Small Farms Resources at NC A&T State University

Cooperative Extension experts get awards at State Conference

Specialists and county agents of The Cooperative Extension Program at A&T were lauded for excellence and service awards at the N.C. Cooperative Extension 2015 State Conference, Dec. 7-10, in Raleigh. Recognized for program outreach or service are:

  • Mary Jac Brennan, agriculture and commercial horticulture agent for Forsyth County Cooperative Extension, and Danelle Cutting, agriculture and local foods agent for Rowan County Cooperative Extension. Both were among several recipients of the Grange Search for Excellence, North Central District Team. They were honored for their work with the Piedmont Farm School, an Extension outreach of the N.C. Farm School that integrates business principles and production practices through training sessions for new and transitioning farmers.
  • Traci Dixon of Nash County Cooperative Extension and Jamilla Hawkins of Edgecombe County Cooperative Extension, dual recipients of the R.E. Jones Program Award. Dixon is a community and rural development agent. Hawkins is a community resource development agent. The two agents helped develop and conduct a Teen Entrepreneurial Summer Boot Camp to engage youth in business ideas, focus on career paths and prepare for job readiness. One of their successes includes a youth group in the Conetoe community that has developed their own honey bee enterprise.
  • Erin Massie, a 4-H Youth Development Extension agent in Beaufort County who was an award winner in the Grange Search for Excellence for 4-H Youth Development category. Massie was cited for general excellence in her program area, for boundless support of 4-H youth, particularly her ability to engage limited-resource audiences; and for her unselfish support, encouragement and motivation of other 4-H agents in other counties.
  • Morgan McKnight, a family and consumer sciences agent with Brunswick County Cooperative Extension, who received one of two awards from the Grange Search for Excellence in Family and Consumer Sciences. McKnight brings broad perspective to Extension outreach in nutrition, having helped coordinate a local farmers market, working with 4-H programs, teaching youth and senior citizens about healthy eating, and organizing volunteers to help man the Speedway to Healthy interactive exhibit during its Brunswick County schools residency.
  • Der Xiong, agricultural agent for Catawba County Cooperative Extension who was also one of several winners for outstanding team work, cited through the Grange Search for Excellence, West District Team Award. Xiong was honored for her outreach with the Foothills Farm School, an Extension outreach of the N.C. Farm School that integrates business principles and production practices by training new and transitioning farmers. Xiong also recently won the Outstanding Extension Educator award at the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association Conference in November.

Cooperative Extension December 2015 Portraits

Other State Conference recognition was bestowed on Cooperative Extension employees for years of service to the organization, beginning with five years’ experience and increasing in five-year increments to as many as 40 years. Honorees from Extension at A&T are:

  • Michelle Eley, community and economic development specialist,10 years.
  • Joshua Idassi, natural resources specialist, five years.
  • Michael Lanier, Orange County Cooperative Extension area agent, who specializes in agribusiness and local foods.


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