Zane Akins, Missouri, was recognized as a Pioneer by the National Dairy Shrine (NDS), which honors past, present and future dairy industry leaders that have contributed greatly to the dairy industry. He will be inducted into the National Dairy Hall of Fame in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. Akins spent 26 years on the staff of the Holstein Association, the world’s largest dairy breed association – 13 of those years as CEO. He’s been recognized as Tri-State Breeders Man of the Year, National Pedigreed Livestock Council Distinguished Service Honoree, Hall Of Fame Inductee of his High School and listed in several Who’s Who Worldwide. Akins graduated with honors from the University of Missouri in 1962 and received their Citation of Merit Award in 1986. He was initiated into Theta Chapter in 1959 and has served the Fraternity as Noble Ruler, Grand President, Regional Vice President, Housing Resource Trust Chair, and more. He currently serves as the Strategic Planning Coordinator and visits Chapters to discuss best practices and develop strategic plans for success.
Brad Garrison, Mississippi State, has joined the Executive Team of AgriVision Farm Management in Hartley, Texas, as Director of Special Projects. In this position, he will focus efforts on integrating new technology designed to revolutionize waste management practices for animal agriculture. He is a proud Mississippi State alumnus, where he was initiated into Beta Tau Chapter in 1997 and served as Noble Ruler for the chapter. Brother Garrison graduated in 2000 with a degree in Landscape Management and continued to serve Alpha Gamma Rho as a Chapter Adviser, Alumni Director, Leadership Seminar Facilitator, and AGRconnect Coach. For the past five years, Garrison has served Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity as Chief Development Officer, where he led record-breaking fundraising events on behalf of the Educational Foundation of Alpha Gamma Rho. He currently serves the Kansas City community as the World Series of Barbeque Operations Committee Chairman for the American Royal Association and on the Board of Directors of the Agricultural Business Council of Kanas City. Click Here to View Official Press Release
Harold “Jeff” Dickens, Arkansas State, is now a Regional Sales Manager for AeroViroment, an American technology company in California that is primarily involved in energy systems and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). The company has years of drone development and experience to bring simple-to-use drones and support systems to help farmers quickly and accurately map acreage and spot crop health or operational issues. In this position, Dickens will be focusing on Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana to build the leading class of dealers in the UAV market for agriculture. Dickens was initiated into Beta Epsilon Chapter at Arkansas State University in 1998, and served as VNR Activities, VNR Recruitment, and VNR Alumni Relations for the chapter.
Tim Smith, Kentucky, has been elected by the American Simmental Association (ASA) Board of Trustees to serve as Chairman of the association for 2018. ASA manages the largest database of all breed associations exceeding 17 million records. He was formally seated during ASA’s 50th Annual Meeting January 13 in Denver, Colorado. Brother Smith attended the University of Kentucky and was initiated into Omicron Chapter in the spring of 1977. As owner/operator of Smith Genetics, Smith has been affiliated with Simmental and Simbrah cattle for more than 35 years. His operation includes 400 Simmental, Simbrah and SimAngus females. In addition, Smith operates a custom embryo transplant and artificial insemination center at his headquarters. Brother Smith also co-founded the Simbrah-Simbrah Superbowl, an event that has awarded more than $800,000 in prizes, monies and scholarships to junior SimGenetic exhibitors over the past 26 years.
Chase Monte, Missouri, was named an Area 4 Star Farmer by the Missouri FFA Association during the 90th Missouri FFA Convention April 19-20 in Columbia, Missouri. Area Star Farmers are chosen based upon outstanding production agriculture in the student’s supervised agricultural experience program and active participation in FFA. Monte’s SAE program includes raising registered Angus cattle and managing 25 acres of row crops that he later sells as silage. He has served as his FFA chapter’s reporter, vice president and president and has competed on the state level in livestock evaluation, dairy cattle evaluation and agriculture issues forum career development events. Brother Monte was initiated into Theta Chapter at the University of Missouri in the fall of 2017. At MU, he is also involved in CAFNR Agriculture Business Club, MU Block and Bridle, and MU Collegiate Farm Bureau. He is studying agribusiness management and intends to return to the family business of raising Angus cattle and selling farm equipment after graduation in 2021.
Steve Censky, South Dakota State, attended the Washington D.C. AGR Alumni Chapter Luncheon on May 17, 2018. Censky was confirmed as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture by the U.S. Senate in October 2017 and has been hard at work helping manage one of the U.S. Government’s largest executive agencies: nearly 100,000 employees and a $150 billion budget. He was previously the CEO of the American Soybean Association. Brother Censky discussed his leadership within USDA, his experience with his entire career within agriculture, and his advice for fellow AGRs within the agriculture industry.
David Laatsch, Wisconsin-Madison, was inducted into the Wisconsin FFA Hall of Fame on June 13 during the 89th Wisconsin FFA Convention at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin. The honor recognizes the leaders who have impacted the State FFA Association and have set an example of service for all FFA members to follow. Laatsch is a retired Beaver Dam High School agriculture teacher and was a driving force behind FFA and the agriculture program at the school. Laatsch was hired as an agriculture teacher at Beaver Dam in 1976, and began taking the lead on their new ag department. He asked for and received permission to redesign the facility and change the curriculum to a science-based program, making his students the first to earn science credit while taking ag classes. For this, Laatsch was recognized with the first National Agri-Science Teacher of the Year Award in 1986. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural education and poultry science and a master’s degree in continuing and vocational education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While at Wisconsin-Madison, he was initiated into Iota Chapter in 1972 and has served as Chapter Alumni Secretary, Alumni President, and Alumni Director for the chapter. He now serves on the Fund Advisory Committee for the Central Iowa Alumni Chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho.
O.L. Robertson, Tennessee-Martin, recently retired from many years of teaching at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. Brother Robertson was the Department Head of the Hutson School of Agriculture at Murray State. He was initiated into Alpha Upsilon Chapter at the University of Tennessee-Martin in 1963 and serves as a Chapter Adviser for Alpha Omega Chapter at Murray State since 2006.
Gary Apgar, Southern Illinois, won Adviser of the Year at Southern Illinois University during their 87th Greek Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, April 18, 2018. Apgar is a professor at the University and was recognized for his constant support of Beta Alpha Chapter and the SIU community. Apgar was initiated as an Alumnus Initiate into Beta Alpha in 2000 and has served as their Adviser since fall 2013.
Ron Wrolstad, Oregon State, was honored with the Dr. Jim Joseph Award at the Berry Health Benefits Symposium in Pismo Beach, California in 2017. Wrolstad is a distinguished professor emeritus in the Food Science and Technology department at Oregon State University and was recognized for his career-long research on anthocyanin chemistry and color stability in berries. Anthocyanins are plant chemicals that, thanks in part to Wrolstad’s work, are now known to promote human health. Wrolstad was also honored with the Advancement of Application of Agriculture and Food Chemistry Award during the ChemLuminary Award ceremony at the American Chemical Society meeting in Washington, D.C., last fall. Wrolstad was initiated into Alpha Beta Chapter at Oregon State University in 1957. He received his Bachelor of Science in Food Technology in 1960 and his Ph.D. from the University of California Davis in Agricultural Chemistry in 1964.
Glen Cope, Missouri State, was recently recognized as a Missouri State University Distinguished Alumni. Each year, the Missouri State University Alumni Association honors a group of outstanding alumni with Bears of Distinction awards. Cope is a fourth-generation cattle rancher and grain farmer. He has led several agriculture organizations, including serving as the chairman of the board of directors of the Missouri Beef Industry Council. Brother Cope has served on agriculture advisory committees for two congressmen and was awarded the Governor’s Award for Agricultural Achievement in 2015 and the Missouri Beef Cattle Legacy Award in 2016. He was initiated into Beta Omega Chapter in 2003, and served as Alumni Director for the Chapter. He currently serves Beta Omega as their Alumni Vice President.
Cameron Stake, Florida, is interning at Walther Farms, a third-generation, family-owned business headquartered in Three Rivers, Michigan. The company has over 12,000 acres of commercial and seed potatoes grown throughout the United States for the potato chip and fresh produce markets. Stake is currently in Georgia for harvest, and will be heading up to Walther Farms Indiana location to continue monitoring quality control of potatoes after harvest. Stake was initiated into Alpha Gamma Chapter at the University of Florida in the fall of 2017.
Jack Ligon, Vermont, was awarded Top Fraternity Scholar and the Emerging Leader award on April 22 during the University of Vermont Fraternity and Sorority Awards Dinner. Ligon was initiated into Alpha Rho Chapter in 2017.
Will Luna, Wyoming, has been named Marketing & Sponsorship Manager for the Laramie County Fair and Laramie County Fair Archer Complex. The Laramie County Fair is Wyoming’s Oldest and Largest County Fair. Brother Luna was initiated into Beta Omicron Chapter at the University of Wyoming in 2001 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in agriculture education in 2006. Upon graduation, he served as an agriculture education instructor and FFA advisor in Colorado for eight years. Most recently, Luna was a Convention Sales Manager for Visit Cheyenne, specializing in agricultural, educational, religious, and fraternal conventions and meetings. He is actively involved in Cheyenne Frontier Days, where he was awarded Volunteer of the Year in 2015 and inducted into the HEELS organization in 2016. Luna has been recognized by the Greater Cheyenne Wyoming Chamber of Commerce as an Emerging Leader nominee, is a graduate of the Leadership Cheyenne program, and currently sits on the Steering Committee for the Leadership Cheyenne Program. Luna currently serves as Alumni Vice President for Beta Omicron Chapter.
Charles “Chuck” Francis, California-Davis, was awarded a Parent’s Recognition Award from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The Parents’ Recognition Awards, presented during a February 2 ceremony in the Nebraska Union, are earned through nominations made from parents of Nebraska students. Presented annually, the honors provide positive feedback to faculty and staff about their work with and support of students. Francis was initiated into Phi Chapter at the University of California-Davis in 1958 and received his Bachelor of Science in Agronomy in 1961. He went on to achieve his M.S. and Ph.D. in Plant Breeding at Cornell University. Brother Francis has traveled, studied, consulted, and contributed to teaching, research and program planning in more than 50 countries, including agroecology courses for 23 years in Norway. He is currently a professor at UNL and teaching agroecology, organic farming, agroecosystems analysis, and international land grabs in the Global South. He has received awards for writing and teaching using participatory learning methods in classroom and field, with more than 300 publications including 80 book chapters and several edited books.
Codee Lee, North Dakota State, successfully defended his Plant Sciences M.S. thesis, Post Emergence Efficacy of Pyroxasulfone at Different Rates and Timing in Wheat, on Thursday, April 26, 2018 at North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND. Lee was initiated into Epsilon Chapter in 2012 and obtained his undergraduate degree in Crop and Weed Sciences in 2015. He went on to pursue his masters under the advisement of Dr. Kirk Howatt and his research team in the Department of Plant Services at NDSU. During his time at the university, Lee was honored as a Gamma Sigma Delta inductee in 2017, was Vice President of the Plant Sciences Graduate Student Association, and was a member of the NDSU Weed Olympics Team. He has accepted a research agronomist position at Cibus, where he is performing plot research experiments in support of North Dakota, Minnesota, and Montana growers. Click Here to Read More about Brother Lee’s research.
Chace Brannan, Florida, recently traveled to Israel for 10 days with other students from the University of Florida. The student leaders from UF traveled to Israel to learn more about Israel’s complicated role within the Middle East and discover the roots of their Biblical faith. Brannan observed the culture and explored areas like Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Dead Sea, Sea of Galilee, Gaza Strip, Syria, and more. Brannan was initiated into Alpha Gamma Chapter in 2015. His father, Robert Brannan, is also a brother of Alpha Gamma Chapter.
Richard Fordyce, Missouri, is now an administrator for USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Fordyce is the former director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture. In his new position, he will oversee the agency’s effort to support agricultural production across the country through a network of 2,100 county and 50 state offices. Fordyce served as a leader in Missouri agriculture for over two decades between the Missouri Farm Bureau and as director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture from 2013-2017. He was initiated as an Alumnus Initiate into Theta Chapter at the University of Missouri in 2016. In 2015, he was awarded Missouri Farm Bureau’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award. In November 2017, he was nominated by President Donald Trump as Missouri’s executive director of the state FSA. Brother Fordyce is a soybean, corn and cattle farmer from Bethany, Missouri, and has served on the Missouri Soybean Council and the National Biodiesel Board. He was also appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to serve as one of the Missouri directors on the United Soybean Board and served in that capacity for 11 years.
Arthur Green, Murray State, was selected as a 2018 recipient of the Ag Teachers Change Lives Award from Kentucky FFA Foundation. Green was initiated into Alpha Omega Chapter at Murray State University in 1970 and served as Noble Ruler for the Chapter. He is a retired agriculture teacher from Todd County, Kentucky, and a community leader who volunteers his time to advance FFA Alumni chapters across Kentucky and the nation. He is currently serving as the Kentucky FFA Alumni President.
Michael Brady, Illinois, was commissioned into the United States Navy in mid-May. Brady was initiated into Alpha Chapter at the University of Illinois in the fall of 2014.
Jack Marion, Wyoming, spent the last semester in New Zealand to explore his interests and studies in zoology at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch. Marion was initiated into Beta Omicron Chapter in 2016 and has served as VNR of Recruitment and Noble Ruler for the Chapter.
Will Bollum, North Dakota State, accepted a job with Western Ag Reporter as a Field Editor covering North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. His role focuses primarily on advertisement sales including the opportunity to assist with livestock sales across the region. Bollum was initiated into Epsilon at North Dakota State University in 2014 and served as VNR of Alumni Relations, VNR of Recruitment, and Nobler Ruler for the chapter. He also served the National Fraternity as an Undergraduate Director in 2016-17.
Mike Poggemiller, Iowa State, was selected for an Undergraduate Award of Distinction from the North-American Interfraternity Conference on May 15, 2018. This is a very prestigious award with only 11 undergraduate students selected nationwide. The Undergraduate Award of Distinction seeks to recognize fraternity men who have found in their experience an outlet for developing as both a leader and a better man. The recipients are those who embody the values of their fraternity and expect the same from those with whom they associate. Poggemiller was initiated into Eta Chapter at Iowa State University in the fall of 2014 and served the National Fraternity as an Undergraduate Director in 2017. He has served Iowa State’s Interfraternity Council as Vice President of Public Relations and President.
Chad “Nolan” Ward Jr, Florida, was recently awarded the first Roland T. Stern Scholarship Award from the University of Florida. Roland T. Stern was a family man and forester from Lake City, Florida. He passed in January 2017, and his wife, Lucinda Stern, created the scholarship to memorialize his legacy and create opportunities for the next generation of foresters. Brother Ward comes from a long line of forestry workers, his father is a third-generation logger and owner of Chad Ward Enterprises. Ward is a rising senior in the UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and is studying forest resources and conservation. Ward has his associate’s degree from Florida Gateway College in Lake City. He is now specializing in forest business management in the UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation. Ward was initiated into Alpha Gamma Chapter at the University of Florida in January 2018.
Chi Chapter at Cal Poly State was recognized by the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) as the CAFES Club of the Year. This award recognizes a club on Cal Poly’s campus that has strong goals and purpose, and participates in many CAFES events and community service. The Chapter worked hard to attain this award.
Brothers from Alpha Delta Chapter at Montana State University recently received scholarships from the Montana Feed Association during the Montana Nutrition Conference meeting in Bozeman, Montana in April. Evan Haughian received the John Patterson Scholarship, awarded to an animal science major in honor of Dr. John Patterson. Brant Marsh received the Montana Feed Association Scholarship, awarded to a student in the Ag Marketing field with an emphasis in Agri-Business. Scholarships are awarded to MSU College of Agriculture students who have been interviewed and are selected by MFA members.
Brothers from Beta Phi Chapter at the University of Idaho competed in the College of Agriculture and Life Science (CALS) Olympics at the University in May. They participated in events including an obstacle course, memory test, roping, egg toss, bull riding, and more. After all the scores were tallied, the group of undergraduates, including Brothers Justin Nesbitt, Will Stokes, Cole Lickley, Dustin Winston, Nate Kieffer, and Austin Pimentel, won the 2018 CALS Olympics.
Beta Alpha Southern Illinois University was recognized for many achievements during the 87th Greek Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, April 18, 2018. They were awarded Outstanding Academic Excellence for the Spring of 2017 and the Fall of 2017. The Chapter was also named “Chapter of the Year” on SIU campus.
Brothers of Alpha Psi Chapter at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls helped their local community in late May. Matt Stanek, Kyle Stuttgen, and Morgan Vetterkins donated their time and efforts to build and install a new sign at the Grow to Share gardens in River Falls, WI. Grow to Share Inc. works to “weed out hunger” by growing and harvesting from plots tended by volunteers within the community and donates to food pantries, shelters, and low income housing throughout the area.
Chi Chapter at Cal Poly State University has been studying hard to improve their academics. The Chapter was recognized for their increase from a 2.65 average GPA in the Fall 2017 to a 2.814 average in Spring 2018. 30 Brothers within the chapter received 3.0 or higher GPA. Anthony Echeverria, who was initiated into the chapter in 2014, earned a 4.0 for the 2017-18 semesters.
Brothers from Alpha Gamma Chapter at the University of Florida were selected to serve as Ambassadors for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at UF. Brothers Case Emerson, Brandon Grady, and Gabriel Lucero were each chosen to represent the college for the next year.
Lambda Chapter at University of Minnesota was recognized for 100% of their members participating in the Wellness Challenge, which promotes physical and mental health on campus. This is the second year in a row the Chapter was able to show 100% attendance for the event.
Brothers Gavin Meyer and Jake Sterle, Iowa State, traveled to the United Kingdom as part of a study abroad experience. Ben Drescher, an Eta Chapter alumnus, served as a chaperone on the trip.
Epsilon Chapter at North Dakota State University had a great softball victory on May 11 to end the Spring 2018 semester.
Lambda Chapter won their annual softball game against Farmhouse in early May with a 10-2 victory.
Alpha Chapter at the University of Illinois participated in the 10th Annual Illinois Half-Marathon on April 28, 2018.