Daryl Buchholz, associate director for extension and applied research at Kansas State University, has been honored with the Epsilon Sigma Phi Distinguished Service Ruby Award, the highest award granted in extension nationwide.
The award was presented to Buchholz at the Galaxy IV Conference in mid-September in Pittsburgh, Penn. The conference, hosted every five years by the Joint Council of Extension Professionals, is a national professional improvement conference for extension organizations.
Buchholz has been with K-State Research and Extension since 1992 but his career as an extension professional spans more than 33 years.
Although he discovered his calling for extension work in graduate school, Buchholz, a native of South Dakota, said he has experienced extension in some way throughout his life. First, it was the Belmont Baby Beef 4-H Club, where Buchholz said he took part in projects including livestock, clothing, horticulture, foods and others that his parents thought would help him become a confident, well-rounded individual and leader. He followed his 4-H days by attending South Dakota State University and becoming the first-generation college graduate in his family.
Buchholz then moved on to pursue graduate degrees at two other land-grant universities—Oklahoma State University for a master's degree and Kansas State University for a Ph.D. He worked in the University of Missouri's agronomy department as an extension soil fertility specialist for 12 years before returning to K-State, where he has served in a number of leadership roles.
As an associate professor of agronomy, Buchholz put his practical outlook to use. He developed and implemented extension programs in soil fertility, fertilizer use efficiency, soil testing, environmental and water quality, no-till cropping management, and site-specific crop management to assist growers, dealers, and the public in understanding principles of nutrient management and using those principles for agricultural improvement.
In looking at the future of extension and its ability to remain relevant and strong, especially when addressing the grand challenges, Buchholz said one of the greatest things accomplished during his tenure with K-State Research and Extension was the development of extension districts across the state. Now, 42 counties operating in multi-county districts, sets K-State Research and Extension in a position to be more valuable in allowing agents to specialize and better meet the needs of all Kansans.
"I do believe that the future of extension is extremely strong," Buchholz said. "It requires us to remain focused on our audiences and to keep our ears open to knowing and understanding the problems they face, understanding those as deeply as we possibly can, and come back with the kinds of education and opportunities people are going to value."
Buchholz said his colleagues and family—wife Joyce, and three daughters, Joan, Anne and Gina—have always supported his career.
Honors and awards
Buchholz has received numerous other professional awards, including national awards such as the 2010 Diversity/Multicultural Team Award for the Change Agent State Catalyst for Diversity, 2004 Meritorious Service Award, 2002 Team Award for the Kansas Environmental Leadership Program and the 2002 International Service Award.
Specifically to K-State Research and Extension, Buchholz won the 2004 Builder Award, 2001 Team Award for the Distance Diagnosis Project and the 1997 Team Award for the Atrazine Education Project.
He is a member of the Alpha Rho Chapter of ESP, the Kansas extension chapter. ESP (www.espnational.org) is a professional society dedicated to fostering standards of excellence in the extension system and developing the extension profession and professional.
to read all of Buchholz's Ruby Award acceptance speech, click here.