Maryland Extension Faculty, Programs Take Home Top Honors
University of Maryland Extension faculty and programs received high national honors this summer from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) during the association’s 2012 Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference held in Charleston, South Carolina in July.
Washington County Educator Jeff Semler received the national Distinguished Service Award, a recognition reserved for professionals who have served the extension service in an outstanding capacity for more than a decade. Semler began his career with UME in 1988 in Baltimore County but has been in his current role in Washington County, where he grew up, since 1996. He specializes in agriculture and natural resource education in a variety of subjects including dairy, beef, row crops and forage, 4-H youth development, as well as assistance for part-time farmers.
Sudeep Matthew, a Maryland extension agent in Dorchester County, was the recipient of the national Achievement Award. The NACAA bestows this prestigious honor on agents with less than ten years of service in extension who have exhibited excellence in their fields. Matthew’s research and extension program includes potato germplasm evaluation, vegetable weed control, agriculture risk management, alternative/high-value crops and potato crop modeling. His international work includes small farmer capacity development and improving weed management efficiency in South Asia and North Africa.
The NACAA also named UME’s “AGsploration: The Science of Maryland Agriculture” a national winner for Excellence in 4-H Programming. AGsploration is a statewide curriculum designed to increase awareness of agricultural issues among middle school students in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Topics include production agriculture, environmental science and nutrition. Over the past year, instruction by adult and teen team members has reached more than 6,000 youth and adults across Maryland.
In all, faculty members and programs associated with University of Maryland Extension received more than a dozen national and regional awards from NACAA. Additionally, the Maryland Association of County Agricultural Agents (MACAA) received a certificate for having the third highest increase in membership, at 13 percent.
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