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Home > About > Agricultural Adventurers > Agricultural Adventurers Award Recipients > 2023 John C. Porter

2023 John C. Porter

Boscawen, NH, Extension Dairy Specialist Emeritus

John C. Porter had a long career as an agricultural extension educator and as a visionary agricultural preservationist who has inspired countless people to learn about and steward our region’s agricultural history and resources.

Porter grew up on a small dairy farm in the hills of Lebanon, NH, attended the University of New Hampshire, earned his master’s degree from Cornell, and joined UNH Cooperative Extension where he spent his life-long career helping to support New Hampshire farm families.

From the beginning, and continuing long after his official “retirement,” he has been a steadfast and innovative supporter of New England farmers and agriculture. Going above the normal call of duty for a typical “Extension Agent,” he formed partnerships and devised creative solutions to meet the needs of dairy farmers in an era of ever-shrinking budgets.

Porter is a regional leader with the Northeast Dairy Practices Council, serving the dairy industry nationwide. He also coordinates the New England Green Pastures program, which recognizes each state’s “Outstanding Dairy Farm of the Year,” and culminates in the annual awards banquet at Eastern States Exposition. He is a long-serving board member of the NH Farm Show, now known as the “New Hampshire Farm, Forest & Garden Expo.” Porter has also been on the board of the Granite State Dairy Promotion for many years, which handles the milk promotion funds for New Hampshire. He presently serves in an ex-officio capacity.

He has never forgotten his humble farming roots, and has always remained relatable to farmers in the state. He has a special passion for helping farmers solve facilities needs, whether addressing a particular problem in a barn, or evaluating and planning renovation, expansion, or new construction options.

Porter’s broad expertise made him a sought-after on-farm consultant for a myriad of topics, from business development to strategic planning and estate planning. Porter has always recognized and valued the roles that wives and daughters have played on family farms and has always fully included and listened to the younger generations on the farms he visits. He is aware of the challenges of family business dynamics and the importance of building and maintaining sound working relationships among all family members involved with the farm.

He applied his strengths as an educator and communicator to promote the appreciation and preservation of historic barns. He is the author of Preserving Old Barns: Preventing the Loss of a Valuable Resource: Porter, John; Gilman, Francis; Fewster, Lowell H: 9781942155249: Amazon.com: Books

Porter has worked tirelessly to educate farmers and non-farmers alike about the importance of historic agricultural structures to our landscape. He has presented public educational programs in multiple locations every year and partners with historical societies, heritage commissions, and agricultural commissions to bring these issues to the public in an engaging way.

He currently chairs New Hampshire’s State Historic Agricultural Structures Advisory Committee, which brings together representatives from state government, farm organizations, and the historic preservation community. For him, it is all about education: Explaining to political leaders why these things matter, building relationships between preservation professionals and property owners of all types, and most importantly educating the owners of historic buildings.

He has also traveled to neighboring states to give talks and presentations as well as to consult with farmers on their facilities and infrastructure challenges. Renowned as a knowledgeable, valued expert in his field, he is humble, modest, and passionate about helping others.

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