Commissioner's Distinguished Service Award

Dean Hannah Carter Honored with DACF Commissioner's Distinguished Service Award

Augusta, Maine - The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) today announced Dean Hannah Carter, Ph.D., Associate Provost for Online and Continuing Education and Dean of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension (UMaine Extension), has been named the recipient of the 2024 DACF Commissioner's Distinguished Service Award. This respected honor recognizes her outstanding contributions to the UMaine Extension's mission and exemplary leadership in education, applied research, and scholarship. Dean Carter's leadership has contributed significantly to supporting, sustaining, and growing Maine's food-based economy and empowering the state's youth through 4-H.

The DACF Commissioner's Distinguished Service Award is the highest agriculture sector recognition in the state, annually celebrating individuals who demonstrate exceptional dedication and outstanding contributions to preserving Maine's farm culture, heritage, and future.

"On behalf of DACF staff and Maine's agricultural community, which knows and values Dean Carter's role and contributions, I am delighted to honor her with this year's Commissioner Distinguished Service Award," commented DACF Commissioner Amanda Beal. "Her leadership, commitment, and dedication to the University of Maine and the people of Maine have set a superb standard for excellence. This recognition is a testament to her lasting contributions and positive impact on Cooperative Extension's mission and our state as a whole." 

"I’m incredibly honored by this recognition from Commissioner Beal and I look forward to continuing our strong collaborations between DACF and UMaine Cooperative Extension as we work to not only meet the challenges facing the Maine agricultural industry but also ensuring it remains a vital piece of Maine's future," Dean Hannah Carter.

As Dean, Dr. Carter serves as the chief executive officer of UMaine Extension, reporting directly to the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. With a deep commitment to the State of Maine and beyond, she provides strategic guidance, oversees fiscal responsibilities, manages staffing and personnel matters, and ensures compliance with university-wide policies. Hannah also plays a pivotal role in fostering diversity and inclusion, staff development, and maintaining productive relationships with the Maine government, industry, and public stakeholders.

"We're proud of Dean and Associate Provost Carter for earning this well-deserved and prestigious award, and grateful for all of her hard work to strengthen and grow Maine's agriculture economy and rural communities," commented  Joan Ferrini-Mundy, President of UMaine and Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation for the University of Maine System. "In particular, Hannah's dedication to engaging and educating future generations of STEM leaders and innovators through Extension's 4H programs has positively impacted the futures of tens of thousands of Maine youth. Her expertise and leadership are also crucial in preparing Maine's agricultural industry for future challenges, whether it be climate change or PFAS, and in empowering all Mainers who wish to farm, garden, and preserve their own food. We look forward to what she will accomplish next."

Hannah holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Leadership from the University of Florida (2004), an M.S. in Extension Education (1999), also from the University of Florida, and a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Maine at Presque Isle (1995).

Her dedication to leadership and educational excellence extends beyond the university, as she is a member of the International Leadership Association, highlighting her commitment to advancing leadership knowledge and practice on a broad scale.

About the University of Maine Cooperative Extension

With a presence in every corner of the state through 16 county offices, research farms, 4-H camps, learning centers, and online platforms, UMaine Extension stands as the largest outreach component of the University of Maine. As a robust link to communities, UMaine Extension facilitates access to research-based information, education, and services, striving to enhance the well-being of Maine residents. Impactful initiatives include the state's leading out-of-school youth program, 4-H, empowering young individuals for future success. Additionally, commitment extends to supporting the state's food-based economy, providing valuable programs in nutrition education, fostering healthy families and communities, and contributing to the aquaculture industry. UMaine Extension's website network receives millions of views annually through extensive digital outreach, offering over 700 free downloadable research-based publications. 

For more information about Dean Hannah Carter and the important work of the UMaine Extension, please visit


Dean Hannah Carter receiving her award

(Left to right) DACF Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources Director Craig Lapine, DACF Deputy Commissioner Nancy McBrady, DACF Commissioner Amanda Beal, UMaine Extension Dean Hannah CarterAlexandra Weeks (Hannah's big sister), and University of Maine Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost John Volin.

Commissioner's Distinguished Service Award Recipients