Shelley Mills, of Glasgow, and Mat Walter, of Roundup, received the inaugural awards for their work in the MSU PEP educational program promoting the proper use of pesticides to protect public health and the environment, according to Cecil Tharp, PEP statewide coordinator.
Mills, a Valley County Extension agricultural and 4-H agent, was given a lifetime achievement award, which recognizes an individual demonstrating exceptional efforts resulting in statewide pesticide education impacts over a minimum of 15 years, according to Tharp. Nominees may carry forward experience within or outside of MSU Extension to qualify, Tharp said.
Mills was hired by MSU in 2010. Since then, she has served on the PEP advisory panel, where many of her ideas led to improvements in the educational program, according to her award. She also developed many diverse presentations now used by other trainers. Mills began her career with the Montana Department of Agriculture, where she spent 23 years as the agricultural specialist, focusing on pesticide regulation and investigation, as well as education.
During her time with the MDA, she instructed regulatory agents from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, tribal and state organizations in proper investigative techniques, sampling protocols and herbicide injury diagnosis and recognition.
Walter is an agricultural and 4-H agent with the Musselshell and Golden Valley County Extension. He earned the early career achievement award, which recognizes exceptional efforts and impacts in pesticide education over the first five years with MSU Extension, Tharp said. Walter, who was hired in late 2015, has developed presentations on tank mixing and formulations, delivered presentations at multiple train the trainer-programs and assisted other trainers in delivering local pesticide programs, according to his award document.
“It is somewhat rare for new Extension agents to take on this big of a role,” Tharp said. “Thus, we wanted to acknowledge his hard work.”
Walter was previously employed as a crew foreman and education specialist for the Yellowstone Weed District, and spent 10 years working at the Southern Agriculture Research Center in Huntley.
Contact: Cecil Tharp, Animal and Range Sciences, (406) 994-5067 or firstname.lastname@example.org