In order to receive the W.W. Shay Award, one must exhibit outstanding service to the pork industry, and throughout her career, Charmae Kendall of Magnolia has done just that.

In the words of her nominator, Morris Murphy, “Charmae Kendall is arguably one of extension’s most valuable employees, and certainly one of the hardest working. The drive and hard work that she puts in to teaching youth about the agriculture industry is unmatched. She never sits down until all of the work is done, frequently giving more of herself than what is expected.”

Originally from Indiana, Kendall and her husband moved to North Carolina for his career, and in the move, she found a home with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. Initially working with the Sampson County Extension Office, she worked to accelerate their youth livestock program before moving to the Duplin County office where she continues to share her passion for agriculture.

Kendall uses her skills to connect with youth and educate them about livestock. She plays a key role in the Duplin Grows event, where she and other volunteers provide every third-grade student in Duplin County Public Schools the opportunity to interact with local agribusiness professionals while gaining exposure to agriculture. During the spring and summer months, you can often find her taking students around the state to farms where they learn how to judge livestock in preparation for 4-H judging contests.

One Kendall’s most-known projects is the Duplin County 4-H Pig Project. This project, now in its fifth year, is a partnership with Smithfield Hog Production in which 40 local children are introduced to the swine industry as they learn how to care for and show pigs over an eight-week period. At the end of the project, the pigs are shown at the Coastal Plains Livestock Show and Sale. Without her creativity and determination, projects like this would not be possible.