GALVESTON – The Texas County Agricultural Agents Association, TCAAA, recently recognized outstanding Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service professionals and the individuals who support their efforts at the Professional Excellence Awards Luncheon and Man of the Year Banquet at their Gathering on the Gulf meeting in Galveston.
Awards presented by the National Association of County Agricultural Agents, NACAA, during the state event, included the Distinguished Service Award, the highest award a county extension agent can receive from the national association. Recipients must be with the agency for at least 10 years and are selected based upon outstanding professional growth, program effectiveness, leadership ability, loyalty to work and community involvement.
All Distinguished Service Award recipients will be honored at the NACAA Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference Sept. 8-12 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
AgriLife Extension personnel who received the Distinguished Service Award and their agency districts were: District 1, Jody Bradford, Carson County; District 4, Dr. Brian Triplett, Red River County; District 5, Jamie Sugg, Rusk County; District 7, Steve Estes, Jones County; and District 11, Virginia Easton Smith, Aransas County.
AgriLife Extension personnel also received the national Achievement Award presented annually by the NACAA to recognize agents with less than 10 years of service for their outstanding professional growth and contribution to Extension. Achievement Award recipients also will be honored at the NACAA conference.
The Achievement Award for District 2 went to Gary Roschetzky, Dawson County; District 8, Robert Ferguson, Coryell County; District 9, Roy Flora, Liberty County; and District 11, Bobby McCool, San Patricio County
Additional awards included the TCAAA Specialist of the Year award, which went to Jayla Fry, Texas Master Gardener state coordinator, College Station; and the TCAAA Specialist of the Year — State award, which went to Dr. Peter Dotray, weed specialist, Lubbock.
Michael Hiller of Jackson County received four Search for Excellence awards, which recognize NACAA members who have developed and carried out outstanding Extension educational programming for specific subject matter. Brock Fry of Jasper County also received a Search for Excellence Award. These recipients also will be honored at the NACAA conference.
Early Career awards, which recognize and encourage professional excellence for members with less than five years of service, went to Derek Williamson, Armstrong County; Kyle Howard, Lamb County; Josh Kouns, Baylor County; Thomas Boyle, Dickens County; Marty Morgan, Cooke County; Jacob Spivey, Tyler County; Corey Hicks, Houston County; Cody Trimble, Glasscock County; Emily Grant, Val Verde County; Nick Dickson, Fisher County; Justin Hale, Johnson County; Cassie Ferguson, Leon County: Stacie Villareal, Waller County; David Oates, Jefferson County; Jason Mangold, Hays County; Kailyn Capps, Austin County; and Matthew Rodriguez, Willacy County.
County Extension Agent Commodity Awards went to Zach Davis, Hill County, Texas Corn Producers and Texas Cotton Association; Dr. J. D. Ragland, Randall County, Texas Sorghum Producers Board; Shane McLellan, McLennan County, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association; Lyle Zoeller, Bell County, Texas Turfgrass Association; and Marty Morgan, Cooke County, Texas Wheat Producers Board.
In addition, Kara Matheney, Washington County, and Scott Willey, Fayette County, both received the Texas Extension Specialist Association Award for an agriculture and natural resources agent.
Communication Awards went to Tyler Coufal, Williamson County; Matheney; Janet Laminak, Denton County; Tom Guthrie, Mills County; and Sandi Whiteman, Angelina County, along with team members Ryan Merrel, Joel Redus and Cary Sims; Kate Whitney, Williamson County; Whitney Grantham, Bell County; and Paul Winski, Harris County.
Retiring TCAAA members recognized for their service and leadership included Isaac Cavazos, McMullen County; Brad Cowan, Hidalgo County; Rick Maxwell, Lamar County; and Enrique Perez, Cameron County.
TCAAA also bestowed Man of the Year in Texas Agriculture awards to individuals in recognition of their outstanding leadership in agriculture or agribusiness as well as their support of AgriLife Extension educational programming efforts. Awardees and their related districts were:
- District 2 – Barry Evans. Evans, a cotton producer and industry leader from Kress, has supported AgriLife Extension in Swisher County for more than 30 years.
- District 4 – Aaron Sanders. As a Southwest Dairy Farmers mobile dairy classroom instructor, Sanders travels across east and southeast Texas teaching young people about the importance of milk and how it is produced. He is also manager of the Helm Ranch facility in Talco.
- District 6 – Fred Chaney. Chaney was instrumental in designing and implementing a competitive trap/skeet shooting range for 4-H members in Glasscock County, as well as serving as an adult leader and coach for this shooting sports initiative.
- District 8 – Steve Beakley. Beakley and his family have owned and run a diversified farming operation in Bardwell for over 26 years, growing cotton, corn, wheat, sunflowers, hay, cattle and more. His father, Bob Beakley, has also been a long time AgriLife Extension supporter and was recognized as Man of the Year in Texas Agriculture by TCAAA in 1997.
- District 9 – Dr. Robert A. “Bobby” Lane. Lane, who has 39 years of professional experience in his field, is a professor of soil and crop sciences at Sam Houston State University. He has provided value to Texas agriculture through his service as an educator, mentor and resource.
- District 10 – Barbara Mansfield Mazurek. Mazurek, a farmer/rancher, has been a member of Bandera County Farm Bureau for 59 years and has served on the State Sheep and Goat committee and the Beef Cattle committee. She was instrumental in helping start the first Ag in the Classroom Field Day for Bandera County and has served as a Bandera County Stock Show director for 45 years. She has also been an active supporter of 4-H and FFA and is president of the Bandera County Wildlife and Livestock Association.
- District 12 – Bill Slomchinski. Slomchinski is known for his involvement in the peanut and cattle industries in Texas. With his son Brett, he farms peanuts and cotton and runs a cow/calf operation. He has been active with several AgriLife Extension program areas for more than 40 years, as well as serving the Atascosa Peanut Growers Association and now the South Texas Peanut Growers Association.