Everyone has a hero and for land grant universities, such as Prairie View A&M University Cooperative Extension Program, the unsung heroes are county agents. Extension is the mode for progressive change, but the budgetary environmental restrictions moved extension to economic stagnation. But that stagnation did not hinder Vidal Saenz, who was recognized by administration and peers for his community involvement, leadership and financial prudence.
The optimistic mindset is the life of a county agent, built with a commitment to serve residents through long work hours and a variety of programs. Thus, Saenz embeds that life as he strategically developed the Small Farm Outreach Training and Technical Assistance Program. Mainly catering to agricultural producers, small business owners, and other members of the public, his dedication to assist is a welcoming relief to the entire community.
His commitment to the Rio Grande Valley community is so much a part of his identity that Saenz garnered nearly five million dollars in loan assistance for over 45 producers. Everything he does, someway, somehow, positively touches the lives of his clients. For instance, he saves producers over $135,000.00, acts as a liaison between producers, USDA and other loan agencies while training the youth on financial literacy. He spearheaded countless workshops for ranchers, farmers, master gardeners and other professions based on need assessment.
Because he represents the entire community in his efforts, he has the reputation as the community resource. As such, he has put his knowledge to paper and published articles for the Rio Grande Valley newspapers and regional magazines, The Gulf Coast Cattlemen and AgriLife Today, respectively.
It does not matter if he receives a call from a 4-H youth that needs help with a livestock project, gardeners that need an expert’s advice, a frustrated rancher with a noxious weed problem or a thousand other issues, Saenz is there to help. His guidance and leadership has helped many learn valuable lessons and achieve success.
Saenz truly enhances the quality of life for residents in the counties he serves and brings a wealth of knowledge of the university to local communities. PVAMU CEP agents help diverse populations of Texas adapt to rapid societal changes and improve their lives and communities with educational activities that uses science based knowledge.
By Staff Writer: Kelley A. Redmon