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Al Schmidt honored as 2011 Agriculture Educator of the Year

Al Schmidt honored as 2011 Agriculture Educator of the Year

Story by ABC news affiliate KTRE

Al Schmidt, district conservationist in Nacogdoches for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), was recently named 2011 Agriculture Educator of the Year for his contributions spanning more than two decades to agriculture in Nacogdoches County.

The award was presented at the 10th Annual Agriculture Appreciation and Awareness Banquet held in Nacogdoches and sponsored by Citizens 1st Bank.

�Al is one of the most thoroughly professional individuals and one of the most personable individuals that I have ever worked with,� said John Boyette, district forester for the Texas Forest Service and former Ag Educator of the Year. �He is a master of the technical aspects of his profession.�

For the past 22 years, Schmidt has been involved in the setup and running of various FFA contests for local high school students. Contest events consist of land judging, plant identification and woodland and wildlife contests. The events educate students about the management of agriculture and woodland areas, interpretation of information needed to make management decisions and skills development for use in real resource management scenarios. The events are held on the local level to prepare teams to participate at area and state contests.

�I�ve been involved in both area and state level wildlife and woodland contests helping with the set up and management of these events,� Schmidt said. �I assist with teacher workshops to train ag teachers on working with students at the woodland wildlife contest events.�

Schmidt also participates in local youth education events such as Walk-the-Woods and AG-in-the-Classroom. Each year he makes presentations on soil characteristics to inform students of the importance of soil as a natural resource and the importance of conservation of soil and water resources. He is involved in these events in Nacogdoches, Shelby and Sabine counties.

�In all the years that I have been working with him to deliver programs to kids and adults alike, he has always been there, always ready to teach about conservation of our natural resources,� Boyette said.