Awards

Outstanding Postsecondary/Adult Program Awards

Most careers in modern agriculture and related sciences require education beyond secondary school. Outstanding agriscience and agribusiness educational programs beyond the high school level of instruction are more important today than ever before.

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All Outstanding Postsecondary/Adult Program Award winner photos from 2013 NAAE Convention
(For news releases, see individual entries below)

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Region I
Casper College
Casper, Wyoming
Instructors: Tom Parker, Jeremy Burkett, Todd Jones, Heath Hornecker, Marty Finch

news release

With a student body of about 100, the agriculture department at Casper College has four full-time faculty members, one half-time instructor, and a full-time rodeo coach. Students can choose from seven different Associate Degree programs, including animal science, range management, agriculture communications and agriculture business. Influenced by Wyoming's predominantly livestock and crop production agricultural industry, courses include a variety of animal science and animal production courses, meat science, range ecology, agriculture economics and technical courses such as horseshoeing.

Instructors in the Casper College agriculture department emphasize experiential learning while also focusing on community involvement. Students take part in numerous internship and employment opportunities relating to their program of study, including employment at equipment dealers, meat processors and feed stores. They also give back to the community and recruit future students by hosting numerous livestock sales, livestock shows and training camps, and rodeo events throughout the year for area FFA and 4-H members. Another way the college works with potential students is through an articulation agreement with the Natrona County High School agriculture program, offering 12 credit hours for agriculture classes taught at the high school.

"The Casper College Agriculture Department provided the best training I could have ever had to be an attorney. Better, in fact, than my law school alma mater's training in the areas of public speaking, standing on one's feet while speaking to a decision maker and justifying your position on fine points and minute differences," said W. Jackson Stewart, attorney, Casper College agriculture department alumnus, and chairman of the agriculture department's advisory committee for the past ten years. "The last endorsement I can give may be my best and most personal- I can only hope my children choose to go to Casper College and major in agriculture."

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Region II
Arkansas State University
Beebe, Arkansas
Instructors:Jerry Sites and Chuck Wisdon

news release

Arkansas State University-Beebe has one of the only post-secondary, two year agriculture programs in Arkansas, appealing to both recent high school graduates and non-traditional adults seeking higher education. They are also one of the only community colleges in the state that has a working farm. Faculty members Jerry Sites and Charles Wisdom use Beebe's unique position and facilities to maximum advantage, imparting real-world agricultural principles to their students through hands-on learning.

Both Sites and Wisdom have extensive experience in the agriculture industry, and served as cooperative extension agents before teaching at Beebe. This allows them to give their students hands-on experiences in all the phases of crop and livestock production. Community and industry partnerships are also key to the success of students at ASU-Beebe. The department maintains an extensive internship program with a variety of agricultural agencies and companies, including Monsanto, Bayer CropScience, the NRCS, and Arkansas Farm Bureau.

"As an agricultural educator and ASU-Beebe alumni, I have had multiple career opportunities available to me as a result of the superior training and instruction received at this institution," said Troy Weatherly, agriculture teacher at nearby Beebe High School. "The agricultural knowledge, instruction and passion found there in Mr. Wisdom and Mr. Sites are exemplary of what every agriculture program in the country should strive to display."

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Region III
Hawkeye Community College
Waterloo, Iowa
Instructors: David Grunklee and Brad Kinsinger

news release

Dave Grunklee has been an agriculture instructor at Hawkeye Community College since 2000; Brad Kinsinger since 2010. Both instructors worked as high school agriculture teachers before coming to Hawkeye, and their past experience has greatly influenced their teaching style. As part of the college's Agricultural and Natural Resources (ANR) department, Hawkeye's Agricultural Business Program focuses on applied learning, preparing students for continuing onto four-year universities and/or careers in a variety of agricultural fields. Capitalizing on Iowa's diverse range of production agriculture, manufacturing and agribusinesses, Hawkeye students are exposed to the production and business sides of a variety of crop and livestock operations, gaining experience through both production simulations and by operating the 300 acre college farm lab. On the farm lab, using up-to-date facilities and technology, students raise and process the meat from cattle, sheep and swine, and produce corn, soybeans, oats and hay.

Hawkeye is not only committed to helping its college students, but also to enhancing agricultural education across the state. Each summer, Hawkeye hosts summer academies for high school agricultural educators, where they can gain credit towards re-licensure, and develop new, ready-to-use classroom materials and curriculum. The college also hosts several FFA events throughout the year, showcasing the college to educators and potential future students. Hawkeye also partners with high school agricultural educators to develop dual-enrollment courses, which the high school educators take back to their programs, providing their students the chance to earn college credit while in high school. The school also provides its students opportunities to study international agriculture in Belize and recently offered an eight-day foreign exchange trip for high school agricultural educators to Belize as a professional development opportunity.

"The Agricultural and Natural Resources Department is a valuable resource to agriculture instructors, FFA members, 4-H members and leaders, and many others involved in the agricultural industry. The school administration and ANR staff have unselfishly offered their physical facilities and academic expertise, which has enabled individuals like me and organizations like the FFA to flourish," said Louis Beck, agricultural educator and FFA advisor at Union Community Schools.

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Region IV
Mexico Young Farmers' Association
Mexico, Missouri
Instructor: Theodore DeVault

news release

Even though people in Mexico have strong agricultural roots, there is a gap between appreciation for agriculture and the public's understanding of current agricultural and agribusiness practices. Theodore DeVault has been the Mexico Young Famer advisor since 2005. DeVault grew up in Mexico, and returned after completing his undergraduate and graduate degrees. His parents helped start the Mexico Young Farmers' Association in 1977; giving DeVault a long history to draw from when maintaining the program.

Members of the Mexico Young Farmers' Association attend 8-12 educational meetings annually and complete the Farm Business Management Analysis Program (FBMA). In addition to leading the educational meetings, DeVault provides one-on-one instruction for all FBMA participants, which helps them develop business plans, make management decisions, and keep better farm records.

"Each farm is at a different level, so one-on-one instruction structured to each producer is best suited for success," said DeVault. "Each farm will also set one year, five year, and long term goals, and then picks five areas to benchmark and track for improvement."

Participation in the Mexico Young Farmers' Association has doubled since DeVault took it over in 2005. In addition to increasing membership, Devault has created a partnership with the Missouri Extension, through which he conducts farm tours, conferences, annual meetings, and events. The Mexico FFA chapter also relies on the Young Farmers for support during events and school activities.

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Region V
Johnson County Young Farmers' Association
Wrightsville, Georgia
Instructor: Ron Bray

news release

Ron Bray has been the agriculture teacher at Johnson County High School since 1990. He currently serves as the Young Farmer agriculture teacher in Johnson County while teaching veterinarian tech and animal science classes at the high school. The outreach program serves adult learners who work in many sectors of the local agriculture industry, such as cattle, swine, row crops, hay, forestry, ag sales, mechanics, chalk mines and diversified farms. Bray works with the members of his Young Farmer chapter to identify topics of interest and conduct workshops and classes.

In 2006, a committee of JCYF members was asked by the Johnson High School superintendent to design and implement an agriculture center on the 5 acres adjoining the high school. The JCYF helped fund the project by adding the construction cost to their local special purpose local-option sales tax funding. They also applied for and received a state ag livestock grant totaling $75,000 to furnish the penning system, classroom furniture, computers and trailers for the building. To complete the project, they raised and donated an additional $30,000 to build a 40 by 100 foot livestock penning system, trailer shed, and weigh-in area.

The JCYF is actively involved in serving the citizens of Johnson County. They are engaged in yearly activities such as hosting the local market hog show, working the purebred gilt and heifer show, sponsoring a Relay For Life team, sponsoring the Fourth of July tractor show and pedal-tractor race and building pole barns within the county.

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Region VI
Mifflinburg Young Farmers' Association
Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania
Instructor: Stephen Kline

news release

The Mifflinburg Young Farmers' program has been an instructional resource for area farmers since its inception in the 1950s. Program advisor, Stephen Kline, said the program's mission is to ensure that local agriculturalists stay up-to-date on the newest advances in agriculture.

One of the most popular programs in the MYF chapter is the Corn Club, where participants compete for the top corn yield. Solar power and alternative energy sources have also become a popular program topic in recent years. Since alternative energy classes have been introduced, three members have installed solar power panels on their farms.

"The successful history of [Mifflinburg Young Farmers'] chapter is well known in the state, and I believe this is because of the learning opportunities provided to the members," said John Ewing, associate professor of agricultural and extension education at Pennsylvania State University. "[Members] are provided information that will help their business grow financially, but also in a manner that is going to conserve and protect our environmental resources.

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