Alumni Receives Service Award
Billy Kniffen (71) Receives Regents Fellow Service Award
The Texas A&M University System's Board of Regents recently named Billy Kniffen with the Service Award. Kniffen earned his B.S. in Animal Science from ACU and went on to earn a M.S. in Agriculture Education from Tarleton in 1989. The award is presented to honor service, extension and research professionals within the agricultural and engineering agencies who have provided exemplary professional service to society that has created large and lasting benefits to Texas and beyond.
Billy Kniffen, County Extension Agent - Agriculture and Natural Resources, Menard County has served as an Extension agent for over 24 years. He has served in the counties of Menard, Hays, DeWitt, San Saba and Nueces. Previously, Billy has owned a farm and ranch supply store and managed a ranch. He is recognized as one of the premier natural resource and water conservation educators in Texas.
Scott Durham, district Extension administrator at San Angelo, said Kniffen is best known for his educational efforts in restoring degraded rangelands and developing water harvesting techniques for rangeland managers and homeowners. "While an agent in Hays County, Billy helped establish a water conservation district on the Edwards Aquifer, one of the most important and sensitive water resources in Texas," Durham said. "The popularity of rainwater harvesting brought about by Kniffen's educational efforts resulted in property tax incentives for Hays County residents who installed home rainwater harvesting systems. The Texas Legislature has now removed all state sales taxes for materials used to build rainwater harvesting systems."
Kniffen is a Hunter Safety Instructor for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Service. He has authored and co-authored a number of water harvesting publications and teaching modules, has delivered many presentations across Texas and the nation, and serves on advisory committees of several organizations.
In Menard, Kniffen serves on the Commissioners Court, helping secure almost $2 million in grants and loans for an activity center.
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