Farmers across Minnesota, including a few locals, were honored at the 92nd annual Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation awards banquet Nov. 19.
Marshall resident Paul Lanoue took first in the Discussion Meet during the Young Farmers and Ranchers competitions held during the event.
During the Discussion Meet, contestants were judged on their knowledge of critical farm issues and their ability to exchange ideas and information in a setting aimed at cooperative problem solving.
"In a discussion meet competitors are given a topic that they discuss it as related to agriculture," Lanoue said. "It's not a debate, but its suppose to simulate something like a board meeting."
Lanoue, an agricultural education teacher and FFA adviser at Marshall Public Schools, took first in the competition. In addition to teaching, Lanoue raises crops and cattle on a family farm.
"One of the things that helped me is that I'm a facilitator," Lanoue said. "As a teacher I facilitate, so that helped me out."
Lanoue will now advance to the national competition with an all-expense trip to the American Farm Bureau Federation meeting in January. In addition, Lanoue received a recognition plaque from MFBF, $500 from Dodge and a trip to the MFBF YF&R Conference to be held January in Duluth.
During the November banquets, Sen. Jim Vickerman of Tracy was recognized with the Distinguished Service to Agriculture award. According to a press release, the award is presented annually to leaders of agriculture in Minnesota and is one of the most prestigious awards given by the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation. Sen. Steve Dille also received the award.
Vickerman chaired the Agricultural and Veterans committee and has been a Minnesota state senator for 24 years. Looking back on his years as a senator Vickerman, said he was most proud of starting legislation that encouraged the use of renewable fuels.
"The thing I was proud of was ethanol and bio-diesel," he said. "I carried the first ethanol bill and it snowballed from there."
This year is Vickerman's final term as senator and he plans to retire in December. Though retirement is just around the corner, Vickerman said he plans on staying active in agriculture.
"For years I've been doing that and I can't just cut it out of my life," Vickerman said. "I've enjoyed it, but its time to move on."
Minnesota Farm Bureau handed out several awards during the event:
The most prestigious of the Farm Bureau awards, the Presidents Award for Exemplary Achievement was awarded to several counties based on their total voting membership. In the county membership group of less than 120 members, the award was presented to Anoka County and Cass County. In the group of 121-200 voting members, the award went to Rock County, Washington/Ramsey County and Winona County. In the group with more than 200 voting members, the award went to Chisago County, Mower County and Nicollet County. County selection is based on the categories of leadership development, member benefits, promotion and education, public policy and public relations.
This year's Honorary Life award, an award given to lifelong members who have given enormous amounts of time and energy into the Farm Bureau, went to Gary and Ella Martens of Mora, and Joe and June Hain of Rochester.
The Achievement Award, an award recognizing farmers for exceptional efforts in agriculture through farm management and leadership achievements as well as effective use of capital in their farming operations, was given to Andy and Kirsten Lorenz of Bricelyn.
Winning this year's Excellence in Agriculture competition were Malissa and Ken Schentzel of Farmington. The competition awards involvement in agriculture, leadership ability, involvement and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations.
The Ag Communicator of the Year award was presented to Richard Hagen of Olivia. The award recognizes outstanding leadership in the field of agricultural communications.
The Extension Educator of the Year award was given to Laura Kieser, an educator who works in both Carver and Scott counties.
The FFA Adviser of the Year award was presented to Tiffany Timm of Mower County who teachers at LeRoy-Ostrander High School.
The Post-Secondary Agricultural Educator of the Year award was presented to Kirk Roe of Faribault County. Roe works as a farm business manager instructor at South Central College.