SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. – Nebraska Extension in the Panhandle has recognized a Potter-area rancher and a leader in the dry edible bean industry for their years of service to agriculture in the Nebraska Panhandle. A non-profit organization involved in sustaining family and community life in western Nebraska has been recognized as a friend of Extension in the Panhandle.
The ag honorees are Beau Mathewson of Potter, a rancher and steward of grasslands, and Courtney Schuler of Morrill, a representative of Trinidad Benham Corporation and chair of the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission. Panhandle Partnership Inc., based in Scottsbluff but serving the 11 counties of the Panhandle, was recognized as Friend of Extension.
The Friend of Panhandle Extension Award, initiated in 2015, recognizes persons or groups whose contributions have furthered Extension activities in the Nebraska Panhandle. The Outstanding Service to Panhandle Agriculture Award recognizes persons or groups who provide outstanding service to agriculture in western Nebraska. Award criteria include value of work done or cooperation with UNL specialists or educators; leadership in agriculture; community service other than agriculture; and level of impact on Panhandle agriculture.
Courtney Schuler was nominated by Extension Educator John Thomas. She grew up on a farm north of Morrill and has been involved in Panhandle agriculture all of her life. A 2005 graduate of Colorado State University in Soil and Crop Science and Ag Business, she returned to Nebraska to work on her Master’s degree at UNL and has been working in the dry bean industry in the Panhandle ever since.
Working with the former Stateline Bean Cooperative as a Field Representative and then Business Development Manager, she was instrumental in helping to get the dry edible pea industry expanded in the region by promotional meetings, contact with growers, and organizing tours and field days. She also helped to get the pea splitting plant established in Bridgeport. Since 2016, Schuler has been working as an Area Field Representative for the Trinidad Benham Corporation.
She has been on the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission for the past eight years and chair of the Commission for the past four years. The mission of the NDBC is to allocate dry bean check-off dollars toward research, promotion and educational activities.
Beau Mathewson, nominated by Extension Educator Bethany Johnston, is a producer who uses Nebraska Extension research, specialists, and educators to develop superior grasslands in western Nebraska. His family worked with former UNL rangelands specialist Pat Reece in the past, and recently UNL Range and Forage Specialist Mitch Stephenson, to enhance the range health of their pastures. Beau has served on the Extension Board for Kimball-Banner and Cheyenne counties.
The Mathewson family was awarded the prestigious Leopold Award for conservation in ranching. Beau also serves at the treasurer of the Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition, provides insight on extension range materials, and was a speaker on rangeland monitoring at the 2018 Nebraska Grazing Conference.
He believes in using new technologies, such as drones for rangeland monitoring, digital grazing records, and learning from other grazers around the country. He represents stewardship, conservation, and innovation.
For the past 14 years, the Panhandle Partnership Inc., a non-profit, membership-based organization serving the 11 counties of the Panhandle, has served as a catalyst for collaboration in the development of creative opportunities for enhancing sustaining family and community life. Executive Director is Tyler Irvine.
PPHHS does not provide services; rather it brings people from diverse backgrounds, disciplines, and sectors together to assess, plan, implement and evaluate systems, policies, practices, and programs, which strengthen communities and increase protective factors for families, children, youth, families, and seniors.
Extension Educator Jackie Guzman, who nominated Panhandle Partnership, said the organization has supported her work with outreach to underserved and new audiences. The Partnership, The Panhandle Research and Extension, and WNCC collaborated in developing a leadership program for the Latino youth she works with, youth in foster care, and the youth shelter.
The Partnership has supported the TEAMS Program with financial assistance. TEAMS is a program that supports youth and their families as they transition from middle school to high school and high school to college.
Panhandle Partnership also has benefitted Extension efforts as a member of the Birth to Eight Systems of Care, a collaboration of Early Childhood professionals across the Panhandle that determines how to best meet the needs of the Panhandle through funding and professional development.