Rebecca B. Bates of Brookhaven is the inaugural selection for the newly endowed Travis Tadlock Outstanding Extension Agent Award at Mississippi State University.
Bates, county agent/coordinator in Lincoln County for the past seven years, received the honor during the recent annual MSU Extension Service conference.
An MSU alumna, Bates is a 1987 agriculture graduate who went on to complete her master’s degree in horticulture two years later.
She previously was with extension’s Ag Incubator Project in Winston and Kemper counties. She also was among the first area agents for the Mississippi capital area that includes Hinds, Rankin and Madison counties.
“My selection for the Travis Tadlock Outstanding Extension Agent Award is a tremendous honor because it was presented personally by Travis Tadlock,” Bates said.
“The award is a celebration of his professional legacy to the extension service, and I am honored to continue to carry the torch he extends to the community in all that he continues to do on behalf of our state’s extension service and his local community,” she added.
Tadlock’s daughter, Susan Tadlock Williams, established the endowment to salute extension activities in Mississippi.
“As a former extension agent, I am honoring a retired extension agent, my dad, with this endowment and allowing MSU to award Rebecca Bates as a current extension agent for a job well done,” said Williams, a Shenandoah, Texas, resident.
“My dad is a humble, selfless man, and I believe this is a fitting way to honor his life’s work,” Williams said. “Also, I wanted to thank him for putting me on a path toward a fulfilling career.”
Travis Tadlock, 91, is a longtime Brookhaven resident. Following naval military service in World War II, the Lorena native enrolled at then-Mississippi State College and earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture administration in 1948. He completed a master’s degree in extension education from MSU in 1969.
Tadlock began his extension career in Lincoln County as an assistant county agent with responsibilities for 4-H. He later was promoted to county agent.
During his tenure there, Tadlock was cited for outstanding service, including leading the Lincoln County staff to a U.S. Department of Agriculture superior service award; receiving the Distinguished Service award of the National Association of County Agriculture Agents; and serving as president of the Mississippi Association of County Agriculture Agents. He retired in 1978 following a more than 30-year career, all in Lincoln County.
Bates also has family ties to Mississippi State. She was reared in Starkville, where her parents, Bill and Marilynn Boyd, were university employees and still reside. Bill Boyd is a retired agronomy professor; Marilynn Boyd, a former member of the extension service’s audiovisual library staff.
Extension service officials said future selections for the Tadlock Award will be based, as it was with Bates, on an individual’s contributions to MSU’s extension mission. The recognition also will continue be presented annually at the extension service conference on campus.
In his remarks at the awards program, director Gary B. Jackson noted the MSU Extension Service “has been a huge success as a part of the land-grant university mission for almost 100 years.
“Our success in delivering educational programs to adults and 4-H youth has resulted from the past extension employees, like Travis Tadlock, who dedicated their lives to providing these educational programs in rural communities,” Jackson said.
“Travis is one of those individuals who took Mississippi State educational programming to the local people,” the extension leader added. “We are honored to have his name on our Outstanding Extension Agent Award to recognize those who are following in his steps as an excellent educator and leader, and it is very fitting Rebecca Bates is the first recipient of this award.”
The MSU Extension Service has a presence in all 82 counties of the state.