Dr. E. Nelson Escobar, (right) associate dean for UMES Extension and small ruminant extension specialist, accepts the 2023 Honorary County Ag Agent award from Sarah Hirsh, president of the Maryland Association of County Agricultural Agents. (Photo credit Todd Dudek, UMES Ag Communications)

The Maryland Association of County Agricultural Agents recognized Dr. E. Nelson Escobar as its 2023 Honorary Ag Agent. Escobar received the award at a surprise presentation during the University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s 20th annual Small Farm Conference luncheon on Nov. 3.

He is applauded for his dedication to the 1890 land-grant mission, the university, and the extension system.

Escobar was nominated by UMES Extension colleagues for “setting an example of tireless service in extension, teaching, and research.”

He has carried out multiple roles as the associate dean for UMES Extension over the past three years and as a small ruminant extension specialist.

Dr. E. Nelson Escobar (Photo credit Todd Dudek, UMES Ag Communications)

“Dr. Escobar has been serving the needs of Maryland’s sheep and goat producers since his arrival at UMES in 2009,” said Berran Rogers, coordinator for UMES’ Small Farm Program. “When it comes to UMES Extension, if it’s for our stakeholders, Dr. Escobar is on board!”

Escobar has specialized and conducted training in integrated gastrointestinal parasite management, the use of Controlled Internal Drug Release for estrus synchronization, the management and nutrition of pregnant does and ewes, and best practices for increasing survival of lambs and kids.

As Escobar came to the podium in acceptance of his award, he shared an anecdote of Rogers making sure he would be there for the surprise presentation.

“I told him it’s breeding season on the farm, so I don’t know, we’re a little busy. When he said there’s lunch, I told him I would be there.” On a more serious note, Escobar expressed his appreciation for the recognition and said, “I think that I will keep doing what I’m doing for a while longer.”

Escobar holds graduate degrees from the University of Maryland, College Park. He has developed an academic and professional career with small ruminants in Texas and Oklahoma in addition to Maryland.

Prior to his UMES post, he was the leader of Langston University’s Extension Goat and Small Farm programs. Escobar also served as the executive director of the USDA Advisory Committee on Small Farms and as a research scientist at the International Dairy Goat Research Center at Prairie View A&M University.

Escobar has been the grant recipient for research and extension activities on the performance of sheep and goats in the management of unwanted vegetation, forage utilization, and food safety.

He served two years on the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education’s administrative council and currently holds membership in the American Society of Animal Science, the International Goat Association, and the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control.

Gail Stephens, agricultural communications, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences, UMES Extension, gcstephens@umes.edu, 410-621-3850.

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