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NMSU Extension Agents earn national, regional, state awards

New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service agents are racking up the awards.


Man in cowboy hat sitting at desk
Joshua Boyd is the New Mexico State University Sierra County Cooperative Extension Service agricultural agent and director. His 4-H Horse Judging Manual earned national finalist honors from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents. (NMSU photo by Darrell J. Pehr)

NMSU Sierra County CES Agriculture/4-H Agent Joshua Boyd earned national finalist honors from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents for his 4-H Horse Judging Manual. The NACAA’s communications competition recognizes agricultural agents on the state, regional and national levels. Boyd’s manual earned the second-highest award level possible.

“When I learned I was a national finalist, I was extremely shocked and felt blessed for the acknowledgement and the recognition of all the work,” Boyd said.

Two NMSU CES agents also received the coveted 2017 NACAA Distinguished Service Award and Achievement Award.

Leigh Ann Marez, Guadalupe County Extension Program Director/Agent received the Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes an agent with over 10 years of experience who has demonstrated exceptional Extension work with his or her respective county clientele and across the state.

Jason Lamb, Quay County Extension Agricultural Agent, received the Achievement Award, which recognizes an agent with fewer than 10 years of experience who has demonstrated excellence in programming in his or her respective county and statewide.

The NACAA only selects one Distinguished Service Award recipient and one Achievement Award recipient from each state per year.

As for Boyd’s 4-H Horse Judging Manual, he couldn’t be more pleased, especially for his first time entering the competition.

“I was encouraged to enter the competition by the New Mexico Association of County Agricultural Agents,” he said. “And I’ve received positive feedback from FFA teachers and advisers, as well as 4-H coaches. To my surprise, some Texas schools are using the manual for their main source of reference.”

The user-friendly manual provides a basic outline for coaches and beginning horse judges. It includes concepts on how to judge various classes of horses, as well as information about horse anatomy, judging criteria and advanced practical judging reasons.

The NACAA communications awards include several categories, such as publication, newsletter, website, feature story and video presentation. Award results are announced in mid-May of each year.

In addition to Boyd’s recognition in the publication category, the following NMSU CES agents received certificates in the West Region, which includes 13 states:
- Bonnie Hopkins, San Juan County Extension Agricultural Agent, program promotional piece category: Alfalfa and Range Workshop
- Newt McCarty, Valencia County Extension Agricultural Agent, video recording category: Food Camp for Kids (videography by Jane Moorman)

State certificate winners include:
- Newt McCarty, Valencia County Extension Agricultural Agent, personal column category: Preserving Agriculture
- Samantha Ortiz, San Miguel County Program Director/Extension 4-H Agent, feature story category: NMSU Extension Hosting Annual Ag Day in Las Vegas, New Mexico
- Steve Lucero, Sandoval County Program Director/Extension 4-H and Agricultural Agent, publication category: Small Farms Task Force Year-end Report (numerous agents contributed to this project)
- Donald Martinez, Rio Arriba County Agricultural Agent, program promotional piece category: Rio Chama Equine Expo
- Leigh Ann Marez, Guadalupe County Extension Program Director/Agent, publication category: Recommended Trees and Shrubs for Guadalupe County and Surrounding Areas

Marez is the communications chair of the New Mexico Association of County Agricultural Agents.

“County agents across New Mexico – as part of the NMSU Cooperative Extension Service – are doing great things, so it’s important to be recognized at the regional and national levels,” Marez said.

The Distinguished Service Award recipient, Achievement Award recipient, regional certificate winners and national finalist will be recognized during the NACAA National Convention July 9 to 13, which will be held in Salt Lake City this year.

For more information about NACAA, visit nacaa.com. For more information about NMSU’s Cooperative Extension Service, visit extension.nmsu.edu.