Frenda first.

Most notably, her nominator points out that she demonstrates the highest levels of professionalism and service in her job, and her impact is obvious in the department.

Congratulations Frenda!

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Economic conditions may trump genetics when battling obesity

In a first of its kind study that shows environmental conditions can be more influential than genetics, Virginia Tech researchers have found that the cost of food  — not someone’s genetic makeup — is a major factor in eating fattening food.

The study, which was recently published in The Open Neuroendocrinology Journal, suggests that economic environments could be altered to help counteract the obesity epidemic plaguing more than one-third of Americans.

In the U.S. over the last 30 years, the price of fattening food has declined compared to healthy food, while obesity rates increased. This research suggests that if fattening foods cost more or were taxed, people would be less likely to eat them.

“This study shows that the current low costs of high-fat foods only exacerbates the obesity epidemic, even among those individuals who might not otherwise be prone to obesity, ” said George Davis, a professor of agricultural and applied economics and health, nutrition, foods and exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The full article is available on VT News.

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Ruth Lytton recognized for work in financial planning

Ruth Lytton, professor of financial planning in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, recently received the 2012 Heart of Financial Planning Award.

A faculty member in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics since 2006, Lytton was recognized for her work with the Financial Planning Program at the university, which prepares students for careers as financial advisors. She also serves as the university’s director for the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc., which grants and upholds the CFP certification as the recognized standard of excellence for personal financial planning.

The full article is at VT News.

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Inaugural VALOR fellows participate in first seminar

VALOR inaugural class

VALOR fellows, from left: Ben Grove, Jim Hilleary, Matt Hickey, Dana Fisher, Andrew Smith, Teresa Lindberg, CJ Isbell, Ian Heatwole, Hunter Richardson, Ken Ryan, and Roger Elkins.

The inaugural fellows of the Virginia Agriculture Leaders Obtaining results (VALOR) program participated in their first of 12 seminars in September in Blacksburg, kicking off the beginning of a two-year journey through leadership development, team building, advocacy training, exploration of industry issues, and stakeholder networking.  The program’s eleven members were chosen Continue reading

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Extension welcomes new employees

Caitlin Miller joined the Prince Edward Extension Office on September 25 as the new Family and Consumer Sciences Agent. This position will focus on continuing to establish and build a thriving local food system. Caitlin received her bachelors from Virginia Tech in crop and soil environmental science with a minor in civic agriculture and food systems. During her time at Virginia Tech, she participated in two study abroad programs in Honduras. With her diversified work experience she has an understanding of how a flourishing local food system can enrich a community and is looking forward to building support and lasting partnerships among the producers, residents, businesses, and institutions of Prince Edward County and the surrounding regions. Caitlin can be reached at 434-392-4246 or cgracem@vt.edu.

Laura Siegle joined the Amelia County staff on September 10 as the Extension Agent in agriculture and natural resources. She earned two bachelors degrees from Virginia Tech — one in animal and poultry sciences and the other in dairy science.  She also earned her masters in career and technical education-agricultural education from Virginia Tech. Her education is matched by the time spent managing and working on farms. Throughout her time in school, she worked with cattle, sheep, goats, horses, and hay crops and assisted with numerous 4-H events. Prior to joining Virginia Cooperative Extension, she was working as an agricultural technician at Southern Piedmont AREC. She can be reached at  804-561-2481 or laurab08@vt.edu.

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Record number of incoming students

The start of a new semester brings new opportunities. A record number of first-year students joined the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in the fall of 2012. Our incoming class is almost 500 first-year students. The exact and official count will not be determined until the second week of classes. Joining the newest Hokies are 128 transfer students and 72 students in the Agricultural Technology Program. This is also a new record number of students for the AT program.

To help prepare our new students for their first day of classes, the College Ambassadors held a welcome social and information session on August 26 at Litton-Reaves Hall. This was the sixth year for the event and was attended by a record 235 new students! The students had an opportunity to mingle with upperclassmen and several faculty members and to play a game of corn hole. The gathering was followed by a Q&A panel in the main auditorium. You can read more about the event and the Class of 2016 on the CALS website.


First year experience course

The college first year experience course is being offered for the second time in the fall semester. The course is comprised of students and faculty members from:

  • Agricultural and Extension Education
  • Animal and Poultry Sciences
  • Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences
  • Food Science and Technology
  • Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise
  • Life Sciences – undecided

We have 22 students from the college who have volunteered to serve as peer leaders for the FYE course. Biochemistry and AAE offer their own FYE courses for their majors.


Fall Semester Kickoff Picnic

Mark your calendars now for the Fall Semester Kickoff Picnic and a diversity roundtable discussion on Wednesday, September 5 starting at 4 p.m. in the Ag Quad.  All faculty, staff, and students are invited to enjoy dinner, learn more about the 30+ organizations in the college, and participate in the diversity discussion.

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Gordon Groover — 2012 Andy Swiger Land-Grant Award

Gordon Groover, an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, was recently awarded the 2012 Andy Swiger Land-Grant Award.

Each year, the Andy Swiger Land-Grant Award is given to a College of Agriculture and Life Sciences faculty member for his or her creative accomplishments in research, teaching, or extension. The award, which recognizes those who solve practical problems and enhance agricultural profit and production, was made possible by an endowment established in honor of former Dean Andy Swiger.

Groover has been a faculty member at Virginia Tech since 1983 and prior to this position, he served for four years as a Virginia Cooperative Extension agent. In his current role, Groover supports Virginia rural landowners and farmers, provides leadership to Virginia’s emerging farm business needs, and educates extension agents, farmers, policy makers, and governmental personnel. Continue reading

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