Five people from Santa Cruz County were honored for their dedication and commitment to provide research-based knowledge to the agricultural community during the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ celebration of the 100th anniversary of Cooperative Extension.

Dan Bell, Janet Paz and Richard Harris (deceased) of Nogales, and Bill and Posy Piper of Patagonia were presented the awards at the Campus Agricultural Center in Tucson on May 8. Sherwood (Woodie) Wynans (deceased), also of Patagonia, was honored for his contributions in LaPaz County.

In all, more than 100 faculty and other individuals were recognized.

Bell is president of the ZZ Cattle Company north of Nogales, which was founded by his grandfather in 1930. He has served on the Cooperative Extension Advisory Board and is a supervisor of the Santa Cruz Natural Resource Conservation District.

Bell helped found the Restore Our Borders plan and has worked with ranchers, Border Patrol and state and national organizations to raise awareness of border issues. President of Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association since 2013, Bell has promoted range monitoring and encouraged beef producers to become active stewards of natural resources. He also hosts many Extension tours and meetings for schools and the public at his ranch.

Harris, who died in 2005, was a native of Santa Cruz County and a fourth-generation Arizonan on both sides of his family. He began his career as a county agricultural agent in 1968 in Navajo County, and returned to Nogales in 1973 where he served until retirement in 1997.

A horticulturalist, Harris helped introduce the first wine grapes to the Elgin area and conducted many field trips to agricultural areas of Mexico. He worked with 4-H students and founded the 2,000 by 2000 Foundation, dedicated to planting 2,000 trees across the county and into Mexico before the year 2000.

Paz arrived in Nogales in 1972, where she taught in the Nogales Unified School District. She was named extension home economist/4-H youth development agent in 1985, and worked closely with Young America Cares Leadership Program to sponsor a youth forum, which led to the formation of the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Cruz County.

In 1993, Paz moved to Tucson and worked at the UA Cooperative Extension, Pima County until her retirement.

Bill and Posy Piper have been 4-H leaders and mentors since they arrived in the county in 1952 to work for the Thurber & Herschede Hereford Ranch north of Sonoita. The couple served as leaders for the Elgin area Mustang 4-H Club for many years and Bill worked the 4-H livestock auctions spotting bids for many years during the county fair. Their children and grandchildren were all involved in 4-H activities and Posy says, “We are hoping our great-grandchildren will be able to participate in this wonderful program.”

Bill has served as president of the Society for Range Management for Arizona and Posy is a founder of the Ranchers Heritage Center at the old Nogales Courthouse.

The University of Arizona, as the state’s land-grant university, is home base for the Arizona Cooperative Extension service, established by the Smith Lever Act of l914. Each county throughout the state has one or more agents who are employed by UA to provide educational and technical support to the public in the fields of agriculture and home economics.

Photos courtesy UA Cooperative Extension