Southampton’s Extension agent recognized for exemplary service

Published 10:35 am Wednesday, October 30, 2013

COURTLAND—The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has announced that Southampton County’s Chris Drake has been recognized among other extension agents for his work last year in the recycling program of plastic pesticide containers and the private applicator recertification program.

A ceremony took place at the annual Virginia Tech Pesticide Programs Pesticide Educator’s Workshop, which was Sept. 4 in Roanoke, said Drake.

“Chris [Drake] inherited a good program and worked aggressively to make it better by growing the number of containers received, improving the quality of plastic by ensuring containers are rinsed and stored correctly and, most importantly, by increasing the number of participants,” reported VDACS. “The Southampton County program provided approximately 12,000 pounds of the nearly 89,000 pounds of plastic collected from the 29 participating sites.”

Drake, who received a framed certificate and gift basket of Virginia products, said recently what the appreciation means to him.

“It is nice to be rewarded for diligent efforts in pesticide container recycling as well as for our efforts in educating the private pesticide applicators in Southampton County. My recognition for pesticide recycling was due to the fact that we collected nearly 14 percent of the containers in the whole state right here in Southampton County. Our program is highly successful thanks to hard work and participation from the farmers, VDACS officials and myself.”

He also shared second place in the aforementioned private applicator recertification along with Sean Malone and Ames Herbert, both of the Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Suffolk, and Robert Christian of VDACS.

The award, according to VDACS, “went to a team who worked together to provide a quality and interactive private applicator recertification. This program was held at different times to accommodate the schedules of their clientele… The collection of real-time data from the audience showed the level of understanding and allowed for the instructor to slow down and elaborate on points that were unclear.”

The agent said he used a new digital audience response software in a trivia game for the pesticide applicators.

“They were able to compete while answering questions related to pesticide formulations, storage and safety,” Drake said. “It was a fun, interactive means of conducting continuing education for over 40 license holders.”

The next pesticide recycling begins the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 6, at the Franklin-Southampton County Fairgrounds.

Drake expects to be especially busy that day.

“We have a mountain for sure this time,” he said.