AMES, Iowa -- Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc. has been named the 2006 National Epsilon Sigma Phi “Friend of Extension.” The award will be presented at the national Epsilon Sigma Phi conference Nov. 17 in Anapolis, Md. Iowa State University (ISU) Extension members of the Iowa Alpha Mu Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi nominated Pioneer for the award.
“Pioneer has given generously of its time and resources to help the 4-H program,” said Jack Payne, vice president for ISU Extension and Outreach. “They annually provide financial support for scholarships benefiting 4-H youth, the 4-H Foundation’s golf tournament and funds for programs helping local 4-H clubs and their communities. We are pleased that Pioneer is receiving this national honor.”
Pioneer government relations manager Julie Manes will receive the award on behalf of Pioneer.
“Pioneer is honored to receive this award and is proud to support organizations that make a difference in the communities where our customers and employees live and work,” said Manes. “Extension truly makes a positive impact on our communities through its programs that support agriculture, benefit youth and impact education.”
4-H and Pioneer have a long and colorful history, Payne said. Their friendship dates back to when Henry A. Wallace, the founder of Pioneer, learned about plant breeding from 4-H projects in Keokuk County in the early 1900s.
In 2004 Pioneer gave a matching gift of $150,000 for the Iowa 4-H Foundation’s President’s Campaign. This gift leveraged an additional $300,000 in new support for Iowa 4-H, funding volunteer leader development, after-school 4-H programs and an endowment for recognizing outstanding 4-H’ers. When ISU Extension’s 4-H Youth Building was envisioned, Pioneer provided a contribution of $100,000 to a large conference room for meetings, educational trainings and interactive meetings with satellite offices around the world. In addition, Pioneer employees serve on numerous boards and committees in conjunction with 4-H.
“Extension is truly fortunate to have a friend like Pioneer helping us achieve our goal of bringing the university to the people,” said Nancy Crago, national president of Epsilon Sigma Phi. “The individual leadership, volunteer hours and corporate support provided by Pioneer that began over a hundred years ago and continues to grow today have significantly strengthened Iowa Extension.”
Kim Brantner, ISU Extension education director in Taylor County, also will be recognized at the national Epsilon Sigma Phi conference. This year she is the recipient of Epsilon Sigma Phi’s State Mid-Career Service Award. She receives this award for her achievement in continued leadership and excellence in program planning, delivery and administration. Examples of programs she has helped implement in Taylor County include a diversity committee for the county’s growing Hispanic population and the “Growing Strong Families” program that provides comprehensive parenting education.
Epsilon Sigma Phi is the national organization of Cooperative Extension professionals. The organization promotes and supports professionalism in extension work.