Young Farm Bureau members honored for management and participation
Lee County farmers Jeff and Paula Ellis were presented Iowa Farm Bureau Federation's 2008 Young Farmer Achievement Award on Dec. 4 at the organization's annual meeting in Des Moines.
The annual contest honors young farmers who show outstanding management ability in their farming operations and involvement in Farm Bureau and community activities. Receiving second place in the contest were Thomas and Jessica Forbes of Ida County. Third place recipients were Sam and Jill McKnight of Union County.
Jeff and Paula Ellis raise corn, soybeans, hay and cattle on their farm near Donnellson. The couple also has a Christmas tree farm, and Jeff works part-time at Pioneer Hi-Bred International. In addition, the Ellises served in various Farm Bureau leadership roles at the county and state levels, including county Young Farmer Committee chair, county board, the state Young Farmer Committee and Speaker Corps. Paula has also been a county campaign manager, state Young Farmer Committee chair, state Young Farmer Committee secretary and the Young Farmer Committee representative on the state resolutions committee.
For their award, Jeff and Paula received a plaque, $500 from General Motors and an AGCO tractor for 150 hours or 90 days. They will also receive expense-paid trips to the 2009 American Farm Bureau annual convention in San Antonio, the GROWMARK annual meeting and the IFBF Young Farmer conference. The couple has one son.
Runners-up Thomas and Jessica Forbes raise corn and soybeans on their farm near Ida Grove. They also have a custom machine operation, and Jessica is an insurance agent. Thomas has served as Ida County Farm Bureau's Young Farmer Committee chair, board director and net farm income committee chair. He has also been on the county's Political Action Committee and policy development committee. The couple received a plaque, a $1,000 Grainger gift certificate and a $500 GROWMARK gift card for their achievements. Thomas and Jessica have two children.
Third place winners Sam and Jill McKnight raise corn, soybeans, hay, hogs and cattle in partnership with Sam's parents. The couple has three children and lives on a farm near Afton. In addition to farming, Sam owns and operates a custom manure hauling business, and Jill is an office manager for a chiropractor in Afton. The couple served as chair of the county Young Farmer Committee and a district representative on the state Young Farmer Committee. Sam has also served on the county board. Jill has served as county vice president, county treasurer, and secretary for the county board. The McKnights received a plaque, a GPS unit from Farm Bureau Financial Services and $200 from Iowa Farm Bureau.