Winners of the Young Farmer and Rancher (YF&R) Achievement Award, Discussion Meet and Excellence in Agriculture competitions were announced at the American Farm Bureau Federationâ€™s (AFBF) 85th annual meeting, held January 11-14, in Honolulu, Hawaii.
John and Dana Butler of Tennessee won the Achievement Award, which recognizes young farmers and ranchers who have excelled in their farming or ranching operations and exhibited superior leadership abilities. They are the winners of a 2004 Dodge Ram 3500 SLT Quad Cab 4x4 pickup truck, courtesy of Dodge. They also received a $2,500 voucher from Syngenta Crop Protection and free registration to the 2004 YF&R Leadership Conference, Feb. 21-23, in Salt Lake City.
Runners-up in the Achievement Award contest included Michael and Sarah Ver Steeg of Iowa, Dale and Lisa Koester of Indiana, Kent and Joy Bauman of Ohio, and Chris and Anna Rawl of South Carolina. They each received a Case IH DX compact tractor, courtesy of Case IH. In addition, Syngenta Crop Protection recognized nine of the 10 Achievement Award finalists with a $1,500 voucher toward the cost of crop protection products.
Ben Cummings of West Virginia won the Discussion Meet, which simulates a committee meeting in which active discussion and participation are expected. He will take home a 2004 Dodge 2500 SLT Quad Cab 4x4 pickup truck, courtesy of Dodge, plus free registration to the 2004 YF&R Leadership Conference.
The three runners-up in the Discussion Meet were Julie Gunkel of Wyoming, Trevor Meachum of Michigan, and Steve McShane of California. They each received a $6,000 U.S. Savings Bond, courtesy of Cummins Engine Co.
Troy and Stacy Hadrick of South Dakota won the Excellence in Agriculture Award which recognizes young farmers who do not derive the majority of their income from an agricultural operation they own, but who actively contribute and grow through their involvement in Farm Bureau and agriculture. They received a 2004 Dodge Quad Cab 4x4 1500 pickup truck with SLT trim, plus free registration to the 2004 YF&R Leadership Conference.
The three runners-up in the Excellence in Agriculture competition were Clay Pope of Oklahoma, Shane and Amy Williams of Tennessee, and Tim and Erin Best of Florida. Each received a $2,000 U.S. Savings Bond and a Farm Boss chainsaw, courtesy of Stihl Outdoor Power Equipment.
The YF&R Committee also elected a new chairman during the annual meeting. Steven Anderegg, Mason City, Iowa, will lead their committee in 2004. He takes over from outgoing chairman Jeffery Gatzke of South Dakota and will serve a one-year term.
Anderegg and his wife, Elizabeth, produce corn and soybeans on the 1,600-acre farm they share with Steveâ€™s father and uncle. Steve also runs a snow removal business during the winter months. Steve and Elizabeth are expecting their first child in early February.
"I would like to build on AFBF President Bob Stallmanâ€™s challenge to the YF&R Committee, to make a difference in the transfer of farms from generation to generation and continue to make it feasible for young people to come into agriculture," Anderegg says.
Concerning the commitment of time away from family and farm it takes to serve as chairman of the YF&R Committee, Anderegg said, "Anything worthwhile to do takes a strong commitment, and thatâ€™s a commitment Iâ€™m willing to make for Farm Bureauâ€™s young farmers and ranchers."
The American Farm Bureau Federationâ€™s YF&R program includes men and women between the ages of 18 and 35. The programâ€™s goal is to help younger Farm Bureau members learn more about agriculture, network with other farmers and ranchers and become future leaders in Farm Bureau and in agriculture.