Pennsylvania Association of County Agricultural Agents Recognize Honorary Agent
Posted: December 5, 2011
Paul W. Semmel and wife Nancy were met at the front of the room by PACAA president Bob Pollock (far left) and county educator Bob Leiby (far right), to receive the Honorary County Agent Award.
During the annual two-day meeting of the Pennsylvania Association of County Agricultural Agents (PACAA) on November 16-17, Paul W. Semmel was presented with the Honorary County Agent Award . The purpose of the award is to give recognition and show appreciation to an individual who has befriended the agricultural community through career efforts beyond Cooperative Extension.
Below is a brief synopsis of his effort in support and extraordinary effort for Pennsylvania Agriculture.
Paul grew up on the family farm near Schnecksville, Pennsylvania, graduated from Parkland High School and earned his Bachelor's degree in agriculture education from Penn State University.
After college, Paul returned to the family dairy farm. He considered looking for a job in Cooperative Extension, but an opportunity rose for him to teach science at Catasauqua High School, which he did for 15 years while he was an active farmer. Paul and his wife Nancy co-own and operate Excelsior Farm which has 200 registered Holsteins and a few Brown Swiss dairy cows and he farms 220 acres.
In 1981, Paul decided to run for public office as the State Representative for Pennsylvania's 187th legislative district. Paul served on the House Agriculture, Appropriations, Commerce and Consumer Affairs committees. Later he became chair of House Veterans' Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee.
During his tenure in the Pennsylvania House, Paul always was highly supportive of Penn State agricultural budgets and programs.
Paul has always had a strong commitment to support Pennsylvania agriculture and agriculture educational programs. Paul took every opportunity to stress how important agriculture was in Pennsylvania. He served 24 years as a member of the Commonwealth's House of Representatives.
Paul provided leadership over his entire career to promote agriculture and Extension programs. He served as a 4-H leader in the Lehigh County 4-H Dairy Club for 20 years. His wife, Nancy, co-chaired the Lehigh County Farm Safety Day Camp for over ten years, and Paul could always be found helping to manage this event. He is an active participant in many local Extension programs.
Currently Paul is Vice President of the Lehigh County Extension Association Board and an active member of Penn State Extension Council where he has been contacting Pennsylvania legislators to urge them to support Ag Research and Extension initiatives.
Over the years, Paul has worked closely with Extension Agents and Educators. Just this spring, he organized a group of dairy farmers to meet with Extension Educator John Berry to learn about new marketing opportunities.
Paul's work helped fund a 4-H and youth livestock building at the Schnecksville Fair which bears his name.
An active Farm Bureau member, Paul received Pennsylvania's Distinguished Service to Agriculture award in 2007. On the local level, he served as Lehigh County Farm Bureau President and Legislative Coordinator.
Paul was a founding father of the Donald E. Evans Scholarship at Penn State University and was instrumental in establishing four scholarships in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State.
Paul is providing leadership for the Pennsylvania Holstein Association to begin a two year study to keep the Pennsylvania dairy industry viable into the future. He also chairs the Pennsylvania Holstein Association's History Committee.
Paul's leadership as a Pennsylvania farmer, Pennsylvania House of Representatives member, teacher, and volunteer exemplify the ideals of the Honorary County Agent Award.