Johnston County Extension Agent Receives National Award

(Left to right) NACAA President Phil Durst presents the NACAA Distinguished Service Award to Dan Wells at the 2023 Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference in Des Moines, Iowa, Aug. 16, 2023. Mr. Wells is joined by his wife, Susan. Contributed Photo

DES MOINES, IA – Dan Wells received the Distinguished Service Award (DSA) from the National Association of County Agriculture Agents (NACAA) during the 2023 Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference in Des Moines, Iowa, on August 16. NACAA is a nation-wide professional Extension organization established for Extension Educators/Agents and other professionals who work in agriculture, horticulture, forestry and natural resources, 4-H youth development, community development, and related disciplines.

The DSA is conferred on members who have worked in Extension for at least ten years, are held in high esteem by their fellow workers, and have developed and put into effect an outstanding Extension program. Mr. Wells was one of several honorees who represent the top two percent of the membership selected by their peers.

Since 2010, Wells has served as Livestock Agent with NC Cooperative Extension in Johnston County. His Extension programs provides educational information in the areas of livestock and forage management, as well as overseeing the largest single-county youth livestock program in the state.

Over the course of his career, he has designed and installed demonstration plots of alfalfa-bermudagrass mixtures and forage herbicide treatments, and in 2016 he secured grant funding to make portable cattle handling equipment available to local farms. This equipment has been used throughout the county to help producers safely vaccinate, utilize pregnancy tests, and perform other management practices on thousands of cattle and calves.

Dan works closely with the Johnston County Cattlemen’s Association and the Johnston County Goat Producers Association to conduct educational programs. One example is the Johnston County Goat Producer’s Field Day, which has been attended by as many as 129 people per year.

Under Dan’s leadership and coaching, the Johnston County 4-H Livestock Judging team has notched multiple state wins, and he has twice served as assistant coach for North Carolina’s state 4-H team at the National 4-H Livestock Judging Contest.

Dan attended NC State University and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture Education and a Masters of Animal Science. He lives in Four Oaks with his wife Susan, daughter Anna, and stepson Jeffrey. Away from work, Dan enjoys playing bluegrass music, being active in his church and deer hunting.


  1. Well deserved! Me and my family learned to love and respect Dan as we dealt with him in the 4H program. He is such a fine gentlemen and holds nothing but respect. Great with young people in the Johnston County 4H program. Congratulations Dan!

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