MSU Extension Agents Recognized for Statewide Impacts in Pesticide Education

by Brett McRae

BOZEMAN — The Montana State University Extension Pesticide Education Program, or PEP, has recognized two MSU Extension agents for their exceptional efforts educating agricultural producers, land managers and pesticide applicators across the state and promoting the proper use of pesticides to protect public health and the environment.

The MSU PEP presented the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award to Tyler Lane, Chouteau County Extension agriculture and 4-H agent, and the 2023 Early Achievement Award to Kaleena Miller, Madison-Jefferson counties Extension agriculture and natural resources agent. Both were nominated by peers within MSU Extension.

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an individual’s efforts in statewide pesticide education over at least 15 years. The recipient must have been with MSU Extension for at least five years and demonstrate at least 15 total years of exceptional impacts.

Lane grew up on a farm and ranch near Molt and started working with MSU Extension in 2001. He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanized agriculture from MSU and a master’s degree in entomology from the University of Nebraska. According to his nomination materials, his career has prioritized farming and ranching programming through the Chouteau County Extension Agricultural Advisory Council, teaching Master Gardener programs and facilitating the Chouteau County 4-H Livestock program. Lane teaches producers to implement integrated pest management for the most problematic pests in the area. He also manages the pesticide container recycling site at Fort Benton, assists neighboring Weed Control Association offices with annual pesticide recertification programs and teaches hunter safety classes about how to minimize noxious weed spread.

The Early Achievement Award is given to an individual demonstrating exceptional efforts and impacts in pesticide education in their first five years with MSU Extension.

Miller grew up outside New York City and started her career with the Alternative Energy Resources Organization and the National Center for Appropriate Technology. She moved to Montana in 2011 as an AmeriCorps service member and started working with MSU Extension in 2019. Miller has a bachelor’s degree in environmental economics from the University of Rhode Island and a master’s in environmental policy from Bard College. Award nominators said she has strong partnerships with the Jefferson County Weed District, the Madison County Weed District and the Weed Committee of the Madison Valley Ranchlands Group. She also routinely engages with new landowners in Madison and Jefferson counties and hosts education courses with local groups, including initial private applicator trainings and small acreage land management workshops.

The MSU Pesticide Education Program “relies on the skill sets and experience of veteran Extension agents, as well as the enthusiasm of our newer agents to promote proper pesticide use throughout the state,” said Cecil Tharp, MSU Extension pesticide education specialist. “Having Extension agents like Tyler and Kaleena boosts the knowledge, expertise and education of pesticide applicators in Montana.”

The MSU Extension Pesticide Education Program offers guidance to pesticide applicators while coordinating the certification and training of certified farm private applicators across Montana. For more information on the program, visit Future pesticide education nominations may be sent to Cecil Tharp at


MSU News Service

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