Lindquist receives highest honor from MSU Extension

REED CITY — One of Osceola County's most knowledgeable people regarding all things agriculture is receiving the highest award and recognition from Michigan State University Extension.

Jerry Lindquist, grazing and crop management educator at Osceola County MSUE, is the recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Service to MSU Extension Award.

"This is the highest honor given to MSU Extension professional staff members," said MSUE Director Ray Hammerschmidt. "We could spend an entire evening talking about Jerry’s outreach, partnership and engagement efforts, and about his programs, accomplishments and service in agriculture and agribusiness."

The award isn't given annually and is only given to MSUE professional staff members with at least 20 years of service who have consistently exhibited leadership, service and excellence in program planning, evaluation, delivery or administration.

Lindquist was nominated by fellow MSUE staff member Shari Spoelman and gained more support from other individuals throughout the county.  He was finally selected for the award by a committee and MSUE administration.

"It's an honor, there's no doubt," Lindquist said of the accomplishment. "It's nice to be recognized."

Lindquist has served for 34 years with Osceola County MSUE, starting out as the agricultural agent for Osceola and Lake counties, then served as the Osceola County MSUE Director for 19 years, then moved to his current position, where he's worked for the last three to four years. He also assists the 4-H program.

"It's been a good career for me," he said. "Osceola County is my home county, so I was very fortunate to get the job up here and I've been here ever since. I enjoy watching things grow, whether it's crops, animals or even people in their knowledge. The part I like is helping people learn more about how to raise their produce."

He received his bachelors and masters degrees from MSU for agricultre education and even taught high school agriculture for two years in Charlotte prior to taking the job in the Osceola County office. Now his family lives on the farm he grew up on, raises beef cattle and goats and grows their own hay to feed their animals.

Lindquist's knowledge about the county's $64 million agricultural industry is extensive, and he often assists farming families with expansion, dealing with bankruptcy or financial difficulty, or working to solve a disease problem in crops and herds.

He hopes he's made an impact in the last 34 years while also expanding his local knowledge.

"I learn every day," Lindquist said. "There's always new things in agriculture and it's always interesting to come to work because there's always a new question someone poses that hasn't ever come up before, so you have to research it."