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St. Lawrence, Lewis Extension educators to receive statewide awards

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CANTON - Two Cornell Cooperative Extension educators from St. Lawrence and Lewis counties will receive statewide awards next week.

St. Lawrence County Livestock Educator Betsy F. Hodge will be honored with the New York State Association of County Agricultural Agents’ distinguished service award, while Lewis County Field Crops Educator Joseph F. Lawrence will receive the state association’s achievement award, according to a release from the Northern New York Regional Agricultural Initiative.

“Betsy’s and Joe’s work represents the very best of Extension programming in New York State,” Anita L. Deming, the regional group’s coordinator and executive director of Essex County Extension, said in a statement.

The awards will be handed out next week at the National Association of County Agricultural Agents annual meeting in Charleston, S.C.

The recognition of Ms. Hodge is well deserved, according to Patrick T. Ames, executive director of St. Lawrence County Extension.

Ms. Hodge uses the herd of sheep she raises at the Extension Learning Farm on Route 68 in Canton to reach out to other small livestock owners and let them know she understands their problems. She maintains connections with Cornell, her peers and farmers, Mr. Ames said.

“Betsy is a model educator,” he said. “She spends countless hours working with local farmers to make them more profitable.”

Ms. Hodge developed Northern New York’s six-county regional livestock education program for sheep, goat and beef producers in Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties.

Mr. Lawrence’s award recognizes excellent service by educators with less than 10 years at Extension. The Cape Vincent native was hired in 2008.

“He has so much promise and expertise in the world of field crop and works well with farmers in this area and the north country region,” said Michele E. Ledoux, executive director of Lewis County Extension.

He publishes a web-based weekly crops report for Northern New York and is a regular agricultural columnist for the Journal and Republican weekly newspaper in Lowville.

Mr. Lawrence was also named among Northern New York’s 20 Under 40 Emerging Leaders by NNY Business magazine in late 2011.

The Journal and Republican and NNY Business are both published by the Johnson Newspaper Corp., which also publishes the Daily Courier-Observer.

Staff writer Steve Virkler also contributed to this report.

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