MSU Extension staff members receive NACAA awards

Many Extension educators and specialists received National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) awards at the Galaxy IV conference Sept 16‒20 in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Senior Extension educator George H. Silva received the NACAA Distinguished Service Award. The Distinguished Service Award encourages and recognizes excellence in the field of professional Extension for members with more than 10 years of service. He has won numerous NACAA Communications Awards and has been a Michigan Association of Extension Agents (MAEA) member since 1998 and served as a district director for two years. The MAEA is the Michigan affiliate of the NACAA. He plays a key role in the MAEA organizing committee that hosted the 2007 NACAA Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids and also served as a Michigan delegate.

Meat quality Extension educator Jeannine Schweihofer received the NACAA National Achievement Award. The Achievement Award encourages and recognizes excellence in the field of professional Extension for members with less than 10 years of service. Her programming involves statewide coverage for meat quality, safety and processing. She works with meat processors and livestock producers. She has led research related to local food systems that tracks beef from pasture to plate, collaborating with colleagues on animal traceability technology. Previously Jeannine served as the livestock educator assisting feedlot producers in the areas of the environment, animal well-being and management.

The MSU Beef Team was a national finalist for “Search for Excellence in Livestock Production.” The team includes Brenda Reau, assistant director of the MSU Product Center Food-Ag-Bio; Jason Rowntree, assistant professor in the Department of Animal Science; and Extension educators Gerald Lindquist, Jeannine Schweihofer, Kable Thurlow and Kevin Gould. The team took an innovative approach to educating beef producers utilizing a series of webinars held in 2011 and 2012.

Extension educator Erin Lizotte was a national finalist for a website: The website acts as a clearinghouse for all chestnut-related content produced by MSU. The site was built with collaboration from MSU professor Dennis Fulbright, Integrated Pest Management coordinator Joy Landis and communications specialist Mallory Fournier.

Extension educator Erwin (“Duke”) Elsner was a North Central regional winner for a feature story on groundhogs published in the Traverse City Record-Eagle Feb. 2, 2013. The article takes advantage of annual Groundhog Day celebrations to put a light-hearted spin on the upcoming growing season.

Extension educator Phil Tocco was a North Central regional winner for a video presentation for short video PSAs about food safety. A comprehensive marketing campaign was developed and launched in retail grocery stores. The marketing campaign included food safety messaging on shopping carts, encouraging shoppers to inquire about their food, and short YouTube videos linked via Quick Response (QR) codes at the point-of-sale locations. Phil was also a regional winner for a personal column. As a group, the MSU Vegetable Crops Team takes turns writing a monthly column in a regional publication called the “Vegetable Growers News.” Phil submitted two articles that won awards dealing with maintaining a cold chain and inspecting refrigerated produce trucks prior to loading.

Senior Extension educator Ron Goldy and Extension educators Phil Tocco, Lina Rodriguez-Salamanca and Ben Werling were North Central regional winners for a program promotional piece. They developed the Pumpkin and Watermelon Workshop flier for a workshop held Jan. 24, 2013, in Camden, designed to assist new growers of these crops ‒ particularly growers who are Amish.

Extension educator Curtis H. Talley, Jr. was a state winner for a fact sheet “Who Can Sign an Oil and Gas Lease?” The fact sheet helps the landowner know how land ownership affects oil and gas leasing signing rights. Curtis was also a state winner for an individual newsletter. The Oil and Gas Newsletter educates landowners, mineral owners and the public with an interest in understanding and negotiating oil and gas leases, the technology used in drilling wells and the rules and regulations for the oil and gas industry. Curtis won for the June 2012 and December 2012 editions.

The state-level win for the publication Carcass Composting: A Mortality Management Option for Michigan Equine Owners (E3168) was a team effort. Extension educator Thomas Guthrie and Dr. Dale Rozeboom, professor and Extension specialist in the Department of Animal Science, wrote the publication. Extension educator M. Charles Gould and Extension specialist Karen Waite reviewed it. Dr. Judy Marteniuk, associate professor in the Large Animal Clinic, was instrumental in helping with carcass composting demonstrations at the MSU Ag Expo, which led to the creation and development of the publication. The publication helps horse owners in Michigan become aware of and understand how to utilize composting for animal carcass management and helps them develop or make improvements in mortality management procedures.

1 Comment

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One response to “MSU Extension staff members receive NACAA awards

  1. lkprobyn

    It’s great to see so many MSUE educators and specialists winning state and national awards for their work. I hope that the ANR Communications team members (who are also MSUE professionals!) who contributed to some of these efforts are also appreciated to their contributions.

    Video producer Kraig Ehm and graphic artist Marian Reiter lent their creativity, time and expertise to Phil Tocco’s food safety campaign.

    Graphic artist Alicia Burnell did excellent work on the “Carcass Composting” bulletin, making the great content on a sometimes difficult topic easy to read andattractive.

    MSUE specialists, educators and other program staff are professionals who understand their subject matter and do a great job in educating Michigan residents about it. The folks at ANR Communications are also trained and experienced professionals who work hard to make sure those program staff members look and sound good every day.