Three Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension personnel had a great summer as they received top awards during two statewide meetings held in July.
Extension Agent-IPM Blayne Reed received the Texas Corn Producers’ Outstanding Corn Agent award at the Texas County Agricultural Agents Association’s annual meeting on Wednesday, July 20, 2016. Reed covers Hale, Swisher and Floyd Counties.
The award honored Reed’s outstanding work in educating producers in the areas of pre-plant decisions, hybrid selection, insect management and fertility of crops. Reed also was a part of a team of agents and specialists that worked to determine economic thresholds and control measures that were specifically for the Texas High Plains.
Some of the educational events Reed conducted included presentations on water management, insect management, drift issues and IPM strategies in corn and other crops affecting his area. Post-survey results showed that Reed’s programs have helped increase producers knowledge by 36% with face-to-face programs and 79% of producers indicated in the survey said they would adopt the practices taught.
“He is a tremendous team player and assists in mentoring agents in agriculture in his three counties,” Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service North Region program director Danny Nusser said. “Blayne does an outstanding job of utilizing resources and partnering with individuals such as seed companies, chemical companies, producer associations, Extension specialists, AgriLife researchers, local businesses, consultants, and many others to make programs successful.”
Reed was very excited about the award and appreciated all the people that helped him to get where he is today.
“It is certainly a surprise and a great honor. The Texas Corn Producers is the corn producer representative organization in Texas that promotes the improvement and production of corn from IPM and agronomic standpoints but is just as active on the legislative fronts,” Reed said. “The Corn Producers are one of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s key cooperating commodity partners in the field for the improvement and protection of corn production and other crops for our joint customer base.”
Extension Agent – IPM Kerry Siders also received the Outstanding Grain Sorghum Agent Award from the Texas Grain Sorghum Producers Association during the meeting for his hard work and dedication in educating producers about pests and other issues with sorghum crops.
Siders was instrumental in helping producers raise awareness and educate sorghum producers about sugarcane aphids, pest management, as well as sorghum production issues. He has produced 28 radio program presentations, 22 newsletter articles related to sorghum issues, and conducted 13 producer meetings.
“Because of these efforts of Kerry Siders and his committee, Extension programs are making a difference in sorghum education for producers and increasing opportunities to improve their economic bottom line,” Nusser said. “Kerry does an outstanding job with Extension specialists, AgriLife researchers, local businesses, consultants, and many others to make programs successful.”
“It is great to receive any award in Extension. Sometimes the “thank you” and an occasional award is what lets us know we are appreciated and needed by our clientele. I consider myself a “cotton agent” but I service many other crops and clientele needs,” Siders said. “Sorghum is an important commodity in my service area. Production issues we have addressed through the years, and then particularly last year with the advent of the sugarcane aphid, have been made simply to help grain producers be productive and sustainable. I think this recognition really speaks to the team effort of our Entomologists on the High Plains.”
Texas AgriLife Research professor M.O. Way was honored with the 2016 Honorary Lone Star FFA Degree during the statewide FFA Convention on July 11-15.
Way received the award for his work on coordinating the Texas Rice Education Contest that is held annually at the Rice Festival in Beaumont for youths active in either 4-H club or FFA chapter.
For nine years, Way had been working the contest. During the contest, youths take a comprehensive written test that covers topics such as rice plant identification, pests, management, and weeds.
Way said the contest is a tool to teach youths on rice and rice production in the state with an emphasis on science and math, as well as agriculture.
“I am really honored about receiving the award,” Way said. “It’s all about the kids and trying to get them interested in entomology and other STEM disciplines. Some of the winners have gone on to A&M and other good universities and majored in ag-related subjects.”