Purdue alumnus selected to serve on Indiana Ag Board
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Aug. 31, 2009 -- Lt. Governor Becky Skillman, Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development, announced a transition in leadership at the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA). Purdue alumnus Joe Kelsay, a sixth generation dairy and crop farmer, has been selected to serve as the next Indiana Agriculture Director. Later this fall, Kelsay will succeed Anne Hazlett who will then serve as Chief Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry under ranking member U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss.
“Anne’s passion for agriculture helped the State Department of Agriculture surge forward, strengthen partnerships, and set the course for the future,” said Lt. Governor Skillman. “Talent like that doesn’t go unnoticed. Fortunately, in her new position, she will continue to work everyday to allow agriculture to flourish in Indiana and across the country.”
A 1999 graduate of Purdue University in agricultural economics, Kelsay farms full-time with his father and brother in rural Johnson County. In addition to milk production, Joe and his wife Amy operate a farm tour business, Kelsay Farm Tours LLC, which teaches thousands of children and families each year about life on the farm. Beyond his experience in production and business development, Kelsay has held a wide variety of leadership positions in the agriculture industry. He was the Indiana FFA State Vice President from 1995 to 1996. He currently serves as Chairman of the State Young Farmer Committee in Indiana Farm Bureau and is president of the Indiana Professional Dairy Producers. Further, he is a member of the Purdue University Dean of Agriculture’s Advisory Council as well as the ISDA Agriculture Advisory Board.
In his role as the Indiana Agriculture Director, Kelsay will lead the state’s efforts to promote and strengthen the agriculture industry. “I cannot think of a person more suited for this critical leadership role than Joe Kelsay,” Skillman said. “With his zeal for agriculture, proven leadership abilities, and entrepreneurial spirit, Joe will be a tremendous asset for all facets of Indiana agriculture. I am very much looking forward to working with him as we continue to grow the agriculture sector to an even greater piece of our state’s economic revitalization.”
Kelsay will assume his responsibilities in early November upon completion of the 2009 harvest. He was initiated by Delta in 1996.
Wisconsin is known for one thing besides the Packers, Badgers and beer-dairy. As our vehicle tags indicate, Wisconsin is "America's Dairyland." (Contrary to some commercials and with all due respect to the Golden State, happy cows do not come from California.) I am not a native Wisconsinite, but since moving here last year, I am fully embracing the culture that Wisconsin has to offer. Milk tastes better in Wisconsin and I have developed a newfound love of cheese curds and frozen custard!
Alpha Gamma Rho's Brand Value 8 states that, as an organization, we shall "reflect, value and advocate diversity in our membership and professional lives." Iota Chapter at UW-Madison is an excellent example of how AGR can, and should, adapt to an ever-evolving agriculture. Iota member are not only proud of their recent recognition with the Maynard Coe Chapter Efficiency Award or that they consume the largest volume of milk per capita of any AGR chapter, but Iota is also proud that it has evolved by advocating diversity in its membership.
A chapter consisting predominantly of dairy science majors since being chartered in 1915, Iota has seen recent success in actively recruiting students pursuing degrees that stretch beyond production agriculture to those with degree paths such as Biochemistry and Microbiology. The membership demographic has recently shifted to a majority of nondairy science majors. Many reasons exist for this shift. Not the least of these reasons is that UW-Madison, like many campuses, is increasingly becoming more competitive to gain admission and the demographic of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences has shifted towards a female majority. The same percentage of "farm boys", who may not have put forth the best academic effort in high school, are simply not being admitted so there is a smaller pool of "farm boys" to recruit from (although none of our chapters really seem to exhaust all the prospective members who meet our qualifications). There are other reasons and benefits for this evolution.
Besides the natural benefit of diversity being that undergraduates have the ability to learn more from one another, other benefits that Iota has realized include an expanded representation across campus and a higher overall GPA. For example, Brother Paul Pamula is studying Microbiology and plans to attend dental school while Brother Ryan Adams, who grew up on a farm, chose to pursue a degree in Biochemistry and plans to attend physical therapy school. In order for these men to gain admission into their respective specialty schools, they must have an excellent GPA in addition to active involvement in extracurricular activities. Besides other contributions these brothers make within the chapter, Adams maintains a 3.41 cumulative GPA while Pamula maintains a 3.98, directly benefiting the chapter by contributing to a higher overall chapter GPA.
Iota has also embraced diversity amongst its advisers, thus advocating diversity in its professional lives. On a campus and in a state known for the dairy business/science, none of Iota's co-advisers are involved in the dairy business: one studies swine nutrition with an emphasis on mineral nutrition while the other is involved with the sports turf industry. Brother Tom Crenshaw, a Co-Adviser to Iota for 12 years, is Professor in the Department of Animal Sciences and Director of the UW Swine Research and Teaching Center at UW-Madison. He was an undergraduate at Alpha Upsilon Chapter at the Tennessee-Martin where he received a B.S. degree in Animal Science in 1974. As a December 2000 Mississippi State graduate with a B.S. degree in Landscape Contacting/Management, I worked in the landscape industry for four years before taking a sales job selling products used in the sports turf industry. I'm not exactly what you would think of as a typical adviser for Iota, but I have been embraced because of the different perspective I can offer. Admittedly, I know very little about production agriculture, but I give the guys credit. They are genuinely appreciative of the diverse perspectives that Crenshaw and I give them: one from a more agricultural research/academic viewpoint and the other which is more from the business world.
There are many ways we can embrace diversity within our organization and Iota Chapter is experiencing many benefits that are a byproduct of diversity within an organization. Diversity not only makes Alpha Gamma Rho stronger on the campus of UW-Madison, but it will also make us a stronger nationally (and hopefully internationally very soon).
written by Brad Garrison, Co-Adviser for UW-Madison' Iota Chapter. Garrison was initiated by Beta Tau in 1997.
Cornell alum to serve on Wisconsin State Board of Ag
FOND DU LAC, Wis. -- August 18, 2009 -- Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin member John Koepke, Cornell alumnus, has been appointed by Governor Jim Doyle to serve on the Wisconsin State Board on Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The Board on Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is a nine-member board that serves as a policy-making body for the Agency. Koepke’s appointment is effective immediately and will continue through May 1, 2015.
In making the appointment, Governor Doyle stated, “I am pleased to appoint John Koepke to the Board on Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. His background as a successful dairy farmer and active member of Wisconsin’s agricultural community will be incredibly valuable to the board.”
PDPW’s executive director Shelly Mayer applauds Governor Doyle’s selection, noting, “It’s great to have an active dairy producer like John serving our state in this capacity—and I’m pleased that John is willing to serve and help to position Wisconsin as a world leader in agriculture, food safety and consumer protection. With dairy representing more than $20 billion of the state economy, it is absolutely critical that dairy has a voice on this rule-making board.
“John is a young, enthusiastic leader who is a critical thinker and understands dairying. He will make educated, well-thought-out decisions that consider what is best for dairy producers and Wisconsin. He’s a bright, thoughtful individual.”
Koepke and his wife, Kim, are active PDPW members. Koepke operates Koepke Farms Inc. in partnership with his dad Jim and uncles Alan and David. Koepke Farms milks 330 Holstein cows and has 970 acres dedicated to corn, soybeans and hay.
Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin is a dairy-producer founded organization that provides educational programs and services to fellow dairy producers. PDPW’s mission is “to share ideas, solutions, resources, and experiences that help dairy producers succeed.”
MADISON, Wis. -- Aug. 18, 2009 -- Great men have two things in common; they give their all and forget to stop. Iowa State alumnus Maurice E. Core of Columbus, Ohio, has been selected as the 2009 World Dairy Expo Industry Person of the Year for his lifelong vision and leadership in several areas of the dairy industry. Just as New York Yankee’s slugger Joe DiMaggio kept hitting day after day to end up in the record books, Core’s ongoing leadership, day after day, for over 50 years, has led him to the dairy Hall of Fame.
A graduate of Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture and Dairy Science, Maurice (Maury) Core has led, not one, but two distinguished careers in the dairy industry. For 37 years he served the American Jersey Cattle Club (AJCC) in various capacities, retiring as the Executive Secretary and CEO of AJCC, National All Jersey and All Jersey Sales Corporation in 1993. Even after his retirement, he was not ready to take up a hobby; instead, he spent 11 years as the Executive Director of the National Dairy Shrine.
Core’s years representing Jersey cattle breeders saw great strides in breeding, financial accountability and development of youth programs. Through his efforts, Linear Type Appraisal started with the Jersey breed and became a standard for all breeds in the A.I. industry. He developed the All-American Jersey Show and Sale, and initiated the Jersey Marketing Service and the first National Heifer Sale.
A strong proponent for dairy research, in the period of 1986-1993, the Jersey Research Foundation raised $750,000 under his direction. This honoree is known for his ability to work with leaders of all dairy breeds to promote cooperation and take on issues, such as show ring ethics. The Jersey’s transition from a “hobby” to a “commercial” breed is also due in part to Core’s personality and senior leadership, in public and in the background.
Youth programs were a highlight of Maury’s tenure and service. He hit home runs for dairy youth, helping to raise several hundred thousand dollars for Jersey youth scholarships and establishing the Maurice E. Core Youth Fund upon his retirement from AJCC. His support of youth continued as he took the reigns of the National Dairy Shrine in 1997, doubling the funds available for awards and youth scholarships.
At Dairy Shrine, Core increased membership and oversaw a $250,000 fundraising campaign and renovation effort at the Dairy Shrine Museum in Fort Atkinson, Wis. He retired a second time in 2008. He and his wife Carole have three children. The 2009 World Dairy Expo Industry Person of the Year award is sponsored by Accelerated Genetics, Dairy Herd Management, Merrick Animal Nutrition and Intervet/Schering Plough Animal Health.
Grand President shares State of Fraternity message to all
The following is the State of the Fraternity message made by Grand President Larry Warren during the 2009 Leadership Conference in Kansas City, Mo.
As many of you will recall, back in the 60’s when I was working on my Ag Journalism degree, Vietnam was heating up and many were being drafted. In addition, two years of Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) was mandatory at land-grant universities. Through ROTC, I developed a fondness for flying and completed private pilot training courtesy of the Air Force. That led to becoming an Air Force pilot and subsequently staying in aviation for a 28-year airline career while continuing military flying through the Air National Guard.
As I wrap up my year as Grand President, I note that there are many parallels between a well run airline and our great fraternity. For instance, the National Boards set the overall policies, insure safety – financial and otherwise, provide weather forecasts through long range planning and make decisions regarding marketing, scope of operation and finance in response to the market place and the overall economy. It is our jobs, on the boards, to maintain a view from 35,000 feet and not get into the details of running individual flights or chapters.
For the most part, our chapters operate autonomously, much like individual airline flights, under the command of a captain which we call an adviser. He has a group of executive officers headed by a Noble Ruler, who are his cockpit crew, and we could say that the chapter members are his passengers. Their aircraft, or chapter facilities, are made possible and maintained by an engineering and maintenance staff that we call Housing Corporations, Alumni Corporations or Building Associations. And then, the entire day-to-day operation is overseen by our air traffic controllers in the Home Office.
Many of you travel by air and you know that it is the most expeditious way to travel – especially over longer distances. What you may NOT know is that there are a great many people that you never see who contribute to making each and every flight as safe, as comfortable and as close to on time as they possibly can given the constraints of weather, economic environment and human limitations. Similarly, much of Alpha Gamma Rho’s successes can be attributed to many that most of our brothers never see or hear about.
When my year as Grand President began, the world economy was tanking, we had some personnel challenges, financial contributions were declining and despite our emphasis on recruiting, initiation numbers are down. I began wondering if I had done the right thing by taking on the job.
My late Congressman and AGR Hall of Fame member Jerry Litton, during a similar period of economic difficulty early in his first term, was once asked if he thought he had done the right thing in becoming a congressman. Jerry liked to tell stories to illustrate a point and he told one about a man who was contemplating suicide.
This man awoke one day to find that his wife had left him. He let his dog out only to see it hit and killed by a passing car. He then got a phone call from his boss telling him that he had been fired from his job. He decided to run some errands and hit another car as he was backing out of his driveway. He then borrowed a neighbor’s car to run the errands and dispose of the dog’s body, only to return, and find that his house had burned to the ground. You could say he was having a bad day.
At that point, he contemplated suicide, but decided to call the suicide hot line for counseling. They listened to his story and said they would consider the matter and get back to him. A few minutes later, they called back and said, “We think you are doing the right thing.”
I still think I did the right thing in taking on this job!
The view of Alpha Gamma Rho from 35,000 feet is terrific. Yes, we have experienced some financial challenges this year, and you will hear more about those from the reports of the Educational Foundation as well as the Investment Committee. Both, by the way, have done a great job during difficult financial times. You could say they have been flying in turbulence, even a severe downdraft, and the seat belt sign has definitely been turned on for much of the year. Through it all, they have done well given the weather they have had to deal with and kept our ship right-side up.
Yes, we have some chapters who are in need of re-energizing, refueling and some are in need of repairs. But the vast majority of our chapters are flying high and safely toward “making better men”, and many are receiving top honors on their campuses. Several, like our chapters at Minnesota, Penn State, Florida, Idaho, Austin Peay, Nebraska, Middle Tennessee and others, are in various stages of work aimed at rebuilding or perhaps investing in brand new chapter facilities.
Yes, our initiation numbers dipped to 988 this year, down 25 from the previous year. Despite that fact, I would venture to say that Alpha Gamma Rho enjoys the finest recruiting training program of any fraternity in the nation today. We did the right thing -- in hiring Josh Wackler, who has worked tirelessly all over the country to train and re-energize our chapter recruiters. He has empirical data to prove that those chapters which attended our recruiting academies and then actually USED the tools and training provided, have done well.
We believe that there may still be a “disconnect” between learning WHAT to do and then actually IMPLEMENTING the practices needed to effectively recruit, and we still have work to do there. Of course, by and large, we won’t see the numerical results of this year’s training until next fall.
There may also be a need to look at how we select and then monitor the progress of our Chapter Recruiting Officers or CROs. As with all crew members, these folks may need to receive periodic, recurrent training to keep their skills sharp. We may even need to find new CROs at some chapters.
I believe that the highlight of this past year has been the implementation of our Promise Statement and the inculcation of our Ten Values across the entire fraternity at every level and at every location. I congratulate Jim Zumwalt, his task force, and the many others for this massive effort. Still and all, despite our success so far, it is still very much an ongoing process that is in the beginning stages of implementation.
Injecting something of this magnitude into a culture takes time and determined, persistent effort, but I see signs here and there that it is having a positive effect. I have recently heard about chapters utilizing the values in their officer selection process. Others are emphasizing the values by posting a “Value of the Week” or having discussions within chapter meetings about a selected value and what it means to that chapter and its brothers.
Thad Koenigsfeld, our Director of Chapter Development, continues to look at, and work on locations for potential new colonies and chapters. Like an airline looking for new routes to serve, he is developing interest groups in Arizona, Texas, Missouri, New York, Canada, Puerto Rico and others to add to our colonies at Louisiana Tech and Southern Arkansas.
In December, I had the extreme privilege, along with Thad and Executive Director Phil Josephson, of helping to initiate 32 outstanding young men, as we fulfilled the decree of our 2008 National Convention and chartered Gamma Beta Chapter at Fort Hayes State University. My direct involvement in that process gave me a feeling not unlike the one I had when my first child was born. And, having family members from our Nebraska and South Dakota Chapters, along with the initiating Kansas State Chapter made it an even greater event. I congratulate and commend Brother Jacob Gouldie, now a collegiate member of our National Board, and his team of officers for conducting a solemn and meaningful initiation. Well done, Jake!
Our international flight to Hokaido University in Japan is experiencing strong headwinds and proceeding more slowly than originally envisioned. But through our partnership with the University of Missouri and Chancellor Brady Deaton, an AGR from Kentucky’s Omicron Chapter, a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by Mizzou. That MOU opens the door for cooperation between the two universities and future exchange students.
It will certainly serve as a model and learning experience for other future international expansions. We can take pride that Alpha Gamma Rho is the pioneering organization that planted the seed and took the first step of fulfilling our number one Strategic Goal “To Grow AGR Membership and Leadership Presence Worldwide.”
I commend Past Grand President Tom Davis for his ongoing efforts to build Corporate Partnerships. Through his efforts and those of Foundation Board member Glen Stith, our initial partnership with Monsanto has proven to be extremely successful – certainly for AGR, and we hope for Monsanto as well. Several other companies, that you see here, are on the drawing board, so stay tuned.
We want to recognize some special leaders and brothers we are losing to retirement from AGR service, as well as remember those we lost because they have flown their final flight west. We, collectively, have been a part of many events involving several other organizations including the North American Inter-fraternity Conference, Sigma Alpha Sorority, FFA, The Consortium and others.
There are many more things we could talk about, but time is limited, and to help me cover some of those other topics, Charlie has created visuals that will be running on screen between sessions, during breaks and whenever he can work them in. I invite your attention to them because, in a way, they are part of this State of the Fraternity report.
This weekend, our theme is WE-Promise, two words born out of a combination of our Promise Statement and the work of our E-Tools Task Force. This is actually an expansion of the same program that led to the Ten Values and Promise Statement that I mentioned previously.
We are re-looking and re-working our entire communications spectrum and the first change you will see is our new Web site set to go up very soon. That is being followed by modernizing SICKLE & SHEAF, AGR Action (our online newsletter) and a new presence for us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. In the future, expect to see Podcasts and other products that you can download to your PDA.
Brother John Demerly chairs that task force, but he cannot be with us this weekend, so Grady Roberts will be leading us through that tomorrow. I thank them and their entire team, some of whom are with us tonight, for leading that charge. They are going to tell us more about that work tomorrow, and all of us will be asked to contribute to it during breakout sessions.
We will be putting on our thinking caps and considering best ways to utilize technology in learning, course content needs and gaps, and other potential E-Tools applications. And then, we will provide guidance to the task force in the development and implementation of this initiative.
I am personally excited about E-Tools and the overall impact this effort will have on the future of Alpha Gamma Rho. As a result, I expect our AGR airline to become more efficient and effective as it continues to gain altitude. Without going too far with my analogy, it is like airliners going from what we affectionately called the old-fashioned “steam gauges” to all-glass electronic cockpits.
Now, I would like to toss out a few thoughts to consider as we begin work this weekend and look to our future. I wish I could say these are original, but I heard them while listening to a “futurist” presentation at the recent NIC Conference in Washington DC. The speaker was Bryan Gray who is the CEO of Media Sauce, a designer of web sites and communication strategies for many companies and organizations including the NIC. While he is not an AGR, he does have a Greek affiliation.
In his words, we are today, “Digital Immigrants” living in an “Interconnected Age”. In the last four to six years we have become able to connect with anyone just about anywhere we want. This wreaks havoc on traditional media like newspapers, magazines, radio and even television.
Bryan talked about the one percent market place. Today, if we reach only one percent of the US population, we reach 3 million people. Seventy-five percent of all educated men now use the Internet. He advised that to reach our constituent base, we should continue to use all media, but online media must become the centerpiece. It appears to me that the success of using online media during our recent presidential election may be proof that Ryan is correct.
In the past, in order to reach a market saturation of 50 million, it took:
58 years for radio,
14 years for television,
4 years for the internet,
3 years for the iPod and
2 years for Facebook.
It no longer takes years for things to change. Do you remember that video about rapid change during Grand President Davis’s presentation at the Convention last year? It was recently updated, and you might like to Google “Did You Know 3.0” or “Shift Happens 3.0” to see the latest edition.
Social Media like MySpace, Facebook, YouTube and now Twitter and Hulu provide a very strong social platform that can gain or lose peoples’ hearts, minds and souls quickly. Today, online has even become the most efficient way to meet a mate. My own very conservative son met his wife online, and she has proven to be a wonderful, young lady.
Bryan’s next major point is that we can lose out to social movements. He says that we can eliminate all print newsletters and brochures and still have media cheaper, that is aimed at more specific audiences and therefore be more effective through online resources.
He defined revolution as one system replacing another, and then quoted Thomas Friedman author of “The World is Flat”, who asked the question, “Did you ever see a revolution where no one got hurt?”
He went on to predict that newspapers and banks, as we know them today, are going away, and further predicted that fraternity newsletters and magazines will also go away to be replaced by online media.
Whether he is right or wrong on that, technology IS driving our social movements. Therefore, we are only as good as the ideas and ideals that we are able to connect with – especially in the eyes of our potential members, most of whom are considerably younger than we are.
Most of us think we are pretty modern. We have our laptops, our Blackberries, our Palms, our iPods and now iPhones. Many of us are on Facebook, and a few may even be on Twitter. We are connected. We are with it. We are cool. Or so we think. Now, let’s look at ourselves through the eyes of these Undergraduate Directors and our newest initiates.
Using a little math, I was initiated in 1965 and it is now 2009 – that’s 44 years. Now, take those 44 years off the year I was initiated. These guys see me the way I saw someone who was initiated in 1921! Now, THAT is a sobering thought.
We are not only concerned about connecting for recruiting, but through our Alumni Engagement efforts, we are also concerned about what Bryan calls drop off. Alumni are willing to be connected to what matters to THEM. Through our Alumni Engagement task force, we learned that what matters is different for different age groups of alumni and different interest areas. We need to find ways to tailor our online media to the interests of these specific groups to keep them coming back – to keep them connected -- and to avoid drop off.
On this next point, please stay with me until you’ve heard the whole story. Bryan further predicted that the future of fraternity houses as residences in general, is in jeopardy. He said that future collegiate Greeks definitely want the house, but they will not want to live there. They will want the fraternity house for social and business purposes only, and that future fraternities will become more like Masonic or Shrine Lodges or American Legion Posts. He believes that fraternities should get out of the mind set of being a housing provider.
But then he added, and I quote, “future living arrangements will be based around ‘Clusters of Interest’ in dormitories and other living arrangements.” I found that prediction very encouraging! I think it describes Alpha Gamma Rho’s present housing arrangement perfectly. We already have a cluster of interest – agriculture and agriculture-related fields. Once more, Alpha Gamma Rho is already prepared in this way, for a soft and safe landing in the future.
We are in unprecedented times, and time itself seems to move more quickly than ever before. For me personally, and I suspect for all of you, there are more demands on our time than ever before. We cannot safely MANAGE our way through this kind of in-flight turbulence and ever-increasing air traffic, but we CAN lead our way through it. Because of the people in this room and throughout our wonderful fraternity, Alpha Gamma Rho is doing exactly that.
I am extremely privileged to have the view of Alpha Gamma Rho that you have afforded me. I get to see the chapters, the committees, the task forces, the boards, the RVPs, the advisors, the housemothers, the Home Office staff and others at work. I am among the first to see the results of all their work. And I can tell you, without a doubt, that despite the challenges of these turbulent times; despite the state of the overall economy; certainly NOT because of anything I am doing, but because of all of you in this room, and all the leaders across the brotherhood that is Alpha
Gamma Rho, the state of this fraternity is excellent because it is in excellent hands.
Vermont alum's family farm named best of the year
HARTLAND, Vt. -- July 31, 2009 -- A long-established Hartland Jersey farm that combines traditional values with innovative ideas for an efficient, high-producing dairy operation is the recipient of the 2009 Vermont Dairy Farm of the Year Award.
Gordon Richardson and his sons, Scott and AGR alumnus Reid, operate the Richardson Family Farm, a 64-cow hillside farm, in partnership with Gordon's siblings, James and Anita, who although both retired from the day-to-day operation, still help out when needed. Scott's wife, Amy, does the evening milking, and Gordon's wife, Patricia, handles the books and farm correspondence. Grandsons Mason Thompson and Ezra, Emory, and Elliott Richardson also pitch in to do farm chores on the 450-acre farm.
The farm was chosen for this prestigious award, which is sponsored by the New England Green Pastures Program, for its overall excellence in dairying, including outstanding herd performance and superior milk quality. Farms also are evaluated on crop production and pasture quality, environmental practices, financial management, and involvement in the agricultural community. Each of the six New England states selects a winner.
In Vermont, the award is presented annually by University of Vermont (UVM) Extension and the Vermont Dairy Industry Association (VDIA). The selection committee consists of representatives from Dairy Marketing Services, the Vermont Dairy Herd Improvement Association, VDIA, and a past Vermont Dairy Farm of the Year winner.
Glenn Rogers, a UVM Extension farm business management specialist, notes that this farm epitomizes everything that an exemplary Vermont dairy farm should. "They pride themselves on quality--the quality of their milk and of their cows--yet they never lose sight of what's really important, their quality of life."
He adds, "In this difficult economy, when farmers are getting less in their monthly milk check than what it costs them to produce their milk, the Richardsons are asking themselves, 'What can we do to make this work?' They're sustainable because they maximize their available resources. They are innovative Vermonters, always looking to see where they can improve their operation, improve the environment, improve efficiency, and improve their family quality of life."
The judges were particularly impressed by the immaculateness of the farm and the attention that these dairy producers pay to every detail, especially herd health.
The family, along with the other state winners, will be honored at Eastern States Exposition in W. Springfield, Mass., in September. They also will be recognized at the VDIA banquet at the Vermont Farm Show in Barre next January. Other finalists for this year's award, listed alphabetically, include Jacob, Bert, Grace, and Jeff Gosliga, Gosliga Farm, Inc., Addison, and Tom and Tim Magnant, Bridgeman View Farm, Franklin.
The Richardsons milk their cows on a twice daily milking schedule in a 10-cow flat parlor. Their current rolling herd average is 17,075 pounds. Milk fat production is 955 pounds and protein 666 pounds, numbers that can be attributed to selective breeding, customized feeding, and overall good herd management practices.
BLACKSBURG, Va., July 21, 2009 -- Virginia Tech has named Cornell alumnus Alan Grant, professor and head of the Department of Animal Sciences at Purdue University, the new dean for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Grant will start his position on Oct. 1, when he succeeds L.T. Kok, who has been interim dean since March after Sharron Quisenberry left to become vice president of research and economic development at Iowa State University.
“Alan Grant has an impressive record of teaching, research, outreach, and administrative accomplishments. I am excited about his vision for future growth and development of the college, which will ensure the college’s continued excellent standing among its peers. He will build on the organization’s strong foundation to further grow our programs for agriculture and the environment, food and health, life sciences, and learning. I look forward to his joining our leadership team,” stated Senior Vice President and Provost Mark McNamee.
Recognized as a University Faculty Scholar at Purdue University, Grant has received several teaching awards, including the Teaching for Tomorrow Award, an enrichment program for recognizing and fostering teaching. Capital projects under his leadership as department head have included a $2.3 million swine environmental research building; $600,000 Ossabaw swine facility; major investments in manure management systems at the Purdue Research and Education Center; and renovations of several research laboratories.
“I am committed to Virginia Tech’s land-grant mission and believe the college is a natural leader in this area due to its strong assets – quality agricultural and life sciences programs and their integration with Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Agricultural Experiment Station. I am excited about the prospect of working with university colleagues on building the university’s future and expanding existing partnerships with internal and external stakeholders. Through these efforts, the college will continue to develop solutions to relevant problems in the agriculture, food, health, and natural resources sectors across its teaching, research, and Extension missions,” Grant said.
Grant was initiated by Zeta in 1981.
Florida alumnus named Professional Engineer of the Year
ST JOSEPH, Mich. -- July 2, 2009 -- The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers has named Florida alumnus Dale W. Zimmerman, PE, 2009 Professional Engineer of the Year in recognition of his outstanding contributions and service to clients, colleagues, students,and society as a design engineer and leader of an engineering consulting firm. The award was presented June 24 at the 2009 ASABE Annual International Meeting, in Reno, Nev
Zimmerman is president of Mock, Roos & Associates, Inc., a 54-year-old consulting engineering firm in West Palm Beach, Fla., that he has served as president since 1991. In addition to setting strategic direction and monitoring daily business activities and progress, he also serves as the firm’s senior technical advisor and plays an active role in advising project teams, providing direction in quality control, engineering designs, specifications, bidding and construction phase services.
His firm’s engineering projects have included stormwater management, irrigation, water reuse, pump stations, potable water and wastewater systems and treatment, water wells, best management practices, animal waste management, water quality monitoring, geographic information systems (GIS), and roadways. Among the firm’s clients are Florida dairy farmers and citrus growers, the South Florida, St. John’s River, and Suwannee water management districts, and numerous other special water and improvement districts, local municipalities and counties, and private land developers.
While a board member and chairman of the Florida Board of Professional Engineers, Zimmerman made a positive impact on the interests of public health, safety, and welfare of Florida citizens, and provided valuable service in the governance and regulation of the practice of professional engineering throughout the state. As the first agricultural engineer ever appointed to the Board, he had numerous opportunities to educate state regulatory agencies and engineering organizations on the importance of agricultural engineering to the state of Florida as it faces the challenges of sustainable growth and its impact on food and water requirements.
A 44-year member of ASABE, Zimmerman has provided leadership to various technical and professional engineering organizations. He has served in officer positions in the Florida section and as a member of the Society’s Board of Directors. He is currently into his second term as a Foundation Board trustee.
A few of his numerous awards include a Florida Engineering Society Engineer of the Year award, Palm Beach Chapter of the Florida Engineering Society Young Engineer and Engineer of the Year awards, and American Water Works Association Award of Life Membership. He has received three Florida section awards and was elected a Fellow of the Society in 1993.
Zimmerman is a member of the American Water Works Association, Florida Pollution Control Association, Water Environment Federation, National Society of Professional Engineers, and Florida Engineering Society, of which he was named a Fellow. He has twice received gubernatorial appointment to the Florida Board of Professional Engineers, and he has been a member of the National Council of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors, for which he has served as consultant to and member of the NCEES Committee on Professionalism and Ethics. Zimmerman holds degrees from Palm Beach Community College and also the University of Florida, where he is a lifetime member of the UF Alumni Association.
STILLWATER, Okla. – July 2, 2009 – AGR Hall of Fame member and Ohio State alumnus Robert Oehrtman died today at age 69. Through his leadership, Oehrtman inspired a pursuit of academic excellence among all members he met. He fostered lifelong personal development and engaged all brothers in professional development, promoting lifelong career success.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 7, at First Christian Church in Stillwater, Okla. A separate memorial service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 11, at Oliver’s Funeral Home in Greenville, Ohio (preceded by a 12:00 calling) and interment will be in Greenlawn Cemetery, Versailles, Ohio. Strode Funeral Home, Stillwater Okla. is in charge of arrangements.
Oehrtman, professor of Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State, became a member of Beta Chapter at Ohio State in 1958. He earned his Bachelor of Science in agriculture at Ohio State, his master’s in agriculture economics at Oregon State and his doctorate in economics at Iowa State.
Oehrtman began teaching and research in the Agriculture Economics Department at Oklahoma State in 1970. Since then he became tenured and continued to teach and perform research including authoring over 150 research papers in various areas of economics.
Since 1979, he has served as Pi Chapter adviser at Oklahoma State. He has also served as co-chair for numerous national convention committees. He was inducted into the AGR Hall of Fame in 2006, named an AGR Brother of the Century in 2004 and was awarded the Outstanding Adviser Award in 1983, 2000 and 2002.
His honors and recognition are represented from Boy Scouts of America, Brotherhood Member of the Order of the Arrow, Eagle Scouts, along with agriculture, agriculture economic and teaching industries.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made to a scholarship fund for outstanding students of the Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity or a fund to support the activities of the local troops of Boy Scout of America. Details of the scholarship will be available at the memorial service or provided by Strode Funeral Home in Stillwater. Condolences may be emailed to the family and an online obituary may be viewed by visiting www.strodefh.com.
Oklahoma State alum featured on Bloomberg Television
Oklahoma State alumnus Brady Sidwell recently made an appearance on Bloomberg Television. Sidwell is head of advisory at Rabobank Groep NV's Northeast Asia Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory Group. He spoke with Bloomberg's Bernard Lo about the growth of investments in farmland.
Purdue alumnus shares thoughts on change in Ag equipment industry
Purdue alumnus John Demerly, Director of Business Development for Adayana, shares his insights on change in the Ag equipment industry for AgriMarketing. AgriMarketing is the official magazine of the National Agri-Marketing Association. Below are his insights which appeared in the July issue.
Like a shopping cart pushing a combine, demands of today’s consumers pose challenges and opportunities that the agriculture industry has never seen before. Consumers demands more food that is safe and low in cost, creating the need for efficiency and traceability. Additionally, consumer and government demand for renewable fuels creates a parallel but difference challenge for the industry.
Agricultural equipment manufacturers will find challenges and complexity in multiple drivers of chance, including technology, energy, producer consolidation, environmental regulations, and the ever-increasing availability and complexity of data. Understanding and responding proactively to these factors can help agricultural equipment manufacturers turn challenges into opportunities.
Change in Technology
Technology will continue to change in response to consumer demands and ultimately, the need for more, safe food. As our global population grows, more food must be produced on less available land and water due to increased urbanization and industrialization.
For example, total water withdrawal is projected to increase by as much as 50 percent by the year 2025.
The seed industry will lead changes in agriculture as innovations in germplasm and traits shift how crops are grown and open new markets for specialty products, disease and insect control, and even drought- or salt water-tolerant crops.
The integration between a farmer’s seed decision, tillage practices and crop protection that began with the introduction of Roundup Ready soybeans will continue as new traits enter the market, providing agricultural equipment manufacturers unique opportunities to integrate with other aspects of the production system, such as irrigation, seed bed preparation, harvesting, handling and storage.
Some new gardeners shop hard for the best gloves, hat or kneeling mat. Some new gardeners in Thomas County gear up by wearing matching outfits and working with whatever tools the warden lets them use for the day.
Inmates at the Thomas County Prison in Thomasville, Ga., grow their own food as part of a pilot project designed to teach them new skills and save the prison money.
The prison spends $5,000 a week for food. Of that, $1,000 or more goes to buying produce, Warden Robert Greer said during a recent television interview. Less than $1,000 has been invested in the whole garden project.
Georgia alumnus R.J. Byrne heard Greer talking about his predicament at a committee meeting. He had a solution.
“I thought, ‘Gosh,’ they’ve got some land out there and 200-plus inmates out there, so we started a garden,” said Byrne, a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agent in Thomas County. “You can grow some form of vegetable or fruit year-round out here.”
The garden is located on the old county farm. Back in the 1960s and ‘70s, the prison used it to grow vegetables and raise cows, hogs and chickens.
Under Byrne’s guidance, inmates have turned an acre of weeds into a plot teeming with corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, okra, beans and watermelons. Even with startup costs for seed, transplants and fertilizer, he estimates that the prison will save several thousand dollars this year.
Greer got as many as 50 inmates involved during the planning, planting and weeding. And Byrne pulled the community into the project through his county’s Master Gardener program.
“What I originally thought was that the Master Gardeners would give the inmates the chance to talk to somebody outside of the cell and have some positive influence on their lives,” Byrne said.
The Master Gardeners ran with the idea, and now they help scout the garden for insect or disease problems. They also work in the garden alongside the inmates.
Many of the inmates work the garden when they’re needed. But for two of them, it’s their full-time project.
“That is their garden,” Byrne said. “They’re out there all the time. Four to six other inmates cycle through helping out, but it’s their sole responsibility to be in charge of the garden.”
Their work has paid off. They’re now picking cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and squash. They’re waiting eagerly for the first watermelons to be big enough to pick.
“The bees are working hard out there, too, to get everything pollinated,” Byrne said. “The warden’s talking about having honeybee hives out there. He’s always ambitious about trying new things.”
Along with bees, he’s hoping to grow the garden to include the three surrounding acres.
The project is Byrne’s first attempt at growing a large-scale garden, he said. Byrne was initiated by Alpha Eta in 1998.
AUBURN, Ala. – June 15, 2009 – Auburn undergraduate, Trenton McLeod, died Sunday evening from injuries he sustained after the tractor he was driving tipped over, according to the Lee County Coroner’s office.
The 23-year-old Moore’s Mill Golf Course employee was driving a tractor on the course at about 7 a.m. Sunday when he hit an embankment, causing the tractor to tip over and pin McLeod under the blower attached to the back of the tractor.
A co-worker heard the accident and several came to his aid to free him from underneath the machine. Rescue crews arrived shortly thereafter and airlifted McLeod to the Columbus Medical Center in Columbus, Ga., for treatment of head injuries. He died at the hospital shortly after 8 p.m. EDT, making his the second death of an AU student in 24 hours. Auburn Police Division is investigating McLeod’s accident.
Visitation and funeral services will be held 2 p.m., Tuesday, June 16, at the First United Methodist Church, 100 East 4th Street, Prattville, AL. Several alumni and parents of the undergraduates are reaching out to the members and family. Because it is the week before finals on the summer minimester, the University pledged to work with individuals to excuse them to attend the memorial.
Parents came to the Xi Chapter House Sunday evening to visit McLeod’s room and with several of the AGR members. The dean of students, IFC and University parent/student relations officers also met with the chapter.
Xi Chapter has ordered flowers for the funeral and is exploring ways to set up a memorial scholarship in McLeod’s honor. McLeod was initiated by Xi in 2006.
UW-Madison alumnus named Dairy Business Association director
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- June 12, 2009 -- The Dairy Business Association is pleased to announce Wisconsin-Madison alumnus Tim Griswold as its Director of Business Development. In this newly created position, Griswold will focus on bringing DBA membership benefits to more businesses - both dairy producers and corporate businesses. Griswold will also assist DBA Executive Director Laurie Fischer with communicating dairy industry issues to legislators and regulators.
Griswold comes to DBA with a wealth of experience within the dairy industry, particularliy in sales, business development and dairy expansion. He will utilize his broad experience to maximize the effectiveness of the organization and bring value to DBA members.
Since DBA was founded 10 years ago, Griswold has assisted the association. Originally serving as an adviser to the association, he was later elected to the Board of Directors in 2007. Griswold resigned his seat on the DBA Board of Directors to accept this position.
Since 2004, Griswold has sold Posilac, recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST), to commercial dairy producers in Wisconsin. He was initially with Monsanto and then with Elanco Animal Health, when they purchased the Posilac business in 2008 to add to their product portfolio. Griswold served as the Executive Director of the Dairy 2020 Initiative at the Wisconsin Department of Commece from 1998 to 2004 where he promoted industry reinvestment by assisting with dairy business expansion projects.
Griswold is a 1989 graduate of the UW-Madison with a degree in Agricultural Journalism. He was raised on a dairy farm in southeastern Wisconsin. Griswold and his wife, Jane, have three children, Kate, Sara, and James. They have lived in Black Earth, Wis. for 17 years where they operate a small hobby farm. He was initiated by Iota in 1983.
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand -- June 4, 2009 -- North Dakota State alumnus Greg Halverson was recently recognized as a 2009 World Potato Congress Award winner. The award recognizing outstanding personal contribution and leadership in respect to the development and progress of the global potato industry. All recipients received their awards at the 7th World Potato Congress.
Halverson is President and CEO of Black Gold, headquartered in Grand Forks, N.D., a company that he founded and built. The multi-state potato growing company has grown to over 15,000 acres of potatoes, with 10 individual farms in 10 states.
Black Gold is known internationally for its adoption of advanced technology in the area of chip potato production and handling. Under Halverson’s leadership, Black Gold has received Global and National Supplier Innovation awards from Frito-Lay and Cavendish Farms in recognition for supplier innovation and leadership.
In 2002, Black Gold instituted a systematic approach to potato production in the Peoples Republic of China, where they introduced the country’s first successful bulk handling and transport system of chip potatoes.
Halverson has been involved in leadership positions on the Research Committee of the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association as well as the Environmental Affairs Committee of the National Potato Council. He is presently Secretary/Treasurer of the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association. Under Halverson's leadership, Black Gold is honored to be a recipient of the 2009 National Potato Growers Environmental Stewardship Award.
Washington State alum to play self in upcoming film
June 2, 2009 – A Washington State alumnus and former Oakland Athletics’ team member will play himself in the upcoming Columbia Pictures film. Scott Hatteberg plans to team with other former team member David Justice as well as actors Brad Pitt and Demetri Martin in the film adaptation of Michael Lewis’ book, “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.”
“Moneyball” focuses on Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s who used a sophisticated computer analysis system to piece together a team that regularly contended for the World Series despite a payroll dramatically lower than such big-market rivals as the New York Yankees.
After graduating from Washington State, Hatteberg was drafted by the Boston Red Sox and played with the team from 1995-2001. He then played for the Oakland A’s from 2001 to 2005. Hatteberg currently plays for the Cincinnati Reds. He was initiated by Sigma in 1989.
CLEMSON, S.C. -- June 1, 2009 -- Beta Zeta Chapter recently received a prestigious award among all the fraternities at Clemson--the IFC Cup. The award recognizes the chapter’s status as the top fraternity on campus. Beta Zeta received this award by exemplifying dedication through activities on campus as well as involvement in the community. The chapter was able to secure the IFC Cup due to its first place finish in 2008’s closet cleanout and first place tie for the best moving float during homecoming week.
“I am also proud to say that my brothers and I were the only fraternity here at Clemson to be recognized as achieving Chapter Excellence last year,” said Noble Ruler Matthew Davis.
Beta Zeta received honorable mention in community involvement and strategic planning. The chapter accomplished this goal by demonstrating excellence in community service, educational programs, philanthropy, chapter GPA, social policies and strategic planning.
Iota undergrad chosen to serve as PDPW summer intern
FOND DU LAC, Wisc. -- June 1, 2009 -- A junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison was named the 2009 summer communications intern for the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin. Adam Geiger will be assisting in the planning and promotion of several of the organizations events for PDPW.
In addition, he will coordinate many of the summer and fall youth activities such as the annual Youth Leadership Derby. Geiger will also travel to industry events to promote the activities that PDPW is involved with.
Geiger is pursuing a double major in dairy science and life science communication. In school, he has been involved in the Alpha Gamma Rho, serving currently as recruitment officer, and Badger Dairy Club.
Geiger grew up on a 65 cow dairy farm near Brillion. He enjoys caring for and fitting cattle, judging cattle and showing cattle at various shows. He was initiated by Iota Chapter in 2007.
Penn State's chapter raises funds to support farmers with disabilities
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- May, 26, 2009 -- Penn State University agricultural Greek organizations raised more than $700 to help a Somerset County dairy farmer.
Penn State's Gamma Chapter teamed with members of Delta Theta Sigma and Alpha Zeta fraternities and Sigma Alpha Sorority to gather the funds through a penny war campaign sponsored by AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians.
The donation was presented to AgrAbility client Timothy Murray.
“I am the fourth generation to farm here,” explained Murray regarding the dairy farm in southern Somerset County. “I can’t imagine being anywhere else or doing anything differently, no matter how challenging farming becomes.”
In addition to the challenges all dairy farmers face, such as wildly fluctuating milk prices and high input costs, Murray copes with the additional hardship of a nearly 10-year-old hip replacement.
For the 54-year-old Murray, that has meant difficulty in walking extensively around the farm, managing steps and ladders on tractors and silo and the repetitive bending required in his tie-stall milking barn.
Murray’s grown sons, Eric and Jared, help out as much as possible, though both also have full time jobs off the farm. So when Murray’s farm neighbors mentioned the help they had received from AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians, he decided to contact the program, as well.
AgrAbility project coordinator Linda Fetzer responded to Murray’s inquiry by doing an on-farm visit and site assessment.
Fetzer discussed the specific tasks that had become most difficult for Murray and created a list of recommended equipment and modifications that she felt would be most helpful to the dairyman.
Fetzer linked Murray with the PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and completed the eligibility process.
Through the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Murray was eligible to receive assistance to purchase step kits for the farm’s tractors, speed hitches to accommodate less trips on and off tractors, a tractor seat that provided greater comfort and suspension and a feed cart and bins to decrease the amount of lifting required for daily feeding chores.
Penn State’s ag fraternities have been participating in the AgrAbility fundraiser for several years.
AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians helps individuals who are coping with many different kinds of physical challenges, including arthritis, stroke, knee and back problems, amputations, vision and hearing disabilities and many others.
The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is a partnership of Penn State Cooperative Extension, Easter Seals Central Pennsylvania and the PA Assistive Technology Foundation.
Delta Chapter impresses Purdue's IFC with high values
To truly Live the Promise as an organization, each chapter must foster the highest of values by living each day according to the 10 AGR Values. One chapter in particular exemplifies Value 1, to “consistently perform as a professional, integrity-driven, world class organization committed to the highest of standards and driven to recruit men of the highest potential.”
Purdue’s Delta Chapter was selected to showcase the Purdue Fraternal Community to incoming freshman and families. Their efforts set a high standard for organizations throughout campus.
The following is a letter from the Director of Recruitment for InterFraternity Council at Purdue expressing his gratitude towards Delta’s exemplary leadership on the campus.
My name is John Ware and I am the Director of Recruitment for InterFraternity Council at Purdue University and I am writing you to express my appreciation and admiration for Delta Chapter. We recently hosted a Greek Sneak Peak as a means for showcasing the Purdue Fraternal Community to incoming freshman and their families, which included touring two of our 41 chapter houses on campus. I personally selected Delta Chapter for this role due to their outstanding leadership, reliability and reputation for maintaining the chapter house to perfection.
From the initial planning process all the way through to the conclusion of this event Delta's President, Derek Middlesworth, always went above and beyond everything we asked of him. I want to express to you how appreciative I am to have been able to work with Derek. He is without question a great asset to Delta Chapter, the Fraternal Community, and Purdue University as a whole. I am avid believer that great Fraternities start from the top down, and Delta Chapter stands as a testament to this belief. The families that toured the house were extremely expressed by the house's condition, academic resources, IT infrastructure, and the overall environment they have constructed for the betterment and development of the chapter's members. Delta Chapter continues to act as a leading benchmark for our community and an example for all at Purdue to model themselves after. I ask that you please forward this email onto other chapter and national advisers so that it’s made known to all the contributions Delta Chapter has made for the entire Fraternal Community at Purdue University.
Short term insurance now available for new graduates
At the time of graduation, chances are health insurance isn’t top of mind for seniors. We wanted to provide you with some content you could use in your electronic communications after graduation as a reminder that GradMed is available through the alumni association. Please feel free to pick up the following text, which has been approved by compliance, and include it in upcoming issues of your e-newsletter:
GradMed® Short Term Medical Coverage Available as a Benefit for Alumni
You may find yourself with a need for temporary health insurance coverage. We sponsor GradMed Short Term Medical to help you fill your coverage gap and help protect you and your bank account from large expenses due to an accident or unexpected illness.
Coverage can start the day after receipt of your application. To get more information, receive a rate quote or apply for coverage, visit the GradMed Web site or call our plan administrator at 1-800-922-1245.
GradMed is not available in all states. Some provisions, benefits, exclusions or limitations may vary depending on your state of residence. Depending on state, coverage is underwritten and issued by Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company or Time Insurance Company.
Undergrad director inducted into UF Hall of Fame
MIAMI – May 29, 2009 – Kelvin Moreno, an undergraduate member of the University of Florida Alpha Gamma Chapter currently serving as National AGR Undergraduate Director, has been inducted into the 2009 UF Hall of Fame. Moreno has been recognized for his student leadership, achievement, scholarship and continued devotion to agriculture.
Moreno, son of Melvin and Teresa Moreno, will continue to further his education by acquiring a Masters in Agribusiness and a Law degree from the University of Florida. Moreno is responsible for launching the first Collegiate Farm Bureau in the State of Florida. As founding president, he achieved a collegiate membership of over 213 members, creating a bridge for students to network with local, state and national leaders in government and the agriculture industry.
Moreno, also an active member of the prestigious Florida Blue Key, has served two consecutive years as a National FFA Collegiate Ambassador and was the first collegiate student in the Southeastern region selected as a Student Advisory Member to the Agriculture Future of America (AFA).
“I owe many of my current accomplishments to the leadership and development skills I gained while serving under various capacities at the Alpha Gamma Chapter,” said Moreno.
Since 1921, the University of Florida Hall of Fame has recognized students who have consistently demonstrated an outstanding commitment to improving the university through campus and community involvement, participation in organized campus activities and scholastic achievement.
“These students are to be commended for their contributions and commitment to the university and to the community,” said Patricia Telles-Irvin, UF’s vice president for student affairs. “We have all benefited from their accomplishments in a variety of areas and we are very grateful for their efforts.”
Induction into the Hall of Fame is the most prestigious honor awarded to a UF student and is limited to the students that have left their mark in the university community and beyond.
Missouri alumnus releases book to stop overgrowing landfills
PITTSBURGH -- May 11, 2009 -- Missouri alumnus Tom McCartney hopes his new book will increase awareness on the concern of the growth of landfills and importation of garbage from big, east coast cities to rural America.
McCartney released the fiction, "Poisoned Roots" out of his special concern to Missouri. Growing up on a farm, he developed an appreciation for the beauty in nature and the importance of being a steward of the land. Today, he fears the state's growing landfill concern will leave rural communities vulnerable as he attempts to raise awareness on the topic through his book.
"Poisoned Roots" is based on a real fight led by McCartney's mother against the local county and state of Missouri to prevent a mining company from building a landfill next to the family homestead. While a work of fiction, "Poisoned Roots" depicts the devastating impact to rural communities caused by the decline of the family farm.
McCartney was raised on a livestock and grain farm in the northeastern part of the state. He was a Future Farmer of America, earning the State Farmer Award at 17. At the University of Missouri, he studied in the College of Agriculture and learned to write in the School of Journalism. McCartney was initiated by Theta Chapter in 1968. He graduated in 1971 with a BS in Agriculture and Journalism.
McCartney and his wife now live in Pittsburgh, where he operates McCartney & Associates, an advertising and marketing agency.
Virginia Tech alum chosen to head animal clinical science department
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- May 14, 2009 -- The clinical department in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech has recently announced an addition to its administrative roster. The Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences now has an associate department head.
Virginia Tech alum, Terry Swecker, of Blacksburg, Va., an associate professor of production management medicine and clinical nutrition, has been named to the new position in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences.
“I am pleased to welcome Dr. Swecker to this new and important position and look forward to working with him in this new capacity as we continue to move our department and college forward,” said Dr. David Hodgson, head of the department “As there is no salary or administrative loading associated with these appointments, I am indeed most appreciative he has accepted this increased administrative role.”
The duties of this position are primarily to assist the head of the department in the discharge of his or her responsibilities and to provide continuity of leadership within the department and college, according to Hodgson. In addition, the associate department head may exercise all powers and has all responsibilities of the head of the department during the absence of the department head for a period of five days or more, or as otherwise directed.
Swecker received his doctorate of veterinary medicine in 1984 and his Ph.D. in 1990 from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. Prior to joining the college faculty in 1990, Swecker was an associate veterinarian in Troutville, Va. He is board certified as a diplomate by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition. He was initiated by Beta Eta in 1978.
Retired AGR professor, wife celebrated with tree dedication
MOSCOW, Idaho -- May 5, 2009 -- Wisconsin-Madison alumnus Maynard Fosberg and his wife, Margaret, were honored by the University of Idaho Student Alumni Relations Board Friday at the Silver/Gold Tree Dedication. A Scarlet Oak that stands in front of the Teaching and Learning Center now has the Fosbergs’ name attached to it.
Shea Nesbitt chaired this year’s Silver/Gold event with SArb. The event has been held every year since 1981 to recognize individuals who have contributed greatly to the university. A short ceremony is held, and people speak on behalf of the honorees before they plant the tree, using the same shovel Theodore Roosevelt used when he visited the university.
“Every year, people like the Fosbergs are nominated to get their recognition,” Nesbitt said. “A tree is planted in their honor, or in this case, dedicated.”
Maynard served UI as a soil science professor until he retired. He helped establish the AGR colony in 1992 at the University of Idaho that became the Beta Phi chapter. He was the first president of the Idaho AGR Alumni Association.
Faculty members and close friends of the Fosbergs gathered at the dedication to congratulate them. The Fosbergs sat in the front row, and many individuals walked up to them before the ceremony to shake their hands and congratulate them. Current members of both Alpha Gamma Rho and Alpha Gamma Delta were also in attendance. Martha Hunt said she and the Fosbergs have “been friends forever,” and she felt they deserved the honor.
“They’re just crazy about the University of Idaho,” Hunt said. “I’m so glad (SArb) picked them.”
Fosberg helped found and was an active member of Alpha Gamma Delta during her years at the university and was a nurse at the Student Health Center. Speakers at the ceremony addressed some of her classic speeches about student health around campus and pointed to her leadership and empowerment of young women through the years.
John Foltz, associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, spoke about the Fosbergs at the event. He cited Maynard’s achievements, including his monolith system the soil science department still uses in its curriculum and his assistance in programs around the state that increase recruitment for their department.
“I think it’s fitting that a growing thing is being planted in your honor and will be here for many years to come,” Foltz said.
After Foltz spoke, the Fosbergs were called up and shoveled dirt over the newly dedicated tree with the gold Roosevelt shovel. When he approached the podium, Maynard’s speech was brief. He said they both felt honored to have been chosen.
“You know, I’ve planted hundreds of thousands of trees in my life, but I never thought I’d have one planted for me,” Fosberg said.
ALEXANDER, Iowa -- May 1, 2009 -- Latham Hi-Tech Seeds is following the old adage: The best way for a company to stay in the family is to produce new generations.
The Iowa State Lathams did so when a third generation, John and Shannon Latham, recently bought the family's mainstay Latham Seeds soybean company and merged it with their five-year-old Latham Hybrids seed corn company.
"We want to stay independent, and there aren't many independent seed companies left," said John Latham, a 1992 Iowa State University graduate.
John and Shannon make a formidable team, with John's background in seed and agronomy and Shannon's experience in marketing and public relations.
John spent a couple of years as an agronomist with Pioneer Hi-Bred in Illinois, and Shannon worked in Des Moines for the Iowa Agribusiness Association, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and the Meyocks Group.
John returned to the Latham Seeds fold after his uncle, Tom Latham, was elected to Congress in 1994. John spent the next decade or so selling along the Latham Seeds territory in Iowa, southern Minnesota, and eastern Nebraska and South Dakota.
John's father, Bill, has stepped into a new role as "chief technical officer," where he can pursue plant breeding research.
Latham Seeds still operates from a complex just south of the Franklin County hamlet of Alexander (pop. 165).
In 1947, farmer Willard Latham started a new venture selling oats to neighboring farmers. The company headquarters is an expanded and modernized version of his house.
By the 1960s, Latham Seeds had carved out a niche for itself in the expansion of soybean production in the Midwest.
As the years passed, the Lathams watched as most of the old independent seed companies passed into the hands of larger owners. Monsanto absorbed DeKalb, Asgrow, NC+, Fontanelle, Midwest, Kruger and Crow's. Syngenta took over Garst, NK and Golden Harvest, and DuPont acquired Pioneer Hi-Bred and Curry.
That has left Latham and Stine Seeds of Adel, among others, to wave the flag of the independents in the seed business. The indies can do their own research and production, but a smaller operation like Latham has to rely on licensing agreements to use seed traits that come from the big multinational labs at Monsanto, DuPont, Bayer and Syngenta.
"But that's an advantage for us," said John Latham. "We can offer a full line of genetic traits. DeKalb, for instance, will be limited to Monsanto's traits. We aren't."
To that end, Latham's soybean offerings can include Monsanto's Roundup Ready and Bayer's LibertyLink soybeans seeds. Its corn seeds can include Monsanto's YieldGard and the DuPont/Pioneer Herculex lines. It will offer in future years Monsanto's drought-resistant corn and low-linolenic, high-oleic soybeans.
Latham has to pay royalties for all that high-powered genetic technology, but that means it can confine its overhead to the 30 or so employees who work at the company's research, production and storage facility at Alexander. The company produces its own soybeans at Alexander and contracts with a third party in western Iowa to produce its corn seeds.
The practice of licensing among the seed companies creates a strange mixture of competitiveness and camaraderie in the seed industry.
"We're competitors and also partners," Latham said. "I worked for Pioneer and still know a lot of people there. In fact, we all pretty much know one another."
This year, Latham will sell about 400,000 bags of soybean seeds. Total company revenues will be about $20 million.
The Latham entry into corn didn't come until 2004, when the family recognized the coming surge in demand caused by ethanol. Corn still constitutes a very small part of company revenues and profits.
"But there is strong growth in corn," Latham said.
He and Shannon met at Iowa State, then went their separate ways before reuniting and marrying in 1998.
"Agriculture's story needs to be told better," said Shannon, a Greene native who majored in agricultural journalism at Iowa State.
The couple are raising what they hope will be the fourth generation of Lathams to enter the seed business, an 8-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son.
"To say that running a company and raising two kids at the same time is a challenge is an understatement," Shannon Latham said.
John was initiated by Eta in 1991, Tom was initiated in 1995 and Bill was initiated in 1960.
SIKESTON, Mo. -- April 30, 2009 -- They sport very similar eyes, smiles, hair color and an easy humor sprinkled with inside jokes. Mississippi State alumnus Will Hunter and Laura Hunter Collins, partners in the Missouri Bootheel-based Willow and Company farming venture, are obviously siblings.
In 2003, siblings Will Hunter and Laura Hunter Collins formed the Bootheel-based farming partnership, Willow and Company. Along with their father, Sam, Laura says Willow’s goal is to “keep this a family operation and only grow it wisely.”
The pair is also an anomaly: fresh-faced, Delta-based youngsters who not only want to farm, but are passionate about it.
Here, teetering on the very northern edge of the Cotton Belt just to the west of Sikeston, Mo., the soils are nearly black and prepped in anticipation of seed. Back in 1940, the pair’s grandfather, William Pinnell Hunter Sr. — from a banking and levee construction background in New Madrid, Mo. — came to the area with his brother, Furg, and began buying and leasing timber ground to clear and grow cotton.
“So, my father moved to Sikeston to clear the land and begin farming,” says Sam M. Hunter, son of W.P and farm manager. “In those days, almost everything grown around here was cotton. That was the big crop. With WWII coming on, cotton was obviously valuable.”
Until a couple of old Caterpillar D-7 dozers were procured, the land was cleared with mule teams. It was back-breaking work, but simple: ring and chop trees, burn the land off and then plant. Almost immediately, the wisdom of moving to the area was apparent.
“Right out of the box, the soils here — mostly Sharkey clay, although we have some river loam to the west — proved to be very fertile,” says Sam. “They were making 1-bale or 1.5-bale cotton to the acre the first cotton crop. That’s incredible! They got that yield without fertilizer, without irrigation — just plant and pick.”
At the same time he was clearing land, W.P. built a company store to accommodate a sharecropping operation. Farmers would set up on 40-acre or 80-acre tracks. Each 40 acres had a house on it. Each 80-acre parcel had two houses and a barn where mules were kept.
“When I was a boy, a lot of the sharecropper houses and barns were still standing,” says Sam. “Of course, by then, they weren’t using mules. But a lot of the farm labor who worked for my dad lived in those old houses. Now, unfortunately, all that is gone — torn down, burned down, whatever.”
If anyone was destined to work the family land, it was Will. That’s what friends and family say. And, growing up, Laura was nearly as resolute.
“I don’t think either one of us envisioned ourselves far from Sikeston,” she says. “We’re hometown kids. Our roots are deep here. Will has wanted to farm since Day One. He was in our grandfather’s truck from the time he was three years old.”
When Will was in high school and preparing to graduate, several close friends often visited the family house. “I’d ask them what their plans were, where they’d attend college, what they’d major in,” says Sam. “It wasn’t always clear what they wanted.
“One of them told me: ‘You don’t know how lucky you are. Will’s always known what he wants to do.’ That is absolutely true. Even when he was a little kid in school, all the kids knew Will wanted to farm.”
Will wanted to farm so badly, in fact, that he was uninterested in college. “I think most teenage boys looking to farm want to get started as soon as possible,” says Laura. “You know, ‘College? What’s the point?’”
However, Sam and his wife, Erica, were determined that all their children (including oldest son, Sam, and Will’s twin, Seth) would be college graduates. To bring the point home, his father recalls telling Will, “‘Unless you get a college degree, you can’t farm the family land.’ He could tell we were totally serious.”
Will was soon at Mississippi State University where he would earn a degree in agricultural economics degree in 1999. He was initiated by Beta Tau in 1995. Sam says Will came home saying college “was one of the best experiences of his life and he couldn’t believe he almost didn’t attend.”
“I learned a lot, met a lot of really great people with similar backgrounds and interests and developed a network I still use today,” says Will. “I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.”
Southern Illinois alumnus joins team to serve farmers
HOUSTON, Texas -- April 29, 2009 -- In response to the increasing demand for StollerUSA products, the team of sales representatives and dealers continues to grow. Southern Illinois alumnus Scott Gooden has joined the team and will serve farmers in Missouri and Illinois.
Experienced and knowledgeable in sales, marketing and customer service, Gooden has previously worked within the seed and agricultural equipment industries.
"To be part of a successful company with credible research and field trials, and to support the Stoller product line is exciting," Gooden commented. "I'm looking forward to sharing the research results with farmers in my area."
In addition to working directly with farmers, Gooden will serve to support efforts of StollerUSA's preferred dealers and distributors. These Preferred Dealers have recognized the value of StollerUSA's approach to maximizing genetic expression.
For a complete list of dealers in your area, visit www.StollerUSA.com/dealerlocator. If you are interested in becoming an exclusive preferred dealer, contact Scott Gooden at 217-637-0880, or StollerUSA at 1-800-539-5283.
"We are enthused to have experienced individuals like Gooden join the StollerUSA team," comments Dave Redmond, Stoller USA National Sales Manager. "As interest grows in the Stoller technology and our line-up of yield enhancing products, farmers need to have quality local and regional representatives to support their needs."
Georgia alumnus honored for dedication to community
STATESBORO, Ga. – April 28, 2009 -- Each spring, The Business Report & Journal salutes 40 members of the community under the age of 40 for their business leadership, entrepreneurial savvy and dedication to the growth of the Chatham County, Ga., area.
Georgia alumnus Elliott Marsh represents a cross-section of the current generation of professionals who are blazing the trail for the future of the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry.
Farming is big business in southeast Georgia, and Marsh is teaching other how to tap into the wealth.
As an agribusiness instructor and the program coordinator at Ogeechee Technical College in Statesboro, Ga., Marsh helps students prepare for careers in industries allied with agriculture in the state. These include the production, transportation, distribution, marketing and processing of farm products, as well as agricultural banking and credit agencies.
The Ogeechee Tech agribusiness program is the only one of its kind in the state.
Since Marsh became coordinator, it has made a huge impact on Bulloch County, says on student. “Mr. Marsh took a program that was failing and made it into a very strong program,” said Kevin Deal in his nomination letter. “He is a wonderful, strong leader for agriculture in Bulloch County.”
Marsh has a degree in agriculture economics from the University of Georgia and is a member of the several professional organizations including the Agricultural Economics Association of Georgia, the Georgia Agribusiness Council and the Agriculture Leadership Program.
He has also served as lead researcher for the Water Policy Center on a joint project with the Georgia Soil and water Conservation Commission that highlighted the use of irrigation meters on agricultural irrigation systems in the southeast Georgia region.
He is active with the Bulloch County Chapter of Commerce, a Relay for Life caption and is a Ducks Unlimited volunteer. In 2006, he ran for a seat on the Bulloch County Commissions, calling it an “opportunity to grow as a person.”
One of the best lessons he’s learned so far in his career was to build relationships and not just to network. “By building relationships with area and state agribusiness groups, my students have been allowed to participate in many experiences that they may not have been able to do otherwise,” Marsh said. “Relationship building is great for the long term because you will always have that contact no matter where they are.”
Marsh’s biggest mistake so far in his career is not taking a chance because he was scared to fail.
“Before the summer of 2006, I was always scared to fail. Then some friends convinced me to run for county commissioner, with the support of my wife. I knew there was a chance I wouldn’t win the election, but I decided to use this opportunity to grow as a person,” Marsh said. “I learned through experience that you may not accomplish your goal, but the only way you fail is by not learning from the experience. I haven’t failed again, so far.”
Missouri Chapter goes above and beyond fundraising goal
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- April 28, 2009 -- During the month of March, the men of Missouri's Theta Chapter participated in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central MO's largest fundraiser, Bowl for Kids' Sake. The bowling fundraiser requires each team to raise at least $300. This fundraiser benefits underprivileged and at-risk children in the area who are in desperate need of mentoring.
Theta Chapter not only reached this goal, but went above and beyond by raising more than $600. This achievement also won the chapter first place prize out of all Greek teams participating in the fundraiser. As a result, the chapter received a complimentary waived room rental fee at the Tiger Hotel to use at it's disposal. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central MO deeply appreciates the effort and participation of these upstanding men and they thank the chapter for all their work.
Western Kentucky Chapter works service project for Girl Scouts
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- April 27, 2009 -- After being so pleased with the Western Kentucky's Alpha Chi Chapter's service project in December of 2007, Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana requested the chapter's assistance with another project. Vickie Kemp, a supporter of the Fraternity and an active Girl Scout volunteer, presented that request to the Alpha Chi Chapter Alumni Board, and the challenge was accepted.
On April 11, 2009, the undergraduates and some alumni convened at Camp Houchens in Bowling Green, Ky., for a day-long service project. The weather was beautiful, and the music coming from the undergraduate's vehicles made the day seem more like a festival than a day of work.
Under the direction of Jed Johnson, GSOK Facilities Director, and Richard O'Rourke, Houchens Ranger, approximately 20 men assembled and installed a playground slide after preparing the ground and placing pea gravel, trenching the ground and installing French drains at the rear of the lodge. The men also returned the whale view (a teams course component) to its base (flooding in the area had floated it off), and painted a large shelter from top to bottom. The participants were served pizza, sodas and chocolate bunnies for lunch.
A note sent from Jed Johnson of GSOK to the chapter summed up their appreciation with the following. "Thank you for living your motto of Nurture, Grow, Give, Repeat. Your living your motto helps us to complete our mission of inspiring girls to lead lives of courage, confidence, and character."
Delaware Valley Chapter raises funds for two causes
DOYLESTOWN, Pa. -- April 23, 2009 -- Delaware Valley College's Beta Psi Chapter raised more than $6,000 in honor of two causes during its 12th Annual Bachelor Auction and Pig Roast, held on April 4, 2009. Brothers will donate $3,000 of the proceeds to the Chase-ing Victory Campaign in honor of Chase McNelley from the Middle Tennessee State's Beta Theta Chapter, who recently passed away from cancer. They will also donate $1,000 to David Wasser, a local farmer who was tragically injured in a tractor accident.
Each year since becoming a chapter at Delaware Valley College in 2001, the brothers have held an annual Pig Roast and Bachelor Auction, which is the chapter’s largest philanthropic event of the year. More than 200 faculty and staff members, alumni, families of current brothers, other Greek organizations and all Alpha Gamma Rho brothers within a 45-mile radius of the school attended.
During the event, participants were able to enjoy two roasted pigs and barbecue chicken. Several Beta Psi brothers were up for the bachelor auction. Sam Strawser (pictured above) was auctioned for $710 by the women of Sigma Alpha Sorority and was the brother sold for the largest amount.
The Brothers of Beta Psi Chapter started this event many years ago, and each year the undergraduate class keeps the tradition alive. As a brotherhood the chapter is continuously trying to demonstrate its character through actions. In a given semester, the chapter involves itself in several community service projects from splitting fire wood to mulching the flower beds at a local church or to Adopt-A-Highway duties. The annual Bachelor Auction and Pig Roast however, eclipses all other community service or philanthropic projects the chapter undertakes each year, according to VNR Activities Bradley Schwartzmier.
Texas A&M-Commerce alum steps into presidential role
STEPHENVILLE, Texas -- April 21, 2009 -- Texas A&M-Commerce alumnus, Don Cawthon was recently voted as the president of the American Association of State Colleges of Agriculture and Renewable Resources (AASCARR) for the 2008-2009 year at the organization’s annual conference held at Murray State University in Kentucky.
Cawthon is the dean of the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences at Tarleton State University and resident director of The Texas A&M System AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Stephenville.
Cawthon has a bachelor’s in horticulture, master’s in horticultural food science and doctorate in food science. He has received state, regional and national awards for research such as the Krezdorn Award for Excellence in Doctoral Research, the Joseph Harvey Gourley Award for Excellence in Research and the Texas Governor''s Environmental Excellence Award for Agriculture.
Cawthon joined as a member of AASCARR in 1989 and has served on its board of directors for three terms, chaired the membership committee and served on the legislative affairs committee.
As president, Cawthon will supervise meetings and direct matters concerning the association’s business, be responsible for contact with other professional organizations and appoint members to fill vacant offices until the next annual meeting.
AASCARR is composed of almost 50 state colleges and public non-land grant universities. Their goal is to create an organization of publicly supported colleges and universities offering baccalaureate degree programs in agriculture, renewable natural resources and related disciplines.
The organization provides career advising and mentoring as well as extracurricular clubs, activities and intercollegiate teams to help develop professional leadership skills in graduates.
STEPHENVILLE, Texas -- April 21, 2009 -- The NFL has drafted one of Tarleton State University’s finest associate professors in the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences—Dr. Kyle McGregor.
But don’t start looking for the Tarleton State alumnus catching passes in prime time on Sundays. Instead, he will be providing valuable insight and helping make decisions as the newest member on the board of directors for the National Farm Life Insurance Company (NFL).
“We are very selective about how we choose our board of directors,” said Chip Davis, NFL president/CEO as well as a Tarleton graduate. “Dr. McGregor was an easy choice. He’s an up-and-coming, well-known name in agriculture and has a great presence in the agricultural community.”
The NFL is located in Fort Worth, Texas, and was founded in 1946.
“Our founder was an ag teacher in the Texas Panhandle,” Davis said. “The original men on the board were involved in agriculture and we want to keep the company’s foundation in the rural community.”
While the company has agricultural roots, it has expanded its coverage types as well as establishing branches in other states. The company is the largest insurance company with its home office in Texas.
“The NFL is a phenomenal company,” McGregor said. “It is one of a few insurance companies that pays dividends to its members. Even in this economy they are able to do so because of their sound fiscal management.”
As a board member, McGregor will attend yearly meetings, participate in monthly conference calls and offer his expert knowledge to help provide oversight and steer the company in the future.
McGregor was initiated by Beta Sigma Chapter in 1993.
ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- April 21, 2009 -- Osborn & Barr today announced the promotion of Iowa State alumnus Michael Turley to chief executive officer. The announcement represents the agency’s continued commitment to delivering forward-thinking solutions to the agricultural and rural-lifestyle markets by utilizing the knowledge and expertise of its high-caliber employees to provide innovative new strategies. The move enables the agency to continue its consistent growth and stay true to its roots, while pursuing new opportunities.
Turley, who has been with O&B for 17 years, will apply his extensive agricultural and marketing communications background to continue driving the agency’s innovation in the industry. He will lead the agency, providing the strategic vision needed to continue its growth and develop new client offerings.
“This announcement exemplifies what O&B is all about -- hiring great people and letting them do what they do best,” says Steve Barr, founding partner of O&B and Missouri alumnus. “Michael has a passion for what we do and always has been committed to delivering the best quality work for O&B’s clients. That was obvious as he led the agency to a rapidly growing public relations practice and a new digital group. In his new role as CEO, we know he will bring that same enthusiasm to our employees and clients by leading us into a new era of marketing for the agricultural and rural marketing segments.”
As CEO, Turley will chair the agency’s current executive management team, including Rhonda Ries-Aguilar (chief financial officer) and Cheryl Bergeron (chief creative officer). The group will cover day-to-day management of the agency, while ensuring the agency’s vision is realized. Additionally, Turley will work closely with Barr and Joe Osborn, also founding partner of O&B, to develop and guide long-term strategy.
“It’s an exciting time to be in the agricultural and rural marketplaces right now,” says Turley. “There are tremendous opportunities, and I’m looking forward to exploring those as we continue to grow as the advocate for agriculture and rural America.”
Steve Barr, who has held the CEO position since the agency opened its doors 20 years ago, will assume the role of chairman of a new Board of Directors that will be organized and appointed later this year. The company’s move to add a Board of Directors will allow it to tap into external resources to realize continued growth opportunities, while drawing on the expertise of its current management team to ensure it remains true to its roots. Joe Osborn, current president, will change his title to partner. He will continue providing counsel to O&B’s chief creative officer and supporting client service. Both Joe and Steve will remain active in O&B Method, a business unit that focuses on servicing its channel marketing and business-to-business clients who aren’t in the ag or rural markets.
Turley was initiated by Eta Chapter in 1982. Barr was initiated by Theta Chapter in 1969.
AMES, Iowa -- April 17, 2009 -- Iowa State Chapter’s Kyle Peterson was named a recipient of the Wallace E. Barron All-University Senior Award. This award recognizes outstanding seniors who demonstrate high character, outstanding achievement in academics, university/community involvement and a promise for continuing these exemplary qualities as alumni.
Peterson is a member of Eta Chapter, where he has served on the executive team as the VNR of Membership Development. He will graduate with a double major in Journalism and Mass Communication and Marketing. He is a member of the College of Business Honors Program and has a 3.82 GPA.
During the 2008 school year, Peterson served as a co-chairman for VEISHEA, one of the largest student-run university showcases in the country. As a co-chair, Peterson led a 31-person executive board, oversaw the coordination of 150 student volunteers and operated within a $400,000 budget. In 2007, Stars Over VEISHEA, a long standing musical production by students during VEISHEA, was managed by Peterson.
Peterson is a member of the Student Alumni Association, Student Foundation Committee, Cardinal Key Honorary and has served at president of the ISU Freshmen Council and morale captain for ISU Dance Marathon. He was initiated by Eta Chapter in 2005.
Come hear about AGR's current status and future
Grand President Larry Warren will meet for the Washington D.C. Alumni Chapter Luncheon to discuss the Fraternity’s current status and future plans with AGRs. You won’t want to miss this unique opportunity to meet AGR’s new national leader and learn the latest on your Fraternity’s plans and programs. The luncheon will be held April 22, 2009 in the Channel Inn, 650 Water Street, S.W. (D.C. waterfront). There will be free parking for the building.
THOMASVILLE, Ga. -- April 10, 2009 -- Georgia alumnus R.J. Byrne won seven awards at the annual meeting of Georgia Association of County Agricultural Agents. He also won the District Extension Director’s Award in 2008. Byrne is an agriculture agent in Thomas County.
Byrne was awarded third place in the extension education poster category and named state winner. He will represent Georgia at the annual National Association of County Agents in the communications category for direct mail piece and web page. Byrne also won the Georgia Turfgrass Association Education Award, the Metro Atlanta Landscape and Turf Association Education Award, the Excellence in Aquaculture Award and the Southwest District Young Professional Award. He was also the winner of the Innovation Award for Alternative Funds from the Southwest District Director for a Georgia Urban Forestry Grant, totaling just over $16,000.00.
Byrne was able to obtain funding from the Georgia Forestry Commission and local sources to perform a tree mapping in Thomasville, Ga., and educate the residents about urban forestry. He is also a graduate of the Thomasville-Thomas County Chamber of Commerce Leadership class of 2008. He and his wife, Bunny, are living in Thomasville. Bunny is the editor of Thomasville Magazine and is also a photographer.
Byrne was initiated by Alpha Eta in 1998.
Eta Chapter earns fraternal excellence award
AMES, Iowa -- April 9, 2009 -- During Iowa State University’s Greek Week Vesper’s program, the men of Eta Chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho were recognized as a winner of the “2008 President’s Award for Fraternal Excellence.”
All fraternities and sororities on the Iowa State campus are eligible for this recognition. This prestigious award requires chapters to achieve at least 95% proficiency of the specific criteria identified by the University. Alpha Gamma Rho was one of two fraternities and two sororities to be named a recipient for the year 2008.
AGR 1960's Era Purdue Reunion
Reunite with AGRs at the beautiful Abe Martin Lodge located in Brown County State Park near the charming town of Nashville, Ind. Come and spend July 15 -17, 2009.
Wednesday, July 15: Arrival Day
2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Welcome, registration and check-in
5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Pre-dinner social
6:30 p.m. Dinner and entertainment
8:30 p.m. Fun and goodies on the veranda
Thursday, July 16: The Main Event Day in the Allison Peabody Room
7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Breakfast
9:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. AGR Brothers Chapter Activities
Ladies: Off to local activities of shopping, tours, lunch, shopping, etc.
4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Relaxation and time to change western and/or casual wear
5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Pre-Dinner Social
6 p.m. BBQ, Live Auction by John Roth and country entertainment
Friday, July 17: Departure Day or Optional Open Activities Day
8 a.m. Breakfast
Open day for activities including horseback riding, hiking, swimming, shopping, etc.
10 a.m. Golfing at Salt Creek Golf Retreat
7 p.m. Travel to Little Nashville Opry
8 p.m. Opry performance
Saturday, July 18: Optional Departure Day
8 a.m. Breakfast
A block of rooms have been reserved at the Abe Martin Lodge for the nights of July 15-16 with a few additional rooms for July 17. Make your reservation to the Abe Martin Lodge at 877-265-6343. Tell the Lodge you are in the AGR Group: #0715AG. Rooms are $94 per night. The Abe Martin Lodge cancellation policy allows for no fees if cancelled four days in advance of July 15. Please make reservations by April 30.
Costs should be approximately $100 per person. Meals and activities would be picked up as your personal expenses. Please also reply to Tom Sommers when you have finalized your reservations.
Please plan to bring an item for the auction for AGR charitable causes. Make it, buy it, grow it or re-gift it. There are no dollar limits.
Penn State alum honored with engineering executive award
WARRENDALE, Pa. -- April 9, 2009 -- Penn State alumnus Wayne B. Martenas, Project Leader of Tier 4 Global Product Development for Agricultural and Construction Machinery at Case New Holland (CNH) in Burr Ridge, Ill., is the recipient of SAE International's Sid Olsen Engineering Executive of the Year Award.
Martenas was presented the award during the 2008 SAE Commercial Vehicle Engineering Congress & Exhibition Awards Luncheon in Rosemont, Ill.
The award, established in 1995, recognizes an outstanding engineering executive in the off-highway industry. It honors SAE International Fellow Sid Olsen for his management values and contributions to the industry. The award is funded through the SAE Foundation.
As Project Leader of Tier 4 Global Product Development for Agricultural and Construction Machinery, Martenas is responsible for coordinating all Tier 4 activities internal to CNH product development and for interfacing with other CNH functions and other Tier 4 system suppliers.
Previously, Martenas, who has been with CNH for more than 34 years, served as Vice President for System and Component Development through Competence Centers within the Agricultural Product Development team, where his work focused on drivelines, engine installation, cabs and operator platforms, electrical and electronic, hydraulic, design analysis, precision farming/auto guidance and innovation. He also was responsible for product development activities in India, China and Latin America.
In addition to being a member of SAE International, Martenas is a member of the Boy Scouts of America’s Order of the Arrow, ASABE and Alpha Gamma Rho. He also has received 16 U.S. patents and published an SAE technical paper.
Martenas graduated from Penn State University in 1974 with a bachelor's in agricultural engineering. He resides in Naperville, Ill. He was initiated by Gamma Chapter in 1972.
As an initiated member of Alpha Gamma Rho, you appreciate the significance of the name and symbols of Alpha Gamma Rho. To protect the integrity of our name, Alpha Gamma Rho registered our marks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. These marks include the name “Alpha Gamma Rho”, nickname “AGR”, Greek letters of Organization, coat-of-arms, badge and flag, among others specified by Organization from time to time.
Protecting our name is our right and our responsibility. It is a right and responsibility recognized by the courts. In April, 2000 a District Court ruled that fraternities and sororities have the right to enforce and protect their registered marks. For years, companies selling merchandise bearing the logo or symbols of a University, professional sports team or organization had to have permission to use those logos or symbols because they were recognized as the “trigger mechanism for sale of the product.” In the early 1980s, some courts refused to recognize that fraternities and sororities should have the same right to protect their marks.
Alpha Gamma Rho is using the fuel from the court’s decision to join numerous other Greek organizations in trademark protection. We have formed an alliance with Affinity Marketing Consultants, Inc., experts in administering comprehensive licensing programs for Greek organizations. Their goal is to license a variety of companies who provide quality licensed Alpha Gamma Rho products at reasonable prices and with exceptional service. We currently have 104 reputable vendors, offering products and services such as jewelry, apparel and stationery.
Alpha Gamma Rho has introduced a link to www.GreekLicensing.com, where you’ll be able to locate the complete list of our licensed vendors and search for specific products. You’ll be able to browse through those vendors’ online catalogs as well. The site will be updated frequently, as our roster of licensed vendors will continue to grow and the variety of quality products available to you will increase.
You associate great memories with Alpha Gamma Rho and its symbols; your initiation, a retreat, alumni events. To preserve those memories, and stop companies who misuse Alpha Gamma Rho’s symbols for personal profit because they are not familiar with the true meaning of the Alpha Gamma Rho Promise and mission, we must take a stand. By refusing to purchase products that do not carry the Greek Licensed Product seal, we can ensure Alpha Gamma Rho always stands for quality.
If you have questions about licensing, or want more information on how to get your local vendor and campus bookstore licensed, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 607.753.6284.
Purdue undergrad wins student government election
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- April 8, 2009 -- Purdue undergraduate Adam Kline will be the president of Purdue Student Government for the 2009-2010 school year.
Kline won the student body election by more than 300 votes. Immediately after the results were announced, Kline and his running mate, Kristin Shrack gratefully thanked their campaign team. “It felt like 1,000 pounds were lifted off my back,” Kline said. “I’m so happy my team pulled through.”
Ticket No. 3 won’t have much time to celebrate its win, as the team will be working to implement some of their platform issues, Shrack said.
“Our next step is to work on getting information out for Boiler Gold Rush week,” she said. “We want to get the campus night map out by then, so we will be working hard this summer. We want to make sure they have it just like we promised.”
Other issues that will be addressed over the summer are some of Kline and Shrack’s green initiatives. Kline said he thinks smart printing can be implemented by next semester.
“We definitely want to work on the smart printing,” he said. “It’s something we can get done in a short amount of time.”
Concerning other issues on their platform, Kline and Shrack said they will always listen to the students’ voices. “We stand by our slogan,” Shrack said, referring to “Your Voice, Your Vote, Your Purdue.”“We will always hear what the students want.”
Missouri's Theta Chapter awarded by College of Agriculture
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- April 6, 2009 -- On April 3, 2009 The College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources hosted the Celebration of Excellence Banquet, and Mizzou AGR’s took home several awards. The Theta Chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho took home for the second year in a row the prestigious Outstanding CAFNR Organization award, for service and leadership on campus.
Several men of Alpha Gamma Rho were nominated for the Outstanding Student Award, those being Jared Henderson, Brandon Thiel, Michael Manson, Brett Naylor, Kyle Allen and Brant Mettler. Brandon Thiel of Marshall, Mo., was named Outstanding CAFNR Freshman. His major is plant science with a biotechnology emphasis, and he has recently secured a summer internship with Monsanto in technology development. He was awarded Theta’s Outstanding New Member and was half of the Big Brother/Little Brother Scholarship team at Theta’s recent Founders Day.
To round off the night Brother Steve Barr was named the CAFNR Alumnus of the Year. Barr was born and raised in Saline County near Slater, Mo. After being initiated into Alpha Gamma Rho in 1969 and graduating from Mizzou in 1972 with an agricultural journalism degree, he began his career at Deere and Company and later with Monsanto. Barr co-founded Osborn & Barr Communications in 1988.
information courtesy of Jared Henderson
Farmers' incomes dry up as milk prices plunge
WEST GROVE, Pa. -- April 6, 2009 -- Milk prices have plunged by about 50 percent from the historic highs of last summer, pummeling producers such as Penn State alumnus Walt Moore, a fourth-generation farmer whose family has worked the rolling fields of southeastern Pennsylvania for nearly a century.
"If these prices stay low through 2009, there's going to be a lot of producers that don't make it," Moore says, noting that several nearby dairy operators have already decided to sell their herds and get out of the business. Moore was initiated by Gamma Chapter in 1986.
While many producers managed to sock away profits early last year, they still might not be able to survive. "This time, the rainy day will last a lot longer than one day," Moore says.
Dairy operations across the country are taking an enormous hit as prices plummet. The number of dairy cows being sent to slaughter has risen by about 20% from last year, as desperate farmers cull their herds and sell at fire-sale prices. Adding to the problem, banks are less willing or able to extend farmers' loan payments amid the financial turmoil.
The U.S. Agriculture Department has begun providing emergency aid, though the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) in a recent letter to President Obama warned that thousands of farms and tens of thousands of jobs could be lost this year without more aggressive federal efforts.
Demand really dropped off the cliff in the last quarter of last year, and things aren't looking much better this year," says Chris Galen, NMPF spokesman. "It's one more indication of how much the global economy has slowed."
Pennsylvania producers received about $11.50 per hundred pounds of milk in February, while production costs ranged from $15.50 to $18.50, says the state's Center for Dairy Excellence. The USDA is providing special payments to dairy farmers, but the program fills only a part of the gap. Payments are capped, making them of less benefit to larger farms.
Producers are reeling because of not just the size of the decline, but the speed. Futures contracts for Class III milk, a measure of wholesale prices, reached a high of $20 per hundred pounds in June on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. By January, the price was below $10, though it has since ticked up to about $10.50.
"This is an unprecedented time," Moore says. "In the 20 years I've been in this full time, I've never seen anything like it."
AGR brothers develop farm into championship golf course
From left: John & Jeff Blaska
COTTAGE GROVE, Wis. -- April 6, 2009 -- John and Jeff Blaska are both charter members of the Beta Gamma Chapter at Wisconsin-Platteville. John was initiated in 1969 and graduated in 1972, while Jeff was initiated in 1972 and graduated in 1975.
The Blaska family recognized years ago that a portion of their family’s farm near Cottage Grove, Wis., (just east of Madison) was possibly a good site for a golf course. "It has decent topography and good access to Interstate 94, which runs along the south side of the course," Jeff says. "We thought these features would make it a good championship course for public play.
After a few years of talking about it, an LLC was formed in July of 2000. About one and one-half years of planning and approval processes later, (cousins Mike, also a Beta Gamma charter member, and David were on the Dane County Board at this time) architectural plans were drawn up and by late fall 2001, some earth moving began. Most of the course construction was done in 2002 and The Oaks Golf Course opened for business on June 30, 2003.
Jeff and John’s father Gregory attended Farm and Industry Short Course at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Greg was chairman of the World Dairy Expo for 31 years. He was involved with local, regional and national dairy cooperatives, and it was not unusual to see politicians on their farm when John and Jeff were growing up.
The site for The Oaks originally had 192 acres, of which 130 were tillable. About 14 acres were set aside for a 14-lot housing development and 11 acres were dedicated for conservation uses. The remaining acreage formed the actual golf course.
In 2004, in it's "America's Best New Courses Awards" Golf Digest ranked The Oaks the No. 5 Best New Public Course. Golf Digest has also rated the course a 4 1/2 on a 5-star rating scale. The Wisconsin State Journal has awarded the course with a Best Layout & Design designation, as well as Best Hole to The Oaks 18th Hole, which doglegs left down a hill and crosses the Koshkonong Creek on the way to the green just behind the clubhouse.
The Oaks was nominated for Top 50 Courses in America for Women in 2007 by Golf for Women Magazine. Hole No. 14 was named to Madison Magazine's Dane County's Dream 18 in May 2007. The Oaks has hosted numerous state, high school and collegiate tournaments and championship events, of which the annual Beta Gamma outing is included. It will be held this year on Saturday June 20.
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- April 3, 2009 -- Wisconsin River Falls alumnus Matt Fanta was named a 40 Under Forty winner by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.
Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal awards the designation annually to 40 Twin Cities professionals who are under 40 years of age, have achieved impressive business accomplishments and made significant community contributions.
Winners are currently featured in Business Journal’s annual “40 Under Forty” online feature, which went live today. Read Fanta’s profile here.
Since graduating from college, Fanta has been actively involved in a variety of philanthropic activities ranging from Alpha Gamma Rho to the United Way to the MS Walk. An Alpha Psi Chapter alumnus, Fanta has been active with the Fraternity’s alumni association at the University of Wisconsin and nationwide for the past 10 years, including several years as Alpha Psi Alumni Board President. He continues to works as the financial adviser with the Alpha Psi chapter.
This past year, Fanta served as Buzz Committee co-chair for Land O’Lakes Twin Cities United Way campaign. The Buzz Committee is responsible for the marketing and promotion of the campaign among employees. The 2008 Buzz Committee’s efforts helped contribute to the company’s most successful United Way campaign ever—generating more the $500,000 for the charity. Fanta also has served as an MS Walk Volunteer in past years.
Fanta, 33, has been with Land O’Lakes for 12 years, working within three of the company’s core businesses and taking on increasing responsibilities within the organization. He joined the company’s animal feed business as a marketing specialist in 1997. A year later, he took a data/information specialist position within Land O’Lakes Dairy Foods. In 1999, he took on a marketing manager role within CROPLAN GENETICS/Land O’Lakes Seed. In addition, in 2005 he took on the role of trait business manager for Forage Genetics.
UW-Madison alumnus to lead educational initiatives
MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- March 26, 2009 -- Wisconsin-Madison alumnus Richard Ammon was named the Associate Dean for Business and Health Programs at Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) in Milwaukee, Wis.
Ammon will lead educational initiatives across the MATC district in information technology, supervisory management, and landscape horticulture programs and have administrative responsibility for nursing and health occupations at the Mequon campus. He has been in the field of education for 16 years and most recently was Director of Licensure and Certification Programs for Frederick Community College, Frederick, Md.
Ammon was initiated by Iota Chapter in 1986.
Memphis Conference leader honored by Tennessee Conference
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- March 26, 2009 -- Tennessee Martin alumnus David Reed has held nearly every office in the Martin (Tenn.) UMC, and he is a certified lay speaker. He has chaired the Communications Committee of the Memphis Annual Conference and served on their Advisory Task Force for the Office of Congregation Development and Transportation. He helped to develop a new ecumenical Christian ministry called Godstory and Flight Quest men’s retreats which the General Board of Discipleship is working to adopt. David is also on the Board of Trustees for Lakeshore United Methodist Assembly of the Memphis Conference.
On the national level, Reed serves on the board of directors of the United Methodist Men Foundation and the board of directors of the Society of St. Andrew based in Big Island, Va. He is one of four members serving on the independent Evaluation and Review Team with the responsibility of evaluating the United Methodist Commission on Communications for General Conference.
However, it was his leadership and sponsorship of men’s ministry programs within the UM Men organization that led to his induction into the John Wesley Society during a March 5-8 meeting of the National Association of Conference Presidents of United Methodist Men.
Ingram Howard, president of Tennessee Conference UMM and former college roommate and fraternity brother of Reed, led a fund raising effort and inducted him into the society. Reed is a graduate of the University of Tennessee (Martin) and was an active member of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity while in college.
The John Wesley Society was formed in 1982 by the United Methodist Men Foundation (UMMF) to recognize people who exemplify the characteristics of the founder of Methodism. The Tennessee Conference of UMM is pleased to make a $1,000 donation to the UMMF in David’s honor. Money raised for this special recognition helps fund scouting ministries, the Upper Room Prayer Line, and ministries with United Methodist Men.
Reed was initiated by Alpha Upsilon in 1966.
UC Davis undergrad wins inaugural collegiate fishing tournament
UC Davis undergrad Ken Gunderson (right)
KELSEYVILLE, Calif. -- March 11, 2009 -- UC Davis undergraduate Ken Gunderson and his teammate Steve Reed won the first National Guard FLW College Fishing Western Division tournament on Clear Lake with six bass weighing 23 pounds, 9 ounces. The victory earned the team $10,000.
“This is a dream come true,” Reed said. “FLW has given college students a chance to compete in tournaments and help with the expenses so that we can do what we love. There isn’t another circuit out there like this.”
The team targeted an area on Clear Lake called Redbud that is south of the Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa. They caught their quality bass using a drop-shot. The team plans to fish the full Western Division schedule and is looking forward to making it to the National Guard National Championship.
Full time students enrolled in four year colleges or universities are eligible to participate in the events. Schools in each division can send two-person teams to each of the four qualifying events in their division, with each event limited to a maximum of 40 teams. Each team will have an opportunity to win $10,000 for first and $2,000 through fifth place. The prize money will be split evenly between the winning team’s club and the school they represent. The tournaments are free to enter, boats and drivers will be provided and all collegiate teams will receive a travel allowance. The top five teams in each of the qualifying events will advance to one of five televised three-day FLW National Guard Regional Championships.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- March 9, 2009 -- Alpha Gamma Rho has teamed up with Aria to begin an annual telethon fundraiser. If you or your parents receive a phone call from Aria, the Fraternity encourages your involvement in participating. The proceeds will benefit the AGR Educational Foundation for scholarships and additional educational opportunities for all members.
AGR undergrad wins student body presidential election
MANHATTAN, Kan. -- March 9, 2009 -- The tension at the Last Chance Next Door bar mounted with every delay of the announcement of the winner of the K-State student body presidential general election.
At about 6:30 p.m., 30 minutes after the polls closed, that tension turned to exuberance as 91.9 KSDB radio announced AGR undergraduate Dalton Henry and Wayne Stoskopf as the winners of election.
The pair came in second in the primary election to Andrew Huschka and Laura Rachelle White. However, behind the support of the third place finishers in the primary, Robert Swift and Amy Schultz, and most of their supporters, Henry and Stoskopf were able to pull out the victory. The pair ended up winning by more than 400 votes after losing to Huschka and White by 322 votes in the Feb. 25 primary.
"A lot of those [supporters] were people that we've worked with in student government and are our friends," said Stoskopf, junior in agribusiness. "So they naturally had a tough decision between us and Swift and Schultz, and now we are the one's left, so they are full on supporting us."
"It was first of all a fun experience," said Henry, senior in agricultural economics. "I think we both enjoyed being out their talking with groups and meeting new people. It was great to see all the supporters come out and all the people we work with on a day-to-day basis," said Henry, senior in agricultural economics.
Henry said the pair and its supporters campaigned more aggressively during the week leading up to the general election to make sure enough students voted in the election.
Even before the results were announced supporters at the bar started chants of Henry/Stoskopf. The pair said they expected one of the largest voter turnouts in recent memory but they also said they received more support after the primary election and expected a victory.
Henry and Stoskopf said they are ready for a break from the aggressive campaign, but they are also ready to take office in a few weeks and get to work, which includes naming cabinet members and making sure Student Senate committee's are in order.
"We've had several months of planning and talking about our platforms, working with our supporters, working with the folks at the university and the folks at the city," Henry said. "I'm really looking forward to putting those plans in place - to get the ball rolling."
Henry was intitiated by Alpha Zeta Chapter in 2007.
Washington State alumnus takes charge as new ag director
OLYMPIA, Wash. -- March 9, 2009 -- Washington State alumnus Dan Newhouse became Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire's first Republican cabinet member as he took the oath of office to become the new director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture.
The ceremony took place in the rotunda of the Natural Resources Building in Olympia and was attended by state officials, staff members and friends.
Newhouse, a former 15th District legislator from Sunnyside, Wash., left his seat in the state House of Representatives last month to replace Valoria Loveland as the top agricultural official in the state. He is the first Republican that Gregoire, a Democrat, has appointed to a cabinet-level position.
"Dan is a wonderful choice to oversee Washington's incredibly important agricultural sector on behalf of the people of our state. As a farmer himself, he brings unique insight and knowledge of markets for Washington agricultural products," Gregoire said. "This practical, hands-on knowledge will help our economy as Dan works to open more markets for Washington products - some of the highest-quality, most-respected products in the world."
Newhouse said he looks forward to the challenges and believes the state Agriculture Department is up to them.
"Over the last several weeks, I have had a chance to meet the staff and believe that the department is in good hands," he said. "I am encouraged by the level of professionalism here and glad I took the job as secretary."
Newhouse also said he looks forward to a bipartisan approach to legislation and policy-making.
"No party has a monopoly on helping agriculture," he said. "Our industry faces a number of challenges - the economy, international trade, water, labor, food safety and government regulations, to name a few - but we all share the common goal of making agriculture successful in Washington state."
Newhouse is a graduate of Washington State University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture and economics and completed a program in agriculture and forestry leadership. He was in his fourth term as a state representative and operating his 600-acre farm near Sunnyside when Gregoire approached him about taking the reins of the department.
Newhouse is a past county president of the Washington state Farm Bureau and past president of the Hop Growers of Washington and the Hop Growers of America.
He and his wife Carol live with their two children on their farm in Sunnyside. Newhouse was initiated by Sigma Chapter in 1974. He also served on the Home Office staff as Director of Chapter Services in the 70s.
Wisconsin-Madison alum named NAMA's Marketer of the Year
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- March 4, 2009 -- The National Agri-Marketing Association has honored Wisconsin-Madison alumnus Jon Anderson, President of OPEN ROADS, with the NAMA Marketer of the Year award. The award will be presented during the Second General Session of the 2009 Agri-Marketing Conference April 16 at 11 a.m. in Atlanta.
NAMA recognizes its active members with senior management of marketing and/or sales responsibilities with the NAMA Marketer of the Year award. This award is NAMA's most prestigious honor awarded to active members of the association and honors outstanding accomplishments in the field of agri-marketing.
Anderson, along with two of his colleagues, created OPEN ROADS, a Milwaukee, Wis., business growth and development services firm, in 2002. Last year, Anderson and his team at OPEN ROADS celebrated their six-year anniversary of the firm. Starting their business with no clients and no business, Anderson has helped grow OPEN ROADS into a highly successful business growth and development firm. Their business now includes 12 clients and a half dozen consulting associates. Capitalizing on his skill and vision, the company's innovative business structure and outside the box service offerings make OPEN ROADS somewhat unique in agriculture.
Anderson, 40, was a leader in the launch of Syngenta's Callisto herbicide, which deservedly won Best of Show at the NAMA national awards competition in advertising, for its innovative positioning as a weed control agent derived from natural origins. The active ingredient in Callisto is now the number one selective herbicide active ingredient in the world.
Since 2005, Anderson, the OPEN ROADS leader on this account, has successfully repositioned the iconic Harvestore brand. The firm attributes their achievement to a communications strategy that was highly public relations-oriented versus mass media, focus groups conducted, in-depth dealer "heart-to-heart" market research, new Web sites and electronic communications, and the results from consulting with the company for new programs to improve parts, service and financing. All this was achieved with a limited budget, but led by Anderson's rich leadership. (Not only did Anderson's work with the Harvestore brand result in successful business placement, it also placed the story on the cover of AgriMarketing in October, 2006.)
His leadership style shines through as he is extremely strong at developing the core strategy and key messages behind a product's sales success. To complement this development, Anderson demonstrates his ability to implement sound, disciplined programs that highlight solid company strategies and communicate messages clearly and efficiently.
Anderson is a 1992 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BS in Agriculture Economics, and attained an MS in Mass Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2003. He resides in Pewaukee, Wis., with his wife, Rachel and daughter, Nicole. He was initiated by Iota Chapter in 1988.
Beta Theta loses brother after battle with cancer
The following is a message written by Brad Hutston, former Noble Ruler at Beta Theta Chapter, about the recent loss of Chase McNelley.
Alpha Gamma Rho lost a young man on Saturday Feb. 21, 2009, that exemplified to every degree what our organization is founded upon since day one. Brother Chase McNelley of the Beta Theta Chapter at Middle Tennessee State left this world peacefully to spend a wonderful eternity with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ after a long hard battle with cancer.
Brother McNelley had a very close relationship with the Lord and told everyone that he was ready for the fight. He claims that the best part of his life was his time in the Fraternity. Chase made every brother smile and made all of us better men. He was exemplary in the classroom and loved the world of agriculture.
Please take a moment to keep Chase’s family in your thoughts and prayers. Through all of this, they have shown unbelievable strength and faith in their Lord and Savior. Though we lost a brother here on earth, we now have a brother who is living pain-free in heaven watching over his brothers across the country and ensuring that they too make themselves better men.
The Beta Theta Chapter is still continuing our Chase-ing Victory Campaign in honor of Chase because we believe that Chase was victorious. Thank you to all of those who have donated generous items to the cause. He is in a much better place, free of pain, watching over every brother. It is a short time of sorrow as we mourn, but it is an eternity of happiness knowing that Chase is so much better off and knowing that all of us were so deeply touched by him.
To help support McNelley please contact Beta Theta Noble Ruler, Paul Fendley.
Florida alumnus recognized for long-term commitment to society
DENVER, Colo. -- Feb. 25, 2009 -- Florida alumnus Robert M. (Myke) Morris, ARA was recently recognized by the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers for 30 years of Membership within the Organization. Morris is an agricultural professional who provides services for clients which may include farm and ranch management, rural appraisal, and/or agricultural consulting.
Morris is a native of Hillsborough County, Fla., and has lived in eastern Hillsborough for more 25 years. He is a 1975 graduate of the University of Florida, where he was initiated by Alpha Gamma Chapter in 1974. In addition to serving as President of the Florida Chapter ASFMRA, he is a Charter Board Member of the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame Foundation and is currently its Secretary. He is also President of the Greater Hillsborough County Fair. He is a past President of the Florida 4-H Foundation.
Morris has been affiliated with ASFMRA, the largest and oldest professional association that provides opportunities for development through the highest quality educational and meeting offerings, and a strict standard of code of conduct and ethics to its members, for 30 years.
The ASFMRA represents nearly 2,500 agribusiness professionals across the U.S. and Canada, who provide farm or ranch management, rural appraisal and appraisal review or agricultural consulting services. Professional managers represent owners of over 25 million acres of U.S. farmland and provide the direct management of these operations. Professional rural appraisers provide valuation estimates on over 50 million acres of farm, ranch, and natural resource lands each year.
Montana State alumnus elected to State Senate
HUNTLEY, Mont. -- Feb. 23, 2009 -- In November 2008, Montana State alumnus Taylor Brown was elected as Montana State Senator. He represents Senate District 22 which stretches from Briarwood and Lockwood on the south side of Billings, all the way down the Yellowstone River to the edge of Miles City.
Since 1985, Brown and his wife, Shannon, have owned the Northern Broadcasting System, a regional radio and television network based in Billings, Mont. They have lived in this District since they bought their first home in Lockwood in 1985, later moving to the Huntley Project, where they have raised their three children.
During his term, Brown plans to push for environmentally responsible development of natural resources to grow energy and jobs as well as advocate for limited government and strong individual and Private Property rights among other issues.
Brown currently serves on the Senate’s Taxation, Education, and Agriculture committees. He was initiated by Alpha Delta in 1975.
Western Illinois alum takes top honor at National Corn Yield Contest
MACOMB, Ill. -- Feb. 23, 2009 -- Western Illinois alumnus Mark Dempsey acknowledges his lifetime work in agriculture has not always been easy. But taking the top honor in the 2008 National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) corn yield contest is one way he is reaping the reward for his years of effort.
Dempsey, who earned his bachelor's degree in agriculture science from Western Illinois University in 1987, grew up farming near Fowler, a small town close to Quincy in west central Illinois. "I came straight back to the family farm upon graduating," Dempsey said. "It can be a difficult way to earn a living, but it is a choice I don't regret. It's a great way to raise a family."
While attending Western in the late 1980s, Dempsey was intiated into Alpha Tau Chapter. He currently serves as the AGR Alumni Board President. As a student, he was also active in agriculture department activities and clubs, such as the livestock judging team and the Horn and Hoof club -- both of which still exist today at Western.
Dempsey credits WIU's ag department for providing him with meaningful ag-related experiences and an array of skills that helped him build a solid foundation for his successful career in today's competitive and evolving agriculture industry. "There is no doubt in my mind that my education at WIU was a great benefit to my farming career," Dempsey noted. "The marketing classes were some of the most interesting and most helpful."
Yielding a Winner
In addition to winning the NCGA corn yield contest (with his 348 bushels per acre) in the AA, non-irrigated category, Dempsey also won first place in the Illinois Corn Growers Association competition. Dempsey's 2008 honors are the culmination of years of work to develop his crop.
In an article about his yield in "Corn E-Digest," an electronic newsletter distributed by "Corn & Soybean Digest," Dempsey noted that he has been entering the NCGA contest for years. "The key to [the 2008] win was plentiful rainfall," Dempsey told "Corn E-Digest." "I placed second nationally in 2004 with a 320 bushel [per acre] yield. Then in 2005, 2006 and 2007, we had three drought years in a row. Basically, last year I had double the rainfall I'd had in 2005, 2006 and 2007, combined."
Though in the "Corn E-Digest" article Dempsey attributed rain as key to his 2008 success, he noted that individual innovation has been an important part of his production process as well. "The challenge of trying to produce a winning corn yield has helped me examine different ways corn can be grown. It's forced me to look at ideas that many farmers don't want to try. Some things work, some things don't. Nevertheless, to me, it's worth trying something new or different to see how it works. Ultimately, more bushels per acre add to my bottom line."
Information courtesy of Western Illinois University Relations.
Texas A&M undergrad wins academic quiz bowl
ATLANTA – Feb. 17 2009 – The Southern Agricultural Economics Association, a division of the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists, held its annual convention where a Texas A&M AGR won the academic quiz bowl contest.
After competing six rounds, Matt Okeson and his teammates were declared the undefeated champions of the contest. The academic quiz bowl is a Jeopardy-style double elimination tournament where teams of three undergraduates compete against each other answering questions in areas such as Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Agribusiness and Finance, Management, Marketing, Quantitative Analysis and Resource Policy.
This year’s contest involved more 70 students from 10 universities spanning the southern region of the United States.
Okeson, a sophomore Agribusiness major at Texas A&M, was initiated in the fall of 2007 and is currently serving as Noble Ruler of the Beta Nu Chapter. He also serves as president of the TAMU Agricultural Economics Society and as Southern Region Vice President for the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association – Student Section.
AGR Ag teacher earns national education award
FULTON COUNTY, Ky. -- Feb. 17, 2009 -- When Fulton County High School teacher David Black was planning his landscaping business while a student at Murray State some 28 years ago, the furthest thing from his mind was being a teacher.
With the country in the midst of a recession, one of his professors smartly reminded him that it may not be the best time to start up such an endeavor and suggested he consider becoming a teacher — specifically, an “ag” teacher. The rest is history.
Long recognized for his passion for teaching, his students and his community, AGR alumnus Black was recently selected by the National Association of Agricultural Educators to receive the 2008 Outstanding Teacher Award in his region.
In recognition of his hard work and dedication to agricultural education, he was rewarded with a new 2008 Toyota Tundra pickup truck.
“David Black exemplifies the same strong, committed core values of hard work that define the Toyota Tundra,” said Keith Dahl, national manager of Engagement Marketing, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. “We are proud to know that the Tundra will play a part in helping David move forward in his quest to promote the future of the agriculture business to his students and throughout the community.”
The NAAE selected one agriculture teacher from each of its six regions across the U.S. to be named the area’s top educator. Each of the six educators received a new Toyota Tundra Double Cab 4x4 pickup truck, equipped with Toyota’s 5.7L V8 engine. Six post-secondary educators selected by NAAE as the country’s top teachers in the collegiate ranks also received similarly equipped Tundra pickups. Toyota committed 12 trucks for the 2007 winners and another 12 for the 2008 winners. All will be given on a two-year lease.
“This honor is a big boost for our community,” Black said. “It isn’t just me that has earned this award and this accomplishment, but it is all the students I have taught over the last 27 years and their families.”
Since he began teaching at Fulton County High School in 1982, Black has stood by the philosophy that all students can learn and be successful. He encouraged them to set and reach their goals at their own level, both in and outside of the classroom. As part of his curriculum, he has developed and supervised an agricultural experience program that fit their interests while encouraging them to raise livestock, grow crops and work in local shops associated with agriculture.
“Some students have never thought of attending college and through some of these programs, realize that college may indeed be an option,” Black said. “I still love to see my students come in my class and have the light bulb go off when they realize that they could go on to bigger and better things. This award proves to the kids that an individual from a small, rural community can compete with anyone on a national level. After receiving the award and the truck, the kids now see firsthand that dreams are possible and they do come true.”
The Tundra truck giveaway is part of Toyota’s long-standing commitment to agricultural education in the U.S. The relationship with NAAE is part of a $1.4 million two-year commitment from the automotive manufacturer to the FFA Foundation. The sponsorship from Toyota, in its 30-year relationship with FFA, supports a broad spectrum of programs, including Can Hunger, a nationwide canned food drive challenge; Red, White and Forever Blue College Tour, a collegiate football tailgate road tour; the NAAE Tundra giveaway; and national chapter awards, National Day of Service, Million Hour Challenge and many FFA alumni outreach efforts.
Black plans on using the Tundra to continue to promote agricultural education throughout the community, region and state as well as at events on behalf of the NAAE and the national FFA.
Livestock Marketeers add two AGRs to its Hall of Fame
DENVER -- Feb. 3, 2009 -- The Livestock Marketeers, an informal fraternity of livestock fieldmen, auctioneers, sale managers and related livestock business leaders, inducted two AGRs into it's Hall of Fame.
Auctioneer C.K. “Sonny” Booth of Miami, Okla., and American Angus Association regional manager Chuck Grove of Forest, Va., were roasted by their friends and colleagues at the 44th Annual Banquet.
Booth attended Oklahoma State, where he was initiated by Pi Chapter. He was also a member of the livestock judging team and the Block and Bridle club. The OSU team won the National Western Stock Show competition in 1963 with Booth claiming high individual honors.
Booth's been an auctioneer for nearly 40 years, working with all breeds of cattle and horses. He has served as auctioneer for more than 4,000 livestock sales and travels 200 days a year selling purebred livestock. For the past several years, he’s also been affiliated with Williams & Williams Auction Co., Tulsa, Okla., specializing in premier farm and ranch properties.
He is a member of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, the National Auctioneers Association and the North American Limousin Foundation. He is a past president of NALF and was honored in 1997 by the Oklahoma Limousin Breeders Association with its Lifetime Achievement Award.
Grove, a Virginia Tech alumnus, has served the American Angus Association as a regional manager, representing the Angus breed in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee and previously Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.
Grove works closely with the Association and Angus Publications, Inc., publisher of the Angus Journal and Angus Beef Bulletin, to assist purebred and commercial breeders in selling and obtaining quality seedstock, advertising and promoting their programs. He also works as a liason promoting programs and services provided by the Association and its entities. Grove managed the National Western Angus Bull Sale, the only Association-sponsored sale, for 23 years.
His involvement in the Angus business goes back to his youth, as he was raised on his family’s registered Angus farm. As an active 4-H and FFA member, Grove represented Virginia on the 4-H livestock judging team and at the National 4-H Club Congress in Chicago. He also served as a director of the Virginia Junior Angus Association. At Virginia Tech, he was an active member of the Beta Eta AGR Chapter and Block & Bridle club. He was employed as a student beef cattle herdsman for Virginia Tech’s beef farm and fit numerous champions for the University.
Two AGRs win top awards at American Farm Bureau Convention
SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Feb. 2, 2009 -- Tennessee young farmers and ranchers received top honors at the 90th American Farm Bureau Convention held in San Antonio, Texas. These young leaders competed against all 50 other states to be announced as the national winners in their respective competitions.
Maryland alumnus Donald Blankenship of Murfreesboro, Tenn., won the Achievement Award. He won a 2009 Dodge Ram 3500 pickup truck, courtesy of Dodge and a $1,000 product voucher from Valvoline. He also received free registration to the 2009 American Farm Bureau Leadership Conference, Feb. 7-9 in Sacramento, Calif.
The Blankenships operate 1500 acres of row crops and manage a 190 head Angus beef cow herd and 18 acres of specialty crops and a large hay operation. Blankenship was initiated by Beta Theta in 1994.
Tennessee-Martin alumnus Dan Strasser of Chapel Hill, Tenn., won the Excellence in Agriculture Award. He also received a 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck and free registration to the YF&R Leadership Conference.
The Strassers and their family own of a 400-acre dairy farm and have recently started an agritourism operation, Memory Lane Farms. Strasser is employed full-time by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture as director of Market Development. He was initiated by Alpha Upsilon in 1993.
Past Alpha Gamma Rho RVP dies after battle with cancer.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Jan. 25, 2009 – Former Alpha Gamma Rho Regional Vice President and Florida alumnus, Richard F. Kelly, died Jan. 24, 2009. He was 71 years old.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. EST, Jan. 31, at Saint Paul’s United Methodist Church in Tallahassee. A reception will follow at the church. Visitation will be from 6 - 8 p.m., Jan. 30, at the family’s home, 4449 Maylor Road, Tallahassee.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Alpha Gamma Rho Education Foundation, Richard “Coach” Kelly Scholarship Fund at 925 West Washington St., Monticello, FL 32344, or Haven Hospice, E.T. York Center, Gainesville, FL.
Kelly is survived by a large family including his wife, Nell; children, Lizette Kelly (Lance Peterson), Richard “Rick” Kelly, Jr. (Renee) and Bryce Kelly (Stacey); grandchildren, Leah Kelly, Bryce Kelly Jr. and Sarah Purcell (Michael); and great-granddaughter, Samantha Purcell. Survivors also include his father, Julian Kelly; and siblings, Pete Kelly (Delores), Don Kelly (Cheryl), Milton Kelly (Sara), Patricia Archer (Earl), Sylvia Thomas, Nancy Houle (John) and their families.
Born in Ocala, Fla., in 1937, Kelly earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Florida, where he was initiated by Alpha Gamma in 1958. He received a master’s degree in education in 1963.
Kelly made it his lifelong mission to honor the agricultural wisdom of the past while training the industry’s future leaders. He began his career as a high school agriculture teacher, went on to head the state FFA program and then served on the executive staff of the Florida Department of Agriculture. For almost 50 years, Kelly poured his free time and his own money into improving agriculture education and preserving Florida’s unique agricultural history.
He has been involved with Alpha Gamma Rho by directing the work of the Alumni Association and Educational Foundation at the Alpha Gamma Chapter. He spent 12 years as Regional Vice President of the Southeast Region, visiting chapters in eight states and making sure high academic standards were being met. He offered career counseling to Fraternity members and assisted in helping them find internships and summer employment. With every placement, he showed the satisfaction of a proud parent.
Kelly played a key role in establishing the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame. For 20 years, he served as the Hall of Fame’s historian as well as the organizer of its annual banquet. On Feb. 10, Kelly will be inducted into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame.
information courtesy of Tallahassee Democrat and Florida Department of Agriculture.
Organizers say The Villages were ideal for Winter Weekend Getaway
THE VILLAGES, Fla. -- Jan. 25, 2009 -- From professional conferences to high school throwbacks and military reconnections, The Villages has become a hot spot for hosting large events.
Ice-filled cocktails clinked and laughter echoed inside The Waterfront Inn’s Mangrove Room on Friday night. Near the doorway, Villager Zane Akins smiled as he welcomed 55 Alpha Gamma Rho members from across the country to a meet-and-greet.
The event was the first of several as part of the fraternity’s first “Winter Weekend Getaway”.
As a member of the organizing committee, Akins suggested The Villages as the site for the social conference. Co-committee member Doyle Jacklin said Akins didn’t have to do much convincing.
“I’m from Idaho, where it’s cold and there’s a wide range of facilities here,” Jacklin said.
Akins said most Alpha Gamma Rho visitors were “overwhelmed” by The Villages and all the community has to offer. “They just can’t believe there’s all this here.”
Convenience is another reason that organizers choose to host their large gatherings in The Villages. Villages organizers say the community’s visitor accessibility is another large-event plus.
Beta Theta to raise funds for critically ill undergrad
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Jan. 23, 2009 -- Middle Tennessee undergraduate Chase McNelley is currently battling cancer after a recent relapse in May 2008. In honor of McNelley, Beta Theta Chapter has developed a fundraiser to assist the McNelley family with medical expenses.
McNelley was diagnosed with Non-Hodkins Lymphoma in June 2005. He then went through one year of intensive chemo and then one year of maintenance chemo. He was considered in remission in January 2006.
In May 2008, McNelley relapsed and his cancer returned. He was admitted to Vanderbilt hospital Sept. 26, where he is currently undergoing a stem cell transplant.
To help support McNelley please contact Beta Theta Noble Ruler, Paul Fendley. Click here to read his story.
"This is what fraternity is all about. We help our brothers as best we can in time of need. I encourage all AGRs to offer their prayers, send cards of support and send whatever financial contribution they feel appropriate, " Grand President Larry Warren said. "The National Board of Directors join Beta Theta Chapter in wishing Chase a complete and speedy recovery.
McNelley was initiated by Beta Theta in 2007.
Greeks nationwide need your help
We are seeking your help with a Greek world effort to attach the Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure Act (CHIA) to the economic stimulus package that the Congress will consider when it returns for a lame duck session later in November.
As you will recall, CHIA is a bill that would allow fraternities/sororities and other not-for-profit student housing entities to use tax-deductible charitable contributions to our affiliated educational foundations to make grants to house corporations that can be used to construct, modify, or otherwise improve the housing we own and operate nationwide. Current tax law prevents us from using funds in this way and that's a key reason our chapters often cannot raise the money needed to maintain and improve our housing.
Passing CHIA would allow the Greek world to significantly upgrade its housing in the future, improve the safety of that housing, and remain competitive in recruiting and retaining the best students on campus to join our organization.
We want you to make a phone call to one or two elected officials in your state, encouraging them to push for CHIA to be added to the pending economic stimulus bill.
Why It Matters Now
In September, we made significant progress in passing CHIA even though we ultimately fell short of getting it attached to the package of tax provisions that became law that month. Our progress in September included direct discussions about our bill and its merits with the top leadership in the House of Representatives and its Ways and Means Committee. Many of our biggest supporters in Congress made a special effort to push for our passage and they believe we have made real progress.
One of the things we could not do in September is explain the economic impact of passing CHIA. We have now collected data from most fraternities and sororities that addresses those questions and that material is now included in the talking points for the phone call campaign.
It is difficult to get attached to a major piece of legislation like the stimulus package that is moving quickly through Congress. One of the best ways to improve our chances of inclusion is to make sure that lawmakers hear about the importance of adding CHIA from as many constituents and friends as possible.
Please help us make our best effort in this short period of time to get CHIA considered for inclusion in the stimulus package.
About the Stimulus
We expect the stimulus bill to have a significant component of tax cuts aimed at spurring job creation and economic activity in both the short-term and long-term. Congressional discussions about what to include in the package are ongoing so the sooner we make significant contacts the better our chances of Representatives and Senators taking action to help us. Many of our talking points have an economic basis and it is important you hit these points in your conversations.
The economic stimulus bill is being drawn up in several Committees, including the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, the House Appropriations Committee, and the Senate Appropriations Committee. In addition, top Congressional leaders are expected to be intimately involved in creating the final package. As a result, it is important that you ask the people you contact in Congress to be in touch with both top leadership in their respective chamber and with Committee leaders.
It is possible that Congress will work on a stimulus bill but that it won't become law this year but we want to make sure that we have taken our best shot at getting CHIA added to this bill if it does move through Congress.
Who Should You Speak With When You Call?
In cases where you have a personal relationship to the elected official, your goal is to reach the elected official directly. If you do not have a preexisting relationship with the elected official, please call his/her office and speak to a relevant staff member. The best staff members to speak with are: (1) the Chief of Staff; (2) the Legislative Director; or (3) the staff member who handles tax issues.