COLLEGE STATION — Dr. Aaron Sumrall, Texas AgriLife Extension Service agent for San Jacinto 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.
The award committee cited Sumrall’s exemplary performance since being hired in 2002. Within two months of his hire, Sumrall “unexpectedly found himself in a one-agent county after San Jacinto County lost the family and consumer sciences position in a reduction of force.”
Despite the challenge, “Sumrall quickly adapted and has continued to increase his effectiveness through the years,” the committee wrote, “reaching a level of superiority within the last five years.”
His nomination notes that Sumrall took on many of the family and consumer sciences responsibilities to meet his county’s demands, including becoming a child passenger safety technician.
“AgriLife Extension District 9 FCS agents affectionately refer to Aaron as an ‘honorary FCS agent’ because of his involvement and willingness to help with family and consumer sciences-related projects,” it stated.
But his strong suit, the nomination notes, is Sumrall’s recognition throughout the district and the state as a feral hog expert due to his innovative and extensive work addressing this emerging issue.
A certified Master Gardener himself, Sumrall also manages “a very successful Master Gardener program in San Jacinto County, and is an outstanding 4-H agent maintaining an active county 4-H program and serving on several district and state 4-H committees,” according to the nomination.
Sumrall was also cited for serving an ever-increasing clientele, developing resource YouTube videos on feral hog issues that have received 13,000 unique views as of September 2011, and developing countless PowerPoint presentations on a wide variety of topics ranging from farm pond construction and livestock nutrition to brush control and wildlife management.
In nomination letters, Reggie Lepley, an AgriLife Extension agent in Walker County, wrote, “I have always found Aaron to be responsive and organized in method to present an effective learning environment for our Extension educational programming.”
Billy Higginbotham, a Regent’s Fellow and AgriLife Extension wildlife and fisheries specialist, noted that Sumrall’s research on feral hog trapping has had a statewide impact on abating agricultural damage via feral hog control.
“During my 31-year career with AgriLife Extension,” Higginbotham wrote, “I can think of no other county Extension agent who is more deserving of the Superior Service Award. He is the epitome of what a county agent should strive to be.”
Monty Dozier, an AgriLife Extension program director, wrote, “I am a big supporter of Aaron Sumrall and his work. I believe he embodies the spirit of the Superior Service Award and is an excellent choice for this prestigious honor.”