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October 27, 2003

Extension awards given to ag and natural resources educators

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Four Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service educators were presented awards in agriculture and natural resources on Tuesday (10/21) during the annual Purdue Extension professional development conference on the West Lafayette campus. The awards were sponsored by the Indiana Extension Educators Association.

• Phillip Tocco, of DeKalb County, received the Agriculture and Natural Resources Junior Award for informing area producers about the benefits of the pre-sidedress soil nitrate test. Unnecessary fertilizer application in his area was reduced by more than 21 tons in one year. One producer using this program saved more than $7,000 by reducing nitrogen applications with no significant decrease in yield.

• Allen Ullom, of Perry County, was honored with the Agriculture and Natural Resources Senior Award for his work in cleaning up farm ponds. Residents of Perry County are unable to use pond water for drinking and recreation due to high sulfur content in the ground. To evaluate and improve the condition of the county's ponds, Ullom worked with the Department of Natural Resources and the Perry County Soil and Water Conservation District to conduct pond management seminars. More than 440 residents owning more than 300 ponds participated. One client said, "Our cattle have not had water this clean in over five years."

• Gonzalee Martin, of Allen County, was awarded the Agriculture and Natural Resources Innovator Award for helping pork producers devise an income alternative when pork prices dropped. He helped producers turn their facilities into aquaculture production facilities. Two former hog producers now raise and sell tilapia due to Martin's work.

• Byron Fagg, of Washington County, was named the Agriculture and Natural Resources Career Award Winner for creating more efficient cattle breeding programs. He was involved in the Indiana Beef Evaluation Program and Breeding Soundness Clinics, evaluating more than 1,000 bulls. Data from the program, which is still heavily used today, showed that 10 percent of bulls tested were unsatisfactory breeders.

Writer: Michelle Betz, (765) 494-8402,

Source: David Petritz, (765) 494-8489,

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722; Beth Forbes,
Agriculture News Page

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: Publication-quality photographs of the Extension award winners will be available today (Monday, 10/27) at

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