AgriLife Extension honors agent with Superior Service Award

Writer: Steve Byrns, 325-653-4576, s-byrns@tamu.edu

GREENVILLE – Sara Allen, Texas AgriLife Extension Service agent for agriculture and natural resources in Hunt County, has been honored with one of the agency’s highest recognitions.

The Superior Service Award is presented to staff who demonstrate outstanding performance or who provide exceptional service to AgriLife Extension, an educational outreach agency of the Texas A&M University System, according to the award guidelines.

For almost 20 years, Allen has led a diverse, well-rounded AgriLife Extension program in Hunt County, according to her award nomination. Her role requires a balancing act between the traditional programming areas of  beef cattle, forage management and horses and the more urban sector of the growing county where interests lie more with landscape horticulture and gardening.

“Having served as the Texas Master Gardener coordinator for 21 years, I have worked with the best of the best volunteer managers,” said Dr. Douglas Welsh, AgriLife Extension horticulturist at College Station. “Sara Allen, the Hunt County Master Gardener coordinator, is certainly among the best.

“Sara manages 42 Master Gardener volunteers, a large group for a relatively low-population county. These well-trained and highly motivated volunteers provide more than 5,000 hours of volunteer service each year, which has an annual economic value to Hunt County of over $75,000. The Hunt County Master Gardeners have a speaker’s bureau that conducted 164 programs and speaking engagements over the past four years, to an audience totaling 6,986.”

Allen was one of the first AgriLife Extension agents in Texas to conduct seminars specifically for small-acreage and new landowners.

A letter of commendation submitted by Monica Purviance and Russell Garmon — U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service district conservationist and county executive director,  respectively — lauded Allen’s work with new landowners.

“Through meetings involving the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Farm Service Agency, we have worked with Sara in Hunt County for the past 15 years,” their letter stated. “Sara is a dedicated employee and has taken the time to develop beneficial and interesting programs for the county. One example of this program development would be hosting a day for new landowners, or first-time landowners. Sara saw the need for making these people aware of the services that were available in the ag field.

“These meetings have been well attended. Attendees felt free to ask any questions and always expressed their appreciation for the information obtained.”

As is evidenced by her nomination and subsequent award, Allen’s leadership is demonstrated  from the local to national level. She serves on the National EarthKind Advisory Board and District IV Water Team. She also serves as an educational resource in her county through her involvement with such entities as the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Class and Commerce Community Garden Association.

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