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Source: NASDA news release

At the virtual annual meeting of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) today, top employees of three state departments of agriculture were honored for their service, communication, and administration to their state.

"Congratulations to our 2020 Honor Awards recipients! All too often, the work of our public servants to agriculture goes unrecognized. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to spotlight these leaders in our departments," said NASDA President and North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring.

Secretary Perdue has been a great friend to NASDA since his appointment in 2017. He has appreciated and grown the NASDA-USDA partnership while doing what's right for agriculture. Early in his tenure he recognized the leadership role of state departments of agriculture and subsequently built a professional and collegial relationships with all NASDA Members.

Secretary Perdue and his team have listened to state priorities. He is transparent and accountable to the food and agricultural issues in the states. Secretary Perdue has made significant contributions to farmers and ranchers that have positively impacted rural and urban communities and will continue to do so in the future.

Dr. Bob Waltz was the State Chemist and Seed Commissioner for the Office of the Indiana State Chemist and a member of American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), a NASDA affiliate, for 14 years. He served as the AAFCO Liaison to NASDA from 2008 to 2019. His thoughtful and regulatory-oriented contributions went well above and beyond normal volunteer service. Dr. Waltz truly exemplifies the meaning of 'service' in support of an organization. Dr. Waltz retired from his position in late May.

James A. Graham Award
The purpose of the James A. Graham Award is to recognize an individual for outstanding work in providing service to agricultural producers.

The 2020 NASDA James A. Graham Award is awarded to Dr. Annette Jones, California State Veterinarian at the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Dr. Jones and the department's Animal Health Branch have exhibited outstanding leadership and contributions to the eradication efforts in the 2018-2020 virulent Newcastle Disease (VND) Incident in Southern California, and management of additional animal diseases.

Post-VND, CDFA and USDA, in partnership with bird enthusiasts in Southern California, have established the California Avian Health Education Network, committed to monitoring of disease, support for biosecurity training, and promotion of poultry health to ensure, among other things, the viability of California's $2.5 billion poultry industry which provides 25,000 jobs.

Communications Award
The purpose of the NASDA Communications Award is to recognize an individual for outstanding work in media and public communications within a state agency resulting in improved understanding of agriculture and agricultural programs.

The 2020 NASDA Honor Award for Communications is awarded to Paige Manning, Director of the Market Development Division at the Mississippi Department of Agriculture & Commerce. Since joining the agency in 2005, Paige and her team launched Genuine MS, Mississippi's new and quickly growing branding program. Manning is receiving this award because of her innovative and progressive use of technology, including an interactive website, podcasts and other digital platforms.

Paige accomplished all of this while maintaining a positive atmosphere and spirit of teamwork in the Department.

Douglass-Irvin Administration Award
The purpose of the Douglass-Irvin Administration Award is to recognize an individual for outstanding contributions within a state agency resulting in improved efficiency and impact.

The recipient of the 2020 NASDA Douglass - Irvin Administration Award is Christina "Chrissy" Waggett, Federal Liaison for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services.

During her tenure as a state public servant, a career that has stretched over a decade, Chrissy has served agriculture and excelled in a variety of roles, ranging from administrative duties to heading the development and implementation of a disaster assistance program, to organizing and hosting a national roundtable on agricultural issues. She is easily recognizable as one of the state's most dependable and hardworking public servants, serving as the department's main point of contact for NASDA and working tirelessly with its members to address issues in the agricultural industry and find smart, efficient, long-term solutions.

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