Minnesota Farm Bureau Honors Agricultural Leaders at 97th Annual Meeting

Recognizing people who have given of their time and talents to agriculture was the focus of the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) Awards Banquet held Friday, November 20, during the 97th Annual Meeting at the Doubletree Hotel in Bloomington. The awards banquet included both individual and county honors in a variety of categories.

The Distinguished Service to Agriculture award is presented annually to outstanding leaders of agriculture in the state of Minnesota. The award is one of the most prestigious awards given by the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation. This year’s award recipients were Jim Ertl - Minnesota FFA Association executive secretary, Dr. Jim Orf – University of Minnesota professor of research and education in soybean genetics and breeding, and Al Withers – Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom executive director.

Honorary Life awards are bestowed onto lifelong members who have given enormous amounts of their time and talents to Farm Bureau. Minnesota Farm Bureau is truly grateful for all the dedication that its members give to our organization. This year’s Honorary Life award recipients were Robert and Linda Holmgren of Little Falls in Morrison County, Marvin Johnson of Independence in Hennepin County and Verne and Wilma Deen Long of Pipestone in Pipestone County.

 The Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation presented awards in the following areas:

The Ag Communicator of the Year award is presented to an outstanding leader in the field of communications. This year the award was presented to Courtnay Doyle from Faribault County and farm director at Digity Farm Network

The Extension Educator of the Year award is given to an extension educator who gives his/her time to promote agriculture and Farm Bureau. This year the award was presented to Nathan Winter from McLeod and Meeker Counties.

The FFA Advisor of the Year award is presented to an FFA Advisor who has exemplified outstanding service to educating youth about agriculture. This year the award was presented to Brad Harguth from Caledonia High School.

The Post-Secondary Agricultural Educator of the Year award recognizes educators supporting production agriculture. This year the award was presented to Don Hermanson from South Central College in Mankato. 

Four $500 Al Christopherson Scholarships were presented from the Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation. Recipients are college juniors or seniors or in their final year of college. This year’s recipients are Rebecca Church of Washington-Ramsey County daughter of Russ and Ann Church; Erin Larson of Waseca County daughter of Cary and Connie Larson; Katie Schmitt of Benton County daughter of Mark and Natalie Schmitt; and Megan Williams of Lyon County daughter of Scott and Terri Williams.

Two $500 Paul Stark Scholarships were presented from the Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation. Recipients are in their freshman or sophomore year of college. This year’s recipients are Rebekah Aanerud from Stevens County daughter of Andy and Heather Aanerud and Abbey Weninger of Wright County daughter of James and Lisa Weninger.

The most prestigious county Farm Bureau award, the Presidents’ Award of Exemplary Achievement was presented five key areas – Public Policy, Public Relations, Promotion & Education, Leadership Development and Membership Initiatives.

In the county membership group of less than 200 members, the awards were presented to Cass County – Public Relations, Leadership Development and Membership Initiatives; Crow Wing County – Public Policy; and Watonwan County – Promotion & Education.

In the group of 201-450 members, the awards went to Dodge County – Public Relations, Leadership Development and Membership Initiatives; and Steele County – Public Policy and Promotion & Education.

In the group with more than 451 members, the award went to Waseca County - Promotion & Education and Membership Initiatives; and Winona County – Public Policy, Public Relations and Leadership Development.

The MFBF 97th Annual Meeting concludes Saturday, November 21 with the announcement of the Young Farmers & Ranchers awards.


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