George Hamilton, food & agriculture field specialist for UNH Cooperative Extension in Hillsborough County, has been selected as the 2020 Northeast Region National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) Hall of Fame recipient. The NACAA Hall of Fame Award recognizes Hamilton’s demonstrated commitment, dedication and effective leadership in job performance as an outstanding educator, as well as his association involvement at the state and national level and outstanding humanitarian service.
Hamilton was nominated for this national award by his UNH Extension colleagues. The award is reserved only for those who have demonstrated exceptional work, above and beyond normal expectations throughout their career and is presented annually to just one person from each of the four NACAA regions.
“George Hamilton is truly deserving of this prestigious award and is the first ever New England recipient since the award’s inception in 2006,” said Ken La Valley, vice provost of University Outreach and Engagement and director of UNH Extension.
In his career with UNH Extension, spanning 30 years, Hamilton has been responsible for developing many of the organization’s most impactful agricultural programs. He leverages partnerships with grower associations to achieve outcomes beyond what he or his team could accomplish alone. He is an active member and leader in almost every state agricultural association including state technical committees.
Amy Papineau, program team leader for Extension’s Food & Agriculture, said, "George personally cares about the success and happiness of each of his colleagues and spends much time mentoring new staff. Likewise, he is well known for the emotional support he has offered to farmers in times of need. When trying situations arise, the agricultural community knows they can call on George for advice, support and honest friendship."
Hamilton has transferred knowledge to farmers in an array of areas and through a variety of methods, ranging from pruning demonstrations to workshops on effectively managing disease to talks about sprayer calibration. He has provided growers with seasonal weekly data about squash vine borer control, sweet corn pests and spotted wing drosophila populations through Extension's monitoring and reporting program.
For the past 20 years he has given advice to the New Hampshire Giant Pumpkin Growers Association. In 2018, Boscawen resident Steve Geddes beat out all previous North American records by growing a giant pumpkin weighing 2,528 pounds. Geddes said, “We might be experts in growing, but the information and knowledge we have about what is going on might not actually be accurate. This is where my hat comes off to George. One of the biggest advantages with the New Hampshire club, and we are really gifted, is that we have access to true evidence-based, science-based information through Cooperative Extension.”
In December 2019, Hamilton was recognized with the Robert E. Young Award, given by the New England Vegetable Berry Growers Association to individuals in recognition of their service to vegetable and berry producers. Hamilton’s contributions have been integral to the health, vitality and growth of the berry and vegetable growing industries in the state.