Robert Parsons was recently named the 36th recipient of the John C. Finley award, given annually by the Vermont Dairy Industry Association in January. The award was presented at the Vermont Farm Show at the Champlain Valley Fairgrounds in Essex, VT.
The award, named in honor of the late John Finley, a respected agricultural educator and Vermont community member, recognizes an individual who has performed distinguished service to Vermont Agriculture and exhibits the outstanding character and mental vigor exemplified by Finley.
"Bob is man I'm sure my dad would have been proud to have as a colleague and a friend," said Kate Finley Woodruff, an MPA Adjunct Professor and daughter of John Finley. Both John Finley and Parsons studied at Penn State University, received PhD's in Agricultural Economics, and had years of dedicated experience to the dairy industry, farm management and profitability.
Parsons' greatest contributions to the agricultural industry have been made in Vermont. His accomplishments include securing more than $8 million in grants, conducting agricultural research on turning cow manure into electricity, and evaluating Vermont grass-based livestock farm policy.
However, Parsons' agricultural economics work spans international boundaries, including Albania, Kenya and Zambia, where he worked with farmers on dairy management, increased profitability and financial training.
"I love my work because it ties together so many different aspects of the dairy sector, from technology and business to community planning," Parsons said. "It keeps what I do very refreshing."
Parsons currently teaches Agricultural Policy and Ethics in the Community Development and Applied Economics department.