Foundation Awards


Each year at the Minnesota Farm Bureau Annual Meeting, the Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation recognizes the outstanding contributions of four professionals in the agriculture industry. Awards are presented to an Agriculture Communicator of the Year, Extension Educator of the Year, FFA Advisor of the Year and Post-Secondary Educator of the Year. For a list of previous award winners, visit the link below.

2017 Foundation Award Applications

The deadline for submitting applications is September 15. Winners will be notified by mail in October and recognized at the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in Bloomington on November 17. For more information contact Ruth Meirick at or 651-768-2115.

2016 Agriculture Communicator of the Year

The Agriculture Communicator of the Year award was given to Jerry Groskreutz of KDHL in Faribault. This award is presented because an important mission of Farm Bureau is to inform the public about its policy positions and to tell agriculture’s story.

Since 1995 Jerry Groskreutz has been the farm broadcaster at KDHL radio in Faribault. He cover’s Farm Bureau’s Washington D.C. trips, annual meetings and Days on the Hill interviewing those who participate. Jerry can be found at farm safety events, Farm Bureau’s Food Awareness events and county fairs throughout southeastern Minnesota. Jerry and his Louise, live and farm near Wells and they have two adult children.

“I am humbled and honored to receive this recognition,” said Jerry. “I am also touched by the members of Farm Bureau that said congratulations and ‘thank you for what you do.’”

2016 Extension Educator of the Year

The Extension Educator of the Year award was given to Troy Salzer of Barnum. This award recognizes the important role that extension educators play in helping farmers keep up-to-date on new technology and training future agricultural leaders.

Troy has served as the Agricultural Extension Educator in Carlton and working in Northeastern Minnesota for more than 19 years. His programming focuses on farm profitability, environmental impact and social sustainability. In addition, his family also farms raising beef cow/calf pairs. Troy and his wife Christine, live near Barnum.

“It is a great honor to receive this award due to the respect I have for what Farm Bureau stands for, and the issues worked on,” said Salzer. “I appreciate the cooperation that I get for programming and promotion in support of farmer education.”

2016 FFA Advisor of the Year

The FFA Advisor of the Year award was given to Nathan Purrington. This award recognizes the important role these professionals play in developing agricultural leaders for tomorrow.

Nathan was an FFA Advisor and agriculture education instructor for the Ada High School for the past 28 years. He now works at the University of Minnesota – Crookston in the Agriculture Systems Management program and Agriculture Education program where he works with the Collegiate FFA as co-advisor. Nathan and his wife Sherry, live on the farm that Nathan grew up on near Ada.

“I feel very honored to receive this award. Working with young adults in both high school and college has been such an awesome privilege which I have loved and will always treasure. I have been blessed to have had great students who mean the world to me,” said Purrington. “I am passionate about agriculture and love working with students. Agriculture has a bright future, and I am proud to be a part of it.”

2016 Post-Secondary Educator of the Year

The Post-Secondary Educator of the Year award was given to Jennifer Smith of Kenyon. This award recognizes the educators supporting all of us in production agriculture and the important role these professionals play.

Jennifer is in her 9th year teaching as a farm business management instructor at Riverland Community College. Jennifer provides estate planning programs, risk management planning for farmers, commodity and agriculture technology workshops to name a few. Jennifer has led and coordinated the Annie’s Project, a program where women learn about farm financials and about agriculture in their community. Prior to serving in this role, she was an agriscience teacher in Hutchinson. She has been active in the Minnesota Association of Agricultural Educators, and on the Kenyon-Wanamingo School Board. Jennifer and her family reside near Kenyon on a hobby farm.

“This is a great honor, and I am very excited to receive this award. It is extra special to be nominated by the county Farm Bureau and selected by the state,” said Jennifer. “Agricultural education is more than a job. It is a passion and a lifestyle to educate and help in agriculture.”