University of Wisconsin-River Falls

News Source

April 30, 2004


UW-RF Ag College Presents Annual Awards

The College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls held its annual awards ceremony April 20. The college named Professor Jerome Nechville as Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year; Brenda Johnson as Outstanding Senior; and retired agriculture teacher Virgil Martinson as Distinguished Agriculturalist.

Nechville started his agriculture career as a student at UW-River Falls, earning a B.S. and M.S.T. from UW-River Falls. He joined the faculty of the Department of Agricultural Engineering Technology in 1979 after teaching at the University of Minnesota-Waseca.

During his career he has been responsible for shaping the curriculum in his department, developing courses such as Industrial Safety, Project Management, and Landscape Construction. He was also instrumental in curriculum revision through a USDA Challenge Grant and has helped develop courses for students in the departments of plant and earth science and animal and food science as well as the College of Business and Economics. He is the faculty advisor for the Agricultural Mechanization Club and has been advisor to the quarter-scale tractor team.

Nechville is a member of the CAFES scholarship committee, the Farm Advisory Board and the Dairy Learning Center Planning Committee. Over the years, he supervised several construction projects at the University farms.

Johnson received the Dr. Earl Hildebrand Memorial Award as outstanding CAFES senior. From Cologne, Minn., Johnson is completing a B.S. in environmental science with a minor in chemistry.

She is a tutor for UW-River Falls Japanese students and a member of the Earth Consciousness Organization. For ECO, she has helped organize beautification projects on campus and worked on recycling, brush clearing and trail projects around the area. During 2002-03, she served as a resident assistant for Grimm Hall, providing support and leadership to 30 students and served as an activity director for hall events.

Johnson has been on the CAFES Dean's List and was a recipient of academic honors throughout her career at UW-RF. She has also been on the National Dean's List for the past three years. In 2003, she earned academic accolades for her work on a river and groundwater chemistry research project and was an exchange student at the University of Auckland in New Zealand where she studied indigenous culture. She was active in the Auckland University Rock and Alpine Club and received academic honors from that institution.

Johnson has been accepted into the graduate program in environmental toxicology at Clemson University.

For the past 34 years, CAFES has recognized an individual from outside the University who has contributed to agriculture in the state or region. Martinson, this year's selection for Wisconsin Distinguished Agriculturalist award, is a 1948 graduate of UW-River Falls. He received master's and doctoral degrees from UW-Madison. In 1972 he was appointed the Wisconsin State Supervisor for Agricultural Education for the Department of Public Instruction and held this position until his retirement in 1983.

Martinson has been active in Future Farmers of America, having served various offices including national FFA Alumni President. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Honorary State and American FFA Degrees, the Wisconsin FFA Blue and Gold Award, the NVATA Regional Citation for Outstanding Service, State of Wisconsin Special Citation, Wisconsin Junior Dairy Association Distinguished Agriculturalist and VIP Award from the National FFA. He is a member of the UW-RF CAFES Alumni Board and vice-president of the Ygerasil Literary Society of Madison.

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