A beef and sheep specialist, Greiner helps producers understand emerging opportunities and technology applications to increase production and enhance value in the marketplace. Because of his work with hair sheep, genetic selection for animals with inherent resistance to internal parasites is advancing. In its five years, the program has expanded beyond Virginia, with hair sheep producers from more than 15 states participating.
In addition, Greiner is incorporating cutting-edge technologies to select for economically important traits in beef bulls. He provides leadership to a program that has evaluated more than 3,000 bulls, making it the largest single source of beef cattle genetics in the commonwealth, a contribution worth $5.7 million in net income from market sales to participating producers.
Greiner also assisted in the development of an animal identification and traceability program. The results of his leadership — in cooperation with Virginia Cooperative Extension, the Virginia Cattlemen's Association, the Southeast Livestock Network, and local producers — is the marketing of more than 30,000 calves as USDA Process Verified, a contribution of more than $500,000 in value-added income to Virginia farm families.
The recipient of numerous Extension awards from state, regional, and national associations, Greiner will also receive $2,000, along with an additional $2,000 in operating funds for his program.
Mary Ann Hansen, an instructor and manager of the Plant Disease Clinic (PDC) in the Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science, is a 2017 recipient of the Andy Swiger Land-Grant Award.
The PDC provides analysis for 1,600 samples annually and offers specialized pest management information for Virginia Cooperative Extension across the commonwealth. Hansen not only leads the implementation of improved diagnostic technology for plant disease diagnosis and management, but also provides training and instruction to Master Gardener groups, Pesticide Certification programs, agents, growers, and graduate students. Her use of "flipped classroom" methods and interactive "Jeopardy" exercises for Extension and academic audiences has earned Hansen a reputation as an innovative instructor.
Hansen is also a member of the Virginia Boxwood Blight Task Force, which has been instrumental in addressing this threat, estimated at $5.6 million, to the state's nurseries. She developed best-management practices for boxwood blight and worked with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' Office of Communications and Marketing to develop a website that has become a valuable and trusted source of information for constituents and agencies, such as the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
An award-winning teacher and researcher, Hansen has identified new plant-disease threats to the state and has helped address and prevent other disease outbreaks. She has co-authored papers and served as a leader for the American Phytopathological Society, Potomac Division, receiving the organization’s Distinguished Service Award. Her leadership in this and other professional roles, as well as her enthusiasm, creativity, and dedication to educating people on plant disease, translates to better protection for agriculture within our state and across the nation. Letters from a wide variety of constituents underscored the impact of Hansen's leadership and educational contributions and attested to the importance of the Plant Disease Clinic in their professional activities.
Hansen will receive $2,000, along with an additional $2,000 in operating funds for her program.