Kay Ledbetter receives Texas A&M AgriLife Vice Chancellor’s Award

COLLEGE STATION – Kay Ledbetter has received a Texas A&M AgriLife Vice Chancellor’s Award in the staff category.

Ledbetter is a media relations specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Communications – serving the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension centers at Amarillo and Vernon, as well as 46 AgriLife Extension county offices in the Panhandle and Rolling Plains and several departments at Texas A&M University in College Station.

The honor was presented Jan. 8 during the Texas A&M AgriLife Conference in College Station. The Vice Chancellor’s Awards in Excellence were established in 1980. The awards program recognizes the commitment and outstanding contributions of Texas A&M AgriLife faculty and staff throughout Texas and provides an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of those honored.

Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife communications specialist in Amarillo, received the Vice Chancellor’s Award in Excellence recently in College Station. She was congratulated by (from the left) Dr. Craig Nessler, Texas A&M AgriLife Research director; Dr. Doug Steele, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service director; and Dr. Mark Hussey, vice chancellor and dean of agriculture and life sciences. (Texas A&M AgriLife Communications photo by Kathleen Phillips)

“Kay is a seasoned professional who has 30 years in both the private sector and with our AgriLife agencies,” said Dr. John Sweeten, resident director of research at the Amarillo center where Ledbetter is based. “Her depth of knowledge and expertise is seen daily by her ability to handle both internal and external requests for information.”

In addition to handling hundreds of media requests, including local, regional and national media, Sweeten said Ledbetter has consistently gone beyond her day-to-day responsibilities.

“She has brought together the individuals responsible for communications from water districts, and hog, cattle, dairy, wheat, sorghum, corn and peanut agencies to ensure a consistent, science-based message is forwarded by all when dealing with the media,” he said.

Also noted was her work with emergency management and training programs, national professional communicators associations, county commissioners, judges and courts, and AgriLife Extension agents and specialists.

“Kay has earned high respect and credibility of other faculty and producers’ groups,” Sweeten added. “She has made everyone look good in the face of unexpected events/developments.”

“It is easy to look at the press material she has developed and see that Kay sets a high bar for producing reader friendly, scientifically accurate and well prioritized articles to the public,” said Dr. David Baltensperger, Texas A&M soil and crop sciences department head, in his letter of support. “Her long-term history of excellence is clear. However, I want to comment on how gracefully she has added two departments to her efforts. The transition has been outstanding in every aspect.”

James Hunt, agribusiness director for KGNC-AM radio, Amarillo, wrote: “There can be no question that Kay is deserving of this honor. Throughout the decades she has devoted to agricultural communications, Kay’s work has qualified her to be regarded as a leader in Texas Panhandle agriculture.”

Ledbetter’s other awards include Award of Excellence, Media Relations, Association for Communication Excellence in 2011, and a Professional Achievement Award, Agricultural Communications, 2007.

She has also won awards as a member of various teams, including the Vice Chancellor’s Award of Excellence, AgriLife Extension Emergency Response Communications Team; and Vice Chancellor’s Award of Excellence for Research, team award for air quality: Reducing Feedlot Emissions, and Professional Achievement Team Award, Communications.

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