Carmen Westerfield, District Conservationist for both the Lamar County and Towaliga Soil and Water Conservation Districts, was one of five national finalists for the Hugh Hammond Bennett Conservation Planner Award. This national award is given to an individual who demonstrates a high standard of conservation planning and implementation for customers as well as sharing his/her expertise with others. Recognizing the leadership and dedication of Hugh Hammond Bennett, the father of the modern soil conservation movement and the first Chief of the Soil Conservation Service (now the Natural Resources Conservation Service), the Hugh Hammond Bennett Award for Conservation Excellence recognizes individuals at the local, state and the national level for extraordinary achievements in and contributions to the soil and water conservation movement in the United States.These awards recognize producers and conservation planners from within the National Conservation Planning Partnership (NCPP) who have exemplified outstanding service through development and implementation of sound conservation planning and other conservation techniques.’¨’In the local agricultural community, there are not many people who don’t know ‘Ms. Carmen.’ She is widely recognized as a knowledgeable conservation and resource planner whose goal it is to provide the best customer service to her producers. One of the first things you see when you walk into the local field office is a plaque and ‘trophy’ touting 2019 Field Office of the Year for Georgia. This is a field office she has supervised for the past two decades,’ said Wesley Doyle, District Program Coordinator. ‘It would be fair to say that Mrs. Westerfield’s strong partnerships with her local districts led to one of these districts receiving the GACD (Georgia Association of Conservation Districts) 2019 District of the Year award. The Towaliga district is the most recent recipient, but it can’t be left out that the Lamar County SWCD has acquired the same distinction in years past under Ms. Westerfield’s guidance.’ Most recently, under her guidance and encouragement, the Lamar County SWCD was awarded a USDA/NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant where they presented a 10-month long Beef Cattle 101 Series to interested local producers. This is the first comprehensive program of its kind in the state of Georgia.’¨Past awards bestowed upon Ms. Westerfield include the State of Georgia House of Representatives 904 Award for continued service to the City of Barnesville and Lamar County, Georgia NRCS Conservation Communicator of the Year, Dr. O.E. Sell Award from the Mid-GA Cattlemen’s Association, and the GACDS Award for Superior Professional Support to Conservation Districts.