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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 18, 2022) — A University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment professor recently garnered national recognition for her work. Alison Davis, extension professor in the UK Department of Agricultural Economics and executive director of the Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky (CEDIK), received the 2022 Excellence in Extension for an Individual award. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and Cooperative Extension gives the award to recognize a cooperative extension professional who excels at science-based programming, provides visionary leadership and makes a positive impact on their constituents.  

“This award is truly an honor because community and economic development extension is a relatively small extension program area around the nation and it’s wonderful to receive recognition for my work, but most importantly it highlights the value of the work of my staff as well as my colleagues around the country,” Davis said. 

Davis leads a team of 15 engagement and research staff to support CEDIK’s five priority areas: economic development, leadership development, community health, art engagement and community design. Davis has attracted more than $15 million in funding from federal agencies including the USDA, Appalachian Regional Commission, Health and Human Services and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.   

In 2020, she led a statewide Economic Recovery and Resiliency Program designed to support economic development professionals, small businesses and communities as they rebound from COVID-19. She facilitated the distribution of nearly $1 million in grants to Kentucky businesses and communities to support their recovery from the loss of revenues resulting from COVID-19. She now leads similar efforts supporting disaster relief and recovery for businesses and communities that have been destroyed by Kentucky’s recent natural disasters.  

“Because of COVID-19 and the extreme weather events around the Commonwealth, our work has been challenging and at times, it felt like it was time to throw up the white flag,” Davis said. “This recognition brings new energy and hope.”