Awards

Outstanding Cooperation Awards

The Outstanding Cooperation Award is presented to organizations, agribusinesses, industry or individuals that have provided exemplary service to agricultural education at the national level. This year’s award recipients contributed their time, their talents, and in some case their finances to ensure the success of agricultural education.

Each recipient received a plaque and a cash award to attend the annual conference in Kansas City. The Forrest T. Jones & Company sponsors this award.

Region I
Ronald Shopbell
Dean of Agriculture, College of Southern Idaho
Twin Falls, Idaho
Region IV
James Ogden
Ohio Career Development Events Coordinator
Hillsboro,Ohio 
Region II
Darrell Mendez
Brand Manager Ford Division
Plano, Texas
Region V
Ed Tonore
Southern Hertiage Fundraising Co.
Madison, Mississippi
Region III
Cliff Jensen
Director, The Leaderhip Center
Aurora, Nebraska
Region VI
Dennis Wolff
Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

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Region I
Ronald Shopbell
Dean of Agriculture, College of Southern Idaho
Twin Falls, Idaho

Ronald Shopbell is no stranger to agricultural education and the FFA. He was an agriculture and industrial technology instructor in Oregon and Germany for many years before becoming the Director of Dual Enrollment and most recently the Dean of Agriculture at the College of Southern Idaho.

Shopbell was instrumental in helping start and fund adult evening courses in agriculture offered by several southern Idaho high schools and in developing dual enrollment in at least 12 schools. Recognizing that students are able to transcend to college with credits achieved in high school, Shopbell continually visits new agricultural programs promoting this option. Shopbell has assisted students who attend the College of Southern Idaho in obtaining books, scholarships, internships and housing.

Shopbell regularly attends the Idaho Vocational Agricultural Teachers Association's summer conference to remain involved and up-to-date on agricultural education issues. He spends much time arranging rooms, hospitality suites and refreshments to be available to students and advisors at the State FFA Convention in cooperation with the College of Southern Idaho.

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Region II
Darrell Mendez
Brand Manager Ford Division
Plano, Texas

Nominated for the award by the Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas (VATAT), Mendez and the Ford Division have invested generously in the future of agricultural education. The Ford Division Southwest Region has demonstrated its support of agricultural education by committing funds for two programs including the Texas FFA Ford Leadership Scholars Program and the Ford Agriculture Education and Texas FFA Leadership Center.

The Ford Division Southwest Region agreed to support the Leadership Scholarship Program to recognize and encourage students who have developed outstanding leadership skills. Ford Division Southwest Region provided $375,000 to form a scholarship endowment to recognize ten Ford Leadership Scholars annually with each receiving a $2,500 scholarship.

As for the Ford Agriculture Education and Texas FFA Leadership Center, the Ford Division Southwest Region donated $750,000 for naming rights to the leadership center. The center will house the VATAT, Texas FFA Association and Texas FFA Foundation.

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Region III
Cliff Jensen
Director, The Leaderhip Center
Aurora, Nebraska

For nearly 30 years, Cliff Jensen has served as the Director of the Nebraska FFA Leadership Center. Initially, Jensen served as the sole employee of the center performing such roles as manager, groundskeeper, custodian, bookkeeper and promoter. Visualizing what the center could become, he gained the support of agricultural educators, university personnel, state department of education staff and local citizens to develop the center into one of the finest statewide FFA leadership centers in the nation.

The center serves as the home of the Nebraska FFA Organization and annually hosts leadership and development training for chapter officers, district leadership activities and state officer training sessions. When the center is not being utilized for FFA activities, other youth and adult leadership organizations may use the center. Jensen has developed partnerships with such organizations as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 4-H and Nebraska Farm Bureau.

Jensen's calm demeanor, hard work, understanding personality, fairness to all involved, love of people, unending optimistic attitude and strong spiritual belief have helped him impact thousands of FFA members, agricultural educators, students and supporters.

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Region IV
James Ogden
Ohio Career Development Events Coordinator
Hillsboro, Ohio

After teaching agriculture for 18 years, James Ogden was forced to take disability retirement due to a timber cutting accident. However, he desired to stay involved with agricultural education and assumed the position of the Ohio Agriculture Education FFA Skills Coordinator.

Ogden, with the assistance of his wife, Carol, has worked with colleges, agricultural organizations and agricultural teachers to improve the Career Development Event (CDE) competitions offered by the Ohio FFA Association. Through his leadership, the Ohio Association of Agricultural Educators (OAAE) elected CDE advisory members that developed and piloted 16 additional CDE programs in Ohio for a total of 39 CDE programs, serving 6,191 students in 2004. He has helped provide outstanding students with more than $35,000 in scholarships for their performance in CDE competitions.

Ogden has not only assisted with Ohio CDE programs, he has helped Pennsylvania agricultural educators score State FFA CDE programs and has served on the National FFA Poultry and Farm Business Management CDE committees for the past 15 years.

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Region V
Ed Tonore
Southern Hertiage Fundraising Co.
Madison, Mississippi

Ed Tonore, owner and president of the Southern Heritage Fundraising Company, is an active supporter of the Region V NAAE, the National FFA Organization and agricultural education in general. Serving as one of the pioneer Mississippi agricultural education supporters, he helped create the Mississippi FFA Foundation as a board member and president.

It would be difficult to find a more generous friend of Mississippi agricultural education students. Tonore provides scholarship funds for students planning to major in agricultural education and participates in a rebate program in which a portion of his profits from his fundraising business is donated to the Mississippi FFA Association and Mississippi Association of Agricultural Educators (MAAE). He has also hosted functions for Region V NAAE conferences providing both meals and door prizes for teachers.

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Region VI
Dennis Wolff
Secretary, Pennsyvania Department of Agriculture
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Serving as the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Dennis Wolff instituted an agricultural education initiative at the outset of his administration that has benefited agricultural educators, agricultural programs and agricultural student organizations.

Wolff helped develop the Market Place for the Mind web site which provides a one-stop shop for educators to find agricultural curriculum linked to state academic standards, grants, scholarships and hands-on activities. The web site has proven successful with approximately 5,000 visitors per month.

During the 2003-2004 school year, Wolff visited two schools each month to teach lessons about agricultural education. He also invited agricultural education students to accompany him on a trade mission to Mexico this past spring with hopes of expanding the program in the future. Wolff has invited leaders of the Pennsylvania Association of Agricultural Educators (PAAE) to serve on his agricultural education advisory board and has served as a key-note speaker for the PAAE summer conferences.

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