Each year at the Minnesota Farm Bureau Annual Meeting, the Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation recognizes the outstanding contributions of four professionals in agriculture. 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.
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 21. For more information contact Ruth Meirick at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-768-2115.
The Agriculture Communicator of the Year award was given to Joe Gill, KASM-Albany. 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.
Gill has been at KASM Radio in Albany since 1999 and is only their second farm broadcaster in the station’s history. Gill is currently serving as west region vice president on the National Association of Broadcasting Board of Directors and supports many Minnesota commodity organizations. He serves on the Stearns County Farm Bureau Board of Directors and helped to start their local FFA alumni chapter. He and his wife Denise have two children.
The Extension Faculty and Staff of the Year award was given to Marcia Woeste of the Brainerd regional office. 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.
Woeste has been an Extension educator since 1977, beginning her career in Todd County before moving to the Brainerd regional office in 2002. Her work involves overseeing animal science programming in northern Minnesota and the 4-H operations serving 35 counties. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Stout and is from Long Prairie. Marcia has three married children and seven grandchildren.
The FFA Advisor of the Year award was given to Shawn Linder. This award recognizes the important role these professionals play in developing agricultural leaders for tomorrow.
Linder has served as the Grand Rapids FFA Advisor for 14 years. His FFA program has helped this area find its place in terms of recognizing and promoting the importance of agriculture and its natural resources, receiving many chapter accomplishments during this time. The FFA conducts community outreach programs including working at Ruby’s Pantry and the First Harvest Food Shelf. Linder is also involved in his community in other ways. He is a little league baseball coach and a superintendent of the ag/horticulture building at the Itasca County Fair. He also serves on the Arrowhead Regional Farm Bureau Board of Directors. Shawn and his wife Barb have two sons.
The Post-Secondary Educator of the Year award was given to Gerald Toland. This award recognizes the educators supporting all of us in production agriculture and the important role these professionals play.
Toland teaches at Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) in Marshall. His 36 years of teaching began in 1982 at South Dakota State University until 1990 when he joined SMSU. He is currently teaching agribusiness management courses and chairs the SMSU Agriculture, Caliology and Hospitality Management Department where his goal is to be proactive and concentrate on the challenges where he can make a difference.