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Celebrating the Excellence of UF/IFAS Extension’s Faculty and Partners

October was a somewhat chaotic month for UF/IFAS Extension, what with preparing for Hurricane Michael and dealing with its aftermath, but I wanted to take a moment to congratulate some of the Extension faculty and partners who have been awarded honors over the past few weeks. These awards not only recognize the excellent work done by our faculty and partners, but they also celebrate our partnerships with members of the agricultural community.

Imogene Yarborough was named the UF/IFAS Extension Advocate of the Year at the 2018 Dinner of Distinction on October 5. Since 1998, the Yarborough family has been partnering with UF/IFAS Extension to host the Spring Ranchers Forum, a field day with educational presentations and hands-on demonstrations for ranchers in central Florida. Imogene also continues to educate people about the importance of agriculture in our daily lives through her involvement with agricultural associations, boards and youth programs like FFA, Ag in the Classroom and Florida 4-H. In 2007, Imogene and her late husband Ed Yarborough were inducted into the Florida Ag Hall of Fame, and in 2012 she was named Woman of the Year in Agriculture. For her unwavering support of agriculture and partnership with UF/IFAS Extension, we are proud to present Imogene with the 2018 Extension Advocate Award.

Imogene Yarborough, 2018 UF/IFAS Extension Advocate.

Libbie Johnson, Extension Agent II in Escambia County, was awarded the Extension Professional of the Year by the Florida Farm Bureau at their annual meeting October 24. Libbie has been honored for her work with the farmers and ranchers of Escambia County, her efforts to promote Florida Agriculture and her contributions to the Farm Bureau’s mission to increase the net income of ag producers and improve the quality of rural life. Congratulations, Libbie!

Libbie Johnson, Florida Farm Bureau Extension Professional of Year.

Finally, Chris DeCubellis, 4-H statewide specialized agent, won the title of Champion Milker at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Georgia on October 18. Chris beat out experienced milkers from Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky to take the title. Before he went to Moultrie, Chris beat out a field of tough competitors (including myself) at the Milk-Off Challenge Fundraiser September 28. The Milk-off Challenge raised $1,000 for the 4-H Dairy Program and the Alan and Cathy Hitchcock UF Field & Fork Pantry. Even though I didn’t win this year, I’m grateful to everyone who turned out for the event, and I am proud to see Chris represent us so well at the Sunbelt Ag Expo.

Chris DeCubellis celebrates his victory at the Milk-Off Challenge at the UF Dairy Research Unit.

Unfortunately, many Extension faculty couldn’t make it to Moultrie this year, as we were in the midst of dealing with the damage from Hurricane Michael. I want to offer a special thanks to Libbie Johnson and a team of other Extension faculty for managing our exhibit at the Expo.

I’d like to thank all the awardees for your excellent work, and also for demonstrating every day the close ties Extension forms with our partners in the agricultural community.

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