Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Big Horn County Extension Agent Laurie Lautt holds her 2016 Buffalo Spirit Award, earned through her service in food safety training.

BHC Extension agent receives highest MSU accolade in time for retirement

Hardin resident Laurie Lautt recently was awarded the 2016 Silver Buffalo Award in recognition of her 37 years of service as a Big Horn County MSU Extension Agent – just in time for her planned retirement.

Along with various Montana State University Extension agents and staff, Lautt received her award during an annual conference in Bozeman.

“I never thought of ever receiving it,” said Lautt. “I was totally shocked, surprised, flattered and honored.”

Presented annually by Montana’s Joint Council of Extension Professionals, the Silver Buffalo Award is the MSU Extension’s highest accolade, honoring members for their exceptional service to the community.

In a letter of recommendation, Big Horn County commissioners commended Lautt as an “outstanding mentor, professional, teacher and colleague,” regarding her food safety service as “essential to the county.“

“The topic of food preservation is a passion for Laurie,” the letter of recommendation states. “Laurie has spent the last several decades teaching class discussing the importance of handling food correctly.”

Lautt’s service to the community includes educating the public on agriculture, and family and consumer science.

For Lautt, her position has provided an avenue to utilize her background in education, while also serving the community by “sharing valuable, constructive information.”

“In this career, I’ve been able to do so many things that I would not have had the opportunity to do otherwise,” Lautt said. “This has allowed me to really provide information and education on lots of topics that I would not have had an opportunity to do in a formal school classroom.”

“I get a really good feeling out of it when somebody calls for help and I’m able to answer their questions,” she continued. “There are a lot of little things that have gone in to make this a fun job.”

As an employee involved in the information industry, Lautt has recognized the “full-circle” of her work in witnessing the recurring growth of generations of families and 4-H students.

“That has been one of the things I’ve really enjoyed about this job,” Lautt said. “Seeing past 4-H kids bring their kids and their grandchildren back into 4-H is just very special and rewarding.”

An afternoon retirement party is scheduled from 1-3 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 22 in the Extension office at 317 N. Custer.