Phillip K. Blevins, unit coordinator and Extension agent in agriculture and natural resources for the Virginia Cooperative Extension, has received the 2017 Alumni Award for Excellence in Extension.

Sponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Excellence in Extension is presented annually to two Virginia Cooperative Extension faculty members who have made outstanding contributions to the land-grant mission of the university. One award goes to an Extension specialist and the other is given to an Extension agent. Each award winner receives $2,000.

Blevins responds to the needs of the community through extensive programming. Beef cattle is a major commodity in Washington County, Virginia, so Blevins has dedicated a significant amount of time to enhancing this area. In 2010, he initiated the Master Cattleman program, which provides educational foundations for more than 400 participants, as well as giving producers hands-on workshops with experts.

He has served as the grant coordinator for the Abingdon Feeder Cattle Association since 2002, applying and managing 10 grants totalling close to $4 million. These grants have been used to improve handling facilities, herd genetics, and feed storage, which have in turn led to higher-quality calves.

After blue mold in tobacco became a serious problem for growers in 1997, Blevins created the Blue Mold Hotline to aid growers in making disease-control decisions. He has also made strides in corn production, beekeeping education, and promoting the value of agriculture through the establishment of the Washington County Agri-Fest and the Virginia 4-H History Bowl.

“To say Phil Blevins has had a positive impact on the lives of citizens in Washington County and throughout Southwest Virginia would be a gross understatement,” Danny Peek, southwest district director for the Virginia Cooperative Extension, wrote in a letter of nomination.

In 2010, Blevins won the Virginia Agribusiness Council Extension Agent Service Award and in 2013 he received the Virginia Association of Agriculture Extension Agents Wall of Fame Award.