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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Marez wins National Association of County Agricultural Agents Achievement Award

New Mexico State University Extension Agent Leigh Ann Marez has received the National Association of County Agricultural Agents Achievement Award during the organization's 2012 Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference, held in Charleston, S.C.

Marez serves New Mexico as the Guadalupe County Extension program director/agent.

"Extension work is so critical because agents are hands-on teachers," Marez said. "I think people still want someone to visit with one-on-one. The Internet is answering lots of questions these days but it can't offer what Extension does - communication with an agent who is concerned about a client's issue, and someone to help them to problem-solve."

The New Mexico Association of County Agricultural Agents nominated Marez for the award for her programming in Guadalupe County, which includes a diverse mix of agriculture, 4-H/youth development, family and consumer sciences, and community economic development. She works closely with producers to provide timely and relevant educational programs focused on profitable livestock and farming production practices. Marez provides leadership to countywide 4-H programming involving both youth and adult volunteers. She is actively involved in promoting sustainable agriculture practices by developing and initiating community gardening and farming projects.

The purpose of the Achievement Award program is to encourage and recognize excellence in the field of professional Extension for members with less than 10 years of service. Though Marez has worked in Extension for over 20 years, she has only served in her current full-time capacity for the past nine years.

"Awards are not important to the majority of Extension agents," Marez said. "Our reward is the programs we develop and the success of those programs in our communities."