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Merle Schotanus, Former USNH Trustee, Honored with Friend of Extension Award

August 25, 2010

Merle Schotanus, recent recipient of the “Friend of Extension” award, with John Pike, Cooperative Extension dean and director.

Merle Schotanus was honored recently with the UNH Cooperative Extension "Friend of Extension" award.

Schotanus, who served as a University System of New Hampshire trustee from 1998-2009, has been a supporter of Cooperative Extension for more than 30 years. A retired Army officer, Schotanus served 25 years before retiring in 1972 with the rank of colonel. When he retired from the service, he became a fruit grower as owner/operator of Sugar Springs Farm in Grantham.

During the years he operated his farm, he was recognized as the N.H. Tree Farmer of the Year and New England Tree Farmer of the Year. The N.H. Timberland Owners Association (NHTOA) declared him as the Outstanding Legislator of the Year in 1992.

He served as a New Hampshire state representative for 14 years, serving two terms on the House Environment and Agriculture Committee, four terms on the Appropriations Committee, and also on the Public Works and Highways Committee. He chaired the Sullivan County legislative delegation for 12 years and served as Republican floor leader or House Assistant Majority Whip for three terms.

Besides his extensive involvement with many organizations, including the NHTOA, the NH Farm Bureau, the Society for the Protection of NH Forests and the Nature Conservancy, three of his favorite organizations include the 4-H Foundation of New Hampshire, the Sullivan County Extension Advisory Council, and the State Extension Council, which he chaired for two years. He also was a 4-H member as a youth.

One of his most important roles for Cooperative Extension was serving as a member of a legislative study committee in 1994 that resulted in revised legislation for Cooperative Extension and new Memorandums of Understanding between Extension and county government.

Schotanus, who attended the summer outing with his wife, Helen, thanked the Extension staff for the award, from those who initially helped him when he started his farm through the following years. He continues to be a great supporter and friend of UNH Cooperative Extension.

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