UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — An agricultural leader, a task force dedicated to slowing the spread of the spotted lanternfly, and a Penn State sophomore were the recipients of 2021 Leadership Awards given by the Penn State Agricultural Council.
The awards, presented during the group’s fall delegate meeting Oct. 14 at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center in State College, are given annually in three categories to acknowledge individuals, organizations and events that successfully advance agriculture in Pennsylvania.
The recipients receive a Penn State Nittany Lion statuette, and their names are engraved on a permanent display on the University Park campus.
Betsy Huber received the council’s Leadership Award. A native of Chester County, she was born and raised on a dairy farm. She attended Millersville and Lincoln universities and graduated from the Pennsylvania Rural-Urban Leadership Program in 2001. She was a district aide to former state Rep. Arthur D. Hershey from 1992 to 2002.
Huber has held numerous leadership positions within the agricultural community, including serving on the boards of Pennsylvania Farm Link; the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection agricultural advisory board, which she chaired in 2007; the Pennsylvania State Council of Farm Organizations, which she led as president in 2011-12; and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture fertilizer advisory committee. She is executive secretary for the Pennsylvania Young Farmers Association.
In 2015, Huber was the first woman to be elected president of the National Grange. She previously served on the National Grange board of directors from 2006 to 2014, chairing the board for seven years. From 2002 to 2010, she was president of the Pennsylvania State Grange and served as its legislative liaison from 2010 to 2012 and in 2015.
Huber served her community as a township supervisor for Upper Oxford Township for 24 years, as treasurer of the Chester County Association of Township Officials, and as a member of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors land use committee and resolutions committee. She also served on the Governor’s Census 2010 advisory panel.
Huber was elected to the Penn State Board of Trustees by delegates from agricultural societies and received trustee emerita status in 2017.
The Leadership in Action Award was given to the Cooperative Spotted Lanternfly Task Force, which includes scientists and extension specialists from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences and government regulatory officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
The collective goal of this task force has been to slow the spread of the spotted lanternfly, suppress its populations, and eradicate the pest where possible. Each partner brings an important aspect to the spotted lanternfly problem.
The college and Penn State Extension lead research and education efforts, while the state and federal agriculture departments focus on operations and regulatory work, including enforcing a state quarantine order, monitoring locations where the pest has been reported, and treating properties in high-volume transportation corridors.
Together, the team has educated millions of residents and continues to provide the newest and best research-based advice. The group serves as a model for other states to prepare for and manage this destructive pest.
Task force leaders Julie Urban, associate research professor of entomology; Dana Rhoades, plant protection division chief and state plant regulatory official for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture; and Tim Newcamp, USDA-APHIS state plant health director, accepted the award.
Katelyn Farrar, of McDonald, received the Youth Leadership Award. A second-year student in the college, she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in veterinary and biomedical sciences with a minor in poultry and avian science.
Farrar, a member of the college’s Ag Student Council, was elected to the University Park Undergraduate Association. She leveraged the Ag Student Council network to develop her winning platform, which was based on sustainability, student engagement and student connection to research opportunities.
The Schreyer Honors Scholar also advocates for the college and serves as a Penn State Faculty Senate student senator.
The Penn State Agricultural Council is an independent association of more than 90 organizations representing Pennsylvania’s agricultural and related interests. The council advises Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences and advocates for agricultural education and research to both legislative policymakers and agricultural leaders.