Posted: August 16, 2018

Four Extension Educators received awards at the National Association of County Agricultural Agents meeting in Tennessee.

Four Extension Educators in Penn State's Department of Animal Science were recognized for their outstanding accomplishments at the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) meeting held in Chattanooga, TN, in August, July 29 - Aug. 2.

* Amber Yutzy Extension Dairy Educator based in Huntingdon, and Greg Strait, Extension Dairy Educator in McConnellsburg, were recognized with the NACAA Search for Excellence in Livestock Production award for their "Best Milking Practices Program."

* Andrew Sandeen, Extension Dairy Educator based in Indiana County, was a National Finalist in the NACAA Communications Contest in the individual newsletter category for his "SW PA Dairy News."

* Melanie Barkley, Extension Livestock Team Educator based in Bedford County, was a National Finalist in the NACAA Communications Contest fact sheet division.

Yutzy and Strait developed the Best Milking Practices program as a way to help producers understand the importance of quality control in the productivity and profitability of their enterprise. The program stresses the consistent use of standardized milking practices to narrow down the bottleneck on their farm to develop an action program to increase milk quality. The program was offered through dairy profit teams, individual on-farm evaluation, milk quality workshops and online learning modules, provided in both English and Spanish. Feedback showed that 88 percent of the participants involved in the program saw an increase in milk quality efficiency on their farm. The award was judged on educational objectives, program activities, teaching methods, results, impact statement and evaluation over the past three years.

Sandeen developed this newsletter as a way to reach dairy owners and managers as well as agribusiness leaders, reaching a broad audience that reflected diversity of technology, religious beliefs, ages, farm size and connection to Extension programs. In addition to articles relevant to the dairy producers in Southwest Pennsylvania, the newsletter contained a calendar of events to make readers aware of local educational opportunities. The bimonthly newsletter reached 650 recipients affiliated with the dairy industry throughout the region.

Barkley developed the fact sheet, "Preventing Erosion in Pastures," for a Livestock Grazing Course which offered six lessons designed to help livestock producers better understand pasture production and grazing management.

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