Corn Board presents annual recognition

The Nebraska Corn Board presented its annual awards to five individuals and organizations during its Cooperator and Awards Dinner in Lincoln last week.

For 25 years, the Nebraska Corn Board has acknowledged outstanding representatives in the livestock, ethanol and agribusiness industries, as well as awarding an organization in the media.

The Ag Achievement Award is the pinnacle of awards given to an individual who has helped develop Nebraska’s corn industry and agriculture over time.

The Ag Achievement Award was the Corn Board’s first-ever award presented in 1991 with the intent of recognizing outstanding and unselfish efforts which further the corn industry.

This year, the Nebraska Corn Board selected a highly respected leader in the agricultural industry, Don Hutchens, to be receive the award. Hutchens served as the executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board from 1987-2014.

“Don has played an instrumental role in representing agriculture. His diligent leadership and commitment to Nebraska’s grain and livestock industries is evident through his many years of service on a local, state, national, and international level,” said David Merrell, farmer from St. Edward and chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. “On behalf of Nebraska’s 23,000 corn producers, it was an honor to recognize Don for his tireless dedication to agriculture and admirable goals in moving the state forward in its agricultural ambitions.”

The Livestock Industry Appreciation Award was given to Duane “Dewey” Lienemann, extension educator in Webster County whose focus is primarily on beef systems. Lienemann was selected for this award based upon his 45 years of focused commitment to Nebraska agriculture education and his continued enthusiasm to share his wisdom about the beef industry with young agricultural leaders in 4-H and FFA.

“Dewey has always had a wonderful ability to share the story of agriculture with youth,” said John Greer, farmer from Edgar and director on the Nebraska Corn Board. “Over the years as an FFA adviser and extension educator, he has helped students and community members not only understand, but appreciate the value of the livestock industry in Nebraska. He was very deserving of this award.”

The Ethanol Industry Appreciation Award recognizes a producer or organization in the industry who has worked hard to develop ethanol markets and expand demand for ethanol in the state while appreciating the value of the corn checkoff and its involvement in ethanol market development. The recipient of this year’s award was the fuel retailer, Kum & Go. The business was recognized for its extensive efforts to advocate and promote E85 and their continued commitment to Nebraska’s ethanol industry.

The Media Appreciation Award recognizes an outstanding individual or organization that helps tell the story of agriculture. This year’s Media Appreciation Award was presented to KOLN/KGIN TV’s daily show, Pure Nebraska. Pure Nebraska was started in 2012 by Jon Vanderford and was originally a weekend program showcasing Nebraska’s No. 1 industry. As the show quickly gained popularity, it expanded to a daily program, airing from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

The Agribusiness Appreciation Award identifies a Nebraska agribusiness that recognizes and appreciates the mission of the Nebraska corn checkoff program, shows proven leadership in explaining the benefits of the checkoff and its investments and supports Nebraska agriculture. The recipient of this year’s award was Cargill. While Cargill has been a valuable partner with Nebraska agriculture for a very long time, this award was in special recognition of Cargill’s generous contribution to Raising Nebraska—the award-winning ag literacy experience on the Nebraska State Fairgrounds in Grand Island.

The Nebraska Corn Board is a self-help program, funded and managed by Nebraska corn farmers. Producers invest in the program at a rate of a half-cent per bushel of corn sold. Nebraska corn checkoff funds are invested in programs of market development, research, promotion and education.