Farm bureau federation honors work for NH agriculture
By DAN SEUFERT
Union Leader Correspondent | November 11. 2012 9:51PM
John Porter of Boscawen was awarded the federation's 71st Profile Award for outstanding service to New Hampshire agriculture and rural life. The award was presented at the organization's annual meeting banquet Nov. 2 at the Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel.
According to the federation, Porter is a sixth-generation New Hampshire farmer "with a vast and extraordinary background in agriculture and community activities."
He grew up on a dairy farm in Lebanon. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1971 with a bachelor's degree in animal science. Porter later earned a master's degree in animal nutrition and a minor in Farm Management at Cornell University and a master's degree in education administration from Bob Jones University.
Porter and his wife, Martha, raised goats and sold milk from the house from their local home in 1977. He currently grows 500 pepper plants and sells peppers to restaurants as Porter's Perfect Peppers. He also sells potatoes and runs a pick-your-own blueberry business, according to the federation.
Porter is known for his work with UNH's Cooperative Extension as an area dairy agent and a state dairy specialist. Since retiring in 2006, he has been working part-time for UNH, and he is the sole proprietor of Farm Planning Services, a consulting business throughout the Northeast. He also serves the farming community and his local community on boards and committees.
"John has had a major impact to New Hampshire agriculture. The Profile Award is farm bureau's way of acknowledging and honoring his contributions," the federation said in a press release.
Meanwhile, Christopher and Danielle LaValley of Allenstown have been awarded the 2012 New Hampshire Young Farmer Achievement Award. The award is designed to recognize the efforts of young farmers in production agriculture and leadership roles.
The LaValleys purchased their farm stand on Route 3 in Hooksett in 2006 when they were both age 20. They have celebrated six successful seasons at the location. They grow a variety of produce and hire local workers.
Christopher LaValley is the co-founder and vice president of the New Hampshire Growers' Co-op, he is a board member on the Merrimack County Extension Advisory Council, a board member of the Hooksett Farmers' Market Committee, and mentor of the Pembroke Bridge Program.
The federation also announced that Valerie Drown of Webster won the Excellence in Agriculture Award, given to farmers ages 18 to 35 who do not derive the majority of their income from farming, but actively contribute to agriculture and to their community.
Drown grew up on a farm in Epping and currently works at Bohanan Dairy in Contoocook as a herder.