Tag Archives: Extension

Years of service award winners recognized

A number of our outstanding faculty and staff members were recently recognized for their many years at Virginia Tech at the 2016 Annual Service Recognition Program.

Ann Hutchens is one of those on the list, and she has been in the college for 45 years. Hutchens’ first job here was with Virginia Cooperative Extension in the Chemical, Drug, and Pesticide Unit, in what was then called the Extension Division. She has held different titles over the years and is currently a program support technician.

Hutchens has worked in each of the three mission areas – Extension, academics, and research. She has seen office technology evolve from the earliest version of an electronic typewriter, mimeograph machines, and dictation machines bigger than iPads, to how things are today where everyone has their own phone line and there are photocopy machines instead of the mimeographs.

While she has been involved in many aspects of the college, she really enjoys her current work in Latham Hall and working so closely with the research area. Hutchens enjoys being able to see what students and researchers are working on in the lab and how it will be used in the future. 

More than 780 employees were recognized earlier this year with over 13,890 years of service to Virginia Tech. We thank everyone who was recognized at the program for their hard work and dedication over all these years. 

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Calling all award winners

The Office of Communications and Marketing will again this year produce a brochure acknowledging the awards and recognitions received by the employees of the college and Virginia Cooperative Extension. The brochure will be distributed at the Annual Faculty and Staff Picnic on August 10, 2016.

Representatives for each department and district will soon receive an email with specifics and a deadline for submission, but now would be a great time for staff and faculty members to start gathering the information we need.

Please list only those awards received during the period of July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016.

We need the following info about each award:

  1. Full name of the employee. If it is a team award, include the names of all team members.
  2. Employee’s department (CALS) or district (VCE).
  3. Complete name of award. If applicable, include whether it is a district, state, regional, national, or international award.
  4. If it is a calendar year award, is the award for 2015 or 2016?
  5. Full name of awarding organization or agency.
  6. The date the award was received (not when it was announced).

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Bobbi Hoffman.

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Save the date: 2016 Patrick County Beef Conference with Temple Grandin

Make sure to mark your calendars for July 28 – you don’t want to miss this!

The 2016 Patrick County Beef Conference is coming up later this summer in Patrick Springs, Virginia, and registration is open.

This year’s speakers include:

  • Temple Grandin, animal science professor and internationally known livestock handling expert;
  • Robert Gentry, doctor of veterinary medicine at Multimin USA;
  • Mary Tomlinson, doctor of veterinary medicine at Healing Springs Large Animal Clinic; and
  • Jason Carter, executive secretary for the Virginia Cattleman’s Association

Event registration is open online. If you have additional questions, contact Travis Bunn.

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Call for nominations for Andy Swiger Award

The CALS Andy Swiger Land-Grant Award recognizes faculty whose creative accomplishments help fulfill the Land-Grant mission of addressing state and national needs through teaching, research, and extension.

This award is made possible by an endowment established in honor of former Dean Andy Swiger. The award includes $2,000, plus an additional $2,000 in operating funds for the winner.

All full- and part-time, regular and restricted appointments, academic- and calendar-year faculty with teaching, research, or Extension appointments (including Extension agents) in the college are eligible.

A committee of faculty and agribusiness representatives will review nominations. The winner will be selected based on his or her creative accomplishments and impacts.

Nomination Guidelines

Please include a copy of the nominee’s CV. The nomination letter should be no more than five pages and include a:

  • Description of the nominee’s activities that emphasizes creative accomplishments in applied or basic research, teaching, and extension.
  • Description of the impact that the nominee has made toward solving practical problems and how this impact has enhanced production and profit in the industry.
  • Clear identification of the time period and who has benefited from the nominee’s accomplishments.
  • Short summary of the nominee’s education, experience, and responsibilities.

Colleagues, department heads, staff, or members of the community who are familiar with the nominee’s work are encouraged to submit nomination letters. You can resubmit an updated nomination letter for a previous year’s nominee.

A certificate will be presented to the selected individual. The award winner will be recognized during the CALS faculty and staff picnic in early August.

Each nominee will be considered by the award committee for two additional years, if not selected the first year of consideration, for a total of three years.

Please send a copy of the CV and nomination letter and direct questions to Robin Williams. All nominations must be received by June 3, 2016.

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Graduate Extension Scholars program reaches peek and is in full bloom

What’s all the buzz about? The Graduate Extension Scholars program, of course! The GES program, led by Hannah Scherer in the Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education, is designed to increase graduate student capacity for engaging with stakeholders to develop high-quality educational programs for youth; encourage partnerships between researchers, secondary schools, and communities in Virginia; and expand youth awareness of and interest in STEM research opportunities in agriculture.

The program is currently operating in its second year, hosting four graduate students with various backgrounds. Each of the teams work closely together to develop and implement curriculum modules that highlight the specific research interest of the scholar.

From left to right: Andrew Weaver, Sarah McKay, Robert Bass, and Michael Barrowclough

From left to right: Andrew Weaver, Sarah McKay, Robert Bass, and Michael Barrowclough

This year, a dynamic group of scholars traveled throughout the state of Virginia, making stops in Appomattox, Charlotte, Washington, and Augusta counties and Richmond city. Andrew Weaver, a Master’s student within the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences has worked closely with Edward McCann and Darla Marks in Appomattox and Charlotte counties, focusing his curriculum module on small ruminant parasite management. Utilizing lambs as the small ruminant teaching model, this module discusses in detail parasite biology and life cycles, highlights economic impacts from parasites in small ruminants, and management of parasites. The module wraps up with a lamb carcass evaluation.

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Dave Close receives alumni award for excellence in Extension

Dave CloseDavid Close, consumer horticulture specialist and Virginia Cooperative Extension state master gardener coordinator, has received the 2016 Alumni Award for Excellence in Extension.

Sponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Excellence in Extension is presented annually to two Virginia Cooperative Extension faculty members who have made outstanding contributions to the land-grant mission of the university. One award goes to an Extension specialist and the other is given to an Extension agent. Each award winner receives $2,000.

Since assuming the position in 2004, Close has developed several resources to improve the work the Extension master gardener can accomplish.

He worked directly with the Virginia Master Gardener Association  and the College of Agriculture and LIfe Sciences development office to establish the State Master Gardener Coordinator’s Endowment as a means to solve the persistent lack of stable funding for the state master gardener coordinator position. The endowment has a goal of $1 million and is currently at more than $500,000.

See the full story on Virginia Tech News.

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Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition upcoming trainings

Save the date for two upcoming Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program spring in-service trainings.  

May 16: Farm Transfer Strategies and Networking professional development training

As an initiative of the land access group, the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition will be holding a Farm Transfer Strategies and Networking professional development training for Virginia Cooperative Extension professionals, non-profit organizers, and service providers on May 16 at the Virginia Farm Bureau Building in Richmond, Virginia. The time frame for the training is approximately 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. with lunch provided. This training features Kathy Ruhf of Land For Good, a nationally recognized leader in farm entry, succession, and tenure. The training will also include coalition partner resources and the expertise of Andrew Branan, a regional voice in farm legal and tax issues, particularly those surrounding transfer of the family farm.

May 17: Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition statewide gathering  

The Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition will be holding our spring coalition meeting in Richmond, as a follow up to the Farm Transfer Strategies and Networking training. This half-day, statewide gathering is an opportunity for coalition partners to network, share resources, and learn about this past year’s work, including: whole farm planning programming; mini-grant initiatives; and many of our action team projects that coalition partners are leading across Virginia. New Extension agents are encouraged to attend. Lunch and travel accommodations will be available.

Accommodations will be available for those individuals who will be attending both events and require lodging.

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Congratulations to our VAAEA poster contest and communication award winners

We would like to congratulate our 2016 VAAEA poster contest and communications award state winners. We have remarkable work being conducted across the state, so let’s keep working hard to make Virginia Cooperative Extension a household name!

Poster contest winners:

  • Extension education: Central Virginia agriculture spotlight brings the farm to readers
    Author: Laura Siegle 
  • Applied research: Establishing FSMA water quality profiles
    Author: Theresa Long

Communication award winners:

  • Audio recording: Laura Siegle
  • Program promotional piece: Theresa Long
  • Personal column: Laura Siegle
  • Feature story: Laura Siegle
  • Video presentation: Laura Siegle
  • Fact sheet: Laura Siegle
  • Web page: Laura Siegle
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Inside the ARECS: Seafood AREC

Inside the ARECs: Seafood AREC, Spanish publicationThe Agricultural Research and Extension Centers are a network of 11 centers located throughout the state that emphasize the close working relationship between the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station and Virginia Cooperative Extension. “Inside the ARECs” highlights the work and accomplishments of these 11 centers and will appear in every Insights.

Virginia’s seafood industry is characterized by succulent and diverse fruits de mer. But behind the gastronomic delicacies is also a nimble industry that meets the demands of consumers in not only production, but also safety. Core research and extension programs at the Virginia Seafood AREC focus on seafood safety; seafood quality of wild caught and cultured animals and products; business and marketing support for the commercial and aquaculture industries, engineering, thermal processing, intensive saltwater recirculating aquaculture; and education/outreach for industry and consumers.

The Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center is an important partner in ensuring that seafood is processed safely in the commonwealth. The AREC offers food safety training to employees of commercial seafood processors. The training follows the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points guidelines, recognized through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which are a worldwide standard for commercial food processing. Employee training is critical to make certain that standards are met.

The center also offers a unique service to the industry in Spanish language training, which helps ensure that employees are able to understand the importance of food safety in the processing operations.

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Homegrown southern hospitality: Virginia agriculture agents shine bright

On March 16, 2016, members of the Virginia Agriculture Association of Extension Agents convened from all parts of the commonwealth to welcome the National Association of County Agriculture Agents Board members and their spouses to the 2016 Spring Board meeting in our home state of Virginia. The 2016 NACAA Spring Board meeting is one unlike any other meeting for several reasons. First, as this is the last meeting held prior to the annual meeting and professional improvement conference, it is a great opportunity for business and fellowship. Secondly, it allows the NACAA president to choose a host state in the country. We are proud that our current president is Cynthia Gregg, the agriculture and natural resources Extension agent for Brunswick County. With that said, it is natural and humbling that she selected Virginia as the showcase state.

The meeting was held at Renwood Farms in Charles City, Virginia. Renwood Farms is owned by David, John, and Jeff Hula, third generation producers who started their seed business in 1937. At Renwood Farms, the Hula’s continue the long tradition of providing high-quality cereal and soybean seed to the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern farming communities. The environment of Renwood Farms is one of sincerity and humility as they continue to produce a variety of wheat, soybean, barley, and oat seeds in addition to wheat seed varieties, seed treatments, and inoculants. 

The tour stops for the meeting were Montague Farms, a tofu and edible soybeans exporter located in Windsor, Virginia; Felt’s Hams in Ivor, Virginia, which cures pork products for the retail market; and Wakefield Peanut Company, where seed peanuts are bagged and shipped to local growers. The meeting concluded in Williamsburg, where we had dinner at Renwood Farms in Charles City, Virginia. This farm is the home of the Hula Family, and David Hula was the National Corn Yield Champion in 2015 with a yield of 532 bushels per acre. The delicious meal was prepared by Virginia Agriculture Extension Agents. 

– Brittany Council

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