COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The unique connection that a county Extension educator has with the farm family is the backbone of any state Extension organization and the driving concept behind the Ohio State University Extension Steve D. Ruhl Agriculture and Natural Resources County Extension Award.
The award, established in 2007 and named for the Morrow County OSU Extension educator who passed away in that same year, recognizes a county educator who has provided outstanding educational programs to his or her clientele.
Ruhl was the first recipient of the award. Glen Arnold, an OSU Extension educator for Putnam County, became the second recipient in 2008.
"I am extremely appreciative to receive the Steve Ruhl award," said Arnold. "I lost a great friend and colleague in Steve. Receiving an award named after him is very humbling."
The Steve D. Ruhl Agriculture and Natural Resources County Extension Award was created by an endowment of funds earned from the 2006 National Association of County Agricultural Agents Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference held in Cincinnati. Each year, award recipients are chosen by a selection committee consisting of the first and second vice-presidents for agriculture of the Ohio Association of Extension Professionals, the association's regional agricultural representatives, and OSU Extension's state program leader.
Recipients must be a current County Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, have a minimum of 10 years county Extension experience, and be a current paid member of the Ohio Association of Extension Professionals and the National Association of County Agricultural Agents. Extension programs developed by the recipient could represent animal sciences, agronomy, horticulture, farm management, entomology, leadership, or any other related area where the educator has demonstrated proven success.
Don Breece, OSU Extension assistant director, said that Arnold embodies the traditional role of a county agricultural agent of identifying with rural communities while tapping into the skills and abilities of a modern Extension educator and Ohio State faculty member.
"Glen is masterful at the kitchen table. So many decisions are made by farm families around the table, and this is where Glen excels. Glen has also given guidance to so many young educators and welcomed them into the organization," said Breece. "Glen reminds me so much of Steve (Ruhl) in his job approach. He has a great sense of humor and a passion for the organization and the people in agriculture. Personally, that made it clear in my mind that the committee made the right selection."
Arnold has been an Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension educator for Putnam County for nearly two decades. He has led research on using manure as fertilizer, helping farmers save over $75 per acre using manure to top-dress wheat fields. He's helped design, plan and organize Grain Excel, a farm management education course, as well as Pork Performance Plus -- an Excel program for pork producers. Arnold has aided in the development of a ventilation demonstration trailer for swine producers. He launched the Farm Safety Day Camp in Putnam County, which has been attended by more than 3,500 third-grade students over the past nine years. Arnold has organized and conducted an annual Agronomy Night for crop producers for the past 19 years; has educated farmers on livestock farm odors, dust and gases; and teaches composting, quality assurance and management courses to producers across the state.
In addition he's served on district and state committees, OSU Extension committees and has been a member of OAEP and NACAA for nearly 20 years.
Arnold will receive a $1,500 cash prize and a plaque. His name has been added to a permanent display about the Steve D. Ruhl Agriculture and Natural Resources County Extension Award, located on the ground floor of the Agricultural Administration Building on Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences campus in Columbus.