At the annual meeting of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) last week in Asheville, North Caroline, employees of three state departments of agriculture were honored in the categories of Service, Communication and Administration to their state. The NASDA Honor Awards, which have been given to exemplary employees since 1972, gives NASDA the opportunity to recognize and reward outstanding professionals for their work in service to American agriculture.
The Honor Award for Communications was given to Roy E. Seward, Jr. of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). During Seward’s 45 years with VDACS, he rose from an Information Technician to Regulation and Legislation Policy Manager to his final role as Director of the Office of Policy, Planning and Research. Seward retired from that position August 30, 2013.
His responsibilities included directing analysis and development of agency policy positions, providing planning support to the Commissioner’s Office, directing the Agricultural Stewardship Program and more. His unique communications skills and vast knowledge of departmental history made him the unofficial VDACS Historian. He wrote the first-ever report on the State of Virginia’s environment (1970), managed Virginia’s first Agricultural Stewardship Program (began in 1997) and twice served as an ambassador for Virginia agriculture on People to People missions to Europe and the former Soviet Union.
David Nelson from the North Dakota Department of Agriculture received the James A. Graham Award for Outstanding Service and Loyd Wilson of the Missouri Department of Agriculture was the recipient of the Gus Douglass – Tommy Irvin Award for Administration. The recipients of these awards were selected by an independent panel of judges who are familiar with the work of the state departments of agriculture, but are not employed by NASDA or any of its members.