May 24, 2018
Penn State’s Baugher earns diversity achievement award

Tara Baugher, Penn State Extension tree-fruit educator, is one of four individuals who have received the 2018 Dr. William Henson Diversity Achievement Award from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, an honor that recognizes distinctive and outstanding teaching, research, extension or creative work that advances diversity in the college.

This year’s recipients are Baugher, Jenneth Layaou, director of campus enrollment and retention in the Office for Undergraduate Education; Paige Castellanos, assistant research professor in the Office of International Programs; and Cecil Shelton, doctoral student in agricultural and Extension education.

Tara Baugher

Baugher has developed programming designed to educate Hispanic growers and agricultural workers throughout Pennsylvania. She was principal investigator on two Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture specialty-crops grants that focus on sustainable production and pest-management innovations for next-generation young and Hispanic/Latino specialty-crop growers. Because of her leadership, vision, resource acquisition and persistence, a number of educational materials have been translated into Spanish on topics such as weed identification and management, orchard pruning, vegetable crop planning, and soil quality.

Tara Baugher

Baugher also led a three-year U.S. Department of Agriculture Beginning Farmer and Rancher grant, making sure that the project reflected the true diversity of farming in Pennsylvania and the important role that Hispanic farmers play by including a Hispanic farmer as one of the seven farm cooperators for the project. She also provided coordination and support for a series of Spanish-language study circles for beginning farmers.

For nine years, the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention has included a full-day session in Spanish, with Baugher credited as one of the founders of this educational event. This session draws between 30 and 50 Hispanic farmers, farm managers and farm workers to learn about fruit and vegetable production systems, farm food safety, pesticide safety and more.

“Tara is a powerful leader for diversity,” said Lee Stivers, horticulture extension educator. “She is the one who is writing, securing and managing the grants that provide not just the resources, but also the direction, clarity and confidence that we need to jump into this arena and make a difference. Tara always brings her high professional standards, unwavering optimism and sincere commitment to helping all people to her work.”

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