Diane DeWitte, Extension Educator and Amanda Sommers, 4-H Coordinator recently received national awards and were honored for their work at the Galaxy IV Conference, which is a joint meeting for the National Extension Association of County Agricultural Agents and the National Extension Association of 4-H Educators.
DeWitte received the 2013 Distinguished Service Award for Excellence in Extension Education Programs by the National Association of County Agricultural Agents. The purpose of the Distinguished Service Award Program is to encourage and recognize excellence in the field of professional Extension for members with more than ten years of service. As the Minnesota honoree in the National group, DeWitte was recognized for 23 years of Extension work in Minnesota and Indiana. In her role as Extension Educator in Agricultural Production Systems for Blue Earth and LeSueur Counties, DeWitte coordinates and facilitates training and education for farmers, livestock producers, master gardeners and a variety of groups. She focuses on livestock, crop and horticulture topics and specializes in swine production certification. DeWitte’s programming also includes private pesticide applicator certification and southern Minnesota wheat research. At the State level, she serves on the University of Minnesota Extension Swine Team and Small Farms Team.
Sommers was recognized with the Achievement in Service Award which honors 4-H/Youth Development professionals in the early stages of their careers who have served for 10 years or less. Highlights of Sommers’ seven-year tenure with Blue Earth County 4-H includes creation of after-school 4-H opportunities in local elementary schools and development of 4-H leadership skills within the 4-H Ambassador Program. Her summer youth programs have yielded outstanding attendance at area schools. She has also been successful with increasing participation among youth at both the Blue Earth County Fair and Minnesota State Fair. Blue Earth County Fair project entries have increased 17 percent from 2008 to 2013 and her work to improve involvement at the Minnesota State Fair by Blue Earth County 4-H members has risen by 30 percent.
The Blue Earth County Board recognized both DeWitte and Sommers at the October 22 Board Meeting for their achievements and for the exceptional work the Extension Office provides to Blue Earth County residents. For more information about Blue Earth County Extension services visit www.blueearthcountymn.gov.