2015 Recipient of the Arthur T. Potts Award
Barbara Storz is originally from Louisiana, and first visited the Valley in 1995 for a summer internship at the Texas A&M Kingsville Citrus Center. After completing her bachelor’s degree in agronomy and horticulture at Sam Houston State University, she returned to the Valley and registered for a master’s degree at Texas A&M Kingsville, studying at the Citrus Center under Drs Vic French and Mani Skaria. She graduated in 1998, and joined the Texas A&M Extension service the same year. She was based in the Hidalgo extension office, but could be found all over the county, promoting healthy living and gardening.
In 2000, she began the Junior Master Gardener Teacher Training program – approx. 800 teachers have helped over 13,000 children become certified as junior master gardeners. Her reach went beyond the Valley and the nation, with a master program being developed in Central America. Another accomplishment was the launching of farmers markets. In 2008, a market opened in San Juan, which was moved to McAllen where it thrives today.
Barbara was also an active member of the Rio Grande Valley Horticulture Society, and served on its board for many years. She single-handedly ran the evening program for many years which attracted many members of the public. In 2014 she retired from the AgriLife Extension Service, but continues to be highly active in the community. She has a weekly radio show on KURV (Agronomically Speaking), writes a newspaper column and promotes the farmer’s market.