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Farm Bureau members from Mississippi, Virginia and Minnesota win AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Awards, where the prizes include new trucks.

Holly Spangler, Senior Editor, Prairie Farmer

January 11, 2016

3 Min Read

Monday was a banner day for several young Farm Bureau members at the American Farm Bureau Federation convention in Orlando, where the winners of three big contests were announced during the closing session. Each year, contestants compete within their county, district and state to advance in the contests to the AFBF convention, with incredible levels of preparation, study and achievement.

Achievement Award

William and Cala Tabb of Mississippi won the Achievement Award. They are the winners of either a 2016 Chevrolet Silverado or 2016 GMC Sierra, courtesy of Chevrolet. They will also receive paid registration to attend the 2016 YF&R Leadership Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, in February.

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“I’m not much of a speaker,” William told the crowd, adding that if an award is only as good as the people who present it, this was a great one.

Runners-up in the Achievement Award contest are Dustin and Ashley Morris of Louisiana, Jay Head of Tennessee, and Sam and Ashley Gardner of Virginia. The runners-up will receive a Case IH Farmall 50A tractor, courtesy of Case IH, and $3,000 in cash and STIHL merchandise, courtesy of STIHL.

The Achievement Award recognizes young farmers and ranchers who have excelled in their farming or ranching operations and exhibited superior leadership abilities. Participants are evaluated on a combination of their agricultural operation’s growth and financial progress, Farm Bureau leadership and leadership outside of Farm Bureau.

Discussion Meet

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Chris Van Vlack of Virginia won the Discussion Meet. He will have his choice of either a 2016 Chevrolet Silverado or a 2016 GMC Sierra, courtesy of Chevrolet, plus free registration to the YF&R Leadership Conference.

The three runners-up in the Discussion Meet are Dean Cheshire of Florida, Hunter Grills of Tennessee and Danielle Grant of West Virginia.  Each runner-up will receive a Case IH Farmall 50A tractor, courtesy of Case IH, and $3,000 in cash and STIHL merchandise, courtesy of STIHL.

The Discussion Meet simulates a committee meeting in which active discussion and participation are expected. Participants are evaluated on their ability to exchange ideas and information on a predetermined topic.

Excellence in Ag

Michael Miron of Minnesota won the Excellence in Agriculture Award. He will receive his choice of either a 2016 Chevrolet Silverado or 2016 GMC Sierra, courtesy of Chevrolet, plus free registration to the 2016 YF&R Conference.

The three runners-up in the Excellence in Agriculture competition are Jesse and Mary Faber of Illinois, Steven and Claudia Long of South Carolina and Mindy McCroskey of Virginia.

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Each runner-up will receive a Case IH Farmall 50A tractor, courtesy of Case IH, and $3,000 in cash and STIHL merchandise, courtesy of STIHL.

The Excellence in Agriculture Award recognizes young farmers and ranchers who do not derive the majority of their income from an agricultural operation, but who actively contribute and grow through their involvement in agriculture, their leadership ability and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations.

About the Author(s)

Holly Spangler

Senior Editor, Prairie Farmer, Farm Progress

Holly Spangler has covered Illinois agriculture for more than two decades, bringing meaningful production agriculture experience to the magazine’s coverage. She currently serves as editor of Prairie Farmer magazine and Executive Editor for Farm Progress, managing editorial staff at six magazines throughout the eastern Corn Belt. She began her career with Prairie Farmer just before graduating from the University of Illinois in agricultural communications.

An award-winning writer and photographer, Holly is past president of the American Agricultural Editors Association. In 2015, she became only the 10th U.S. agricultural journalist to earn the Writer of Merit designation and is a five-time winner of the top writing award for editorial opinion in U.S. agriculture. She was named an AAEA Master Writer in 2005. In 2011, Holly was one of 10 recipients worldwide to receive the IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Ag Journalism award. She currently serves on the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation, the U of I Agricultural Communications Advisory committee, and is an advisory board member for the U of I College of ACES Research Station at Monmouth. Her work in agricultural media has been recognized by the Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Corn, Illinois Council on Agricultural Education and MidAmerica Croplife Association.

Holly and her husband, John, farm in western Illinois where they raise corn, soybeans and beef cattle on 2,500 acres. Their operation includes 125 head of commercial cows in a cow/calf operation. The family farm includes John’s parents and their three children.

Holly frequently speaks to a variety of groups and organizations, sharing the heart, soul and science of agriculture. She and her husband are active in state and local farm organizations. They serve with their local 4-H and FFA programs, their school district, and are active in their church's youth and music ministries.

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