CORVALLIS - Jim Rutledge, Oregon State University Extension 4-H Youth Development program leader, has been recognized by the Oregon Department of Agriculture for his contributions to agriculture.
Rutledge, who is due to retire in December, was one of several individuals honored recently at the annual Agricultural Progress Awards dinner held on the OSU campus. He received the Oregon Department of Agriculture's "Individual Contributions to Agriculture" award for his achievements in leading the Oregon 4-H program and supporting the Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom program.
Under Rutledge's leadership over the past decade, the Oregon 4-H Program has a tremendous increase in participation among youths, from 41,000 to more than 100,000. During that time, Rutledge also worked to create an effective statewide partnership between 4-H youth programs and Agriculture in the Classroom programs sponsored by the Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"I think agricultural literacy - the focus of the Agriculture in the Classroom program - is very important for our youth today and for the future of our country," said Rutledge. "Educating young people about natural resources and agriculture is also a key area of emphasis in 4-H programs. I feel fortunate that we've found effective ways to create a partnership between 4-H Youth Development and the Agriculture in the Classroom program to reach and educate more Oregon youth, especially in the urban areas."
Rutledge joined the OSU Extension Service faculty as Oregon 4-H program leader in 1994. Earlier in his 33-year career Rutledge was a county 4-H agent in Wisconsin and Wyoming, and became state director of the Oklahoma 4-H program in 1989.