Jered and Ashley Brown of Brighton won the Missouri Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) Excellence in Agriculture Award during the organization's 97th annual meeting Dec. 6 at the Lake of the Ozarks.
As winner of the award, the Browns were recognized for their involvement in Farm Bureau, agriculture and their community by MFB President Blake Hurst during the annual YF&R breakfast. The Browns received a new John Deere 625i Gator, made possible by FCS Financial, a $500 check from the Missouri Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, and a $500 check from Ford Motor Company.
The couple also won a free trip to Hawaii to represent Missouri at the American Farm Bureau Federation YF&R Excellence in Agriculture Contest this January in Honolulu. The contest is part of the AFBF Annual Meeting. There, they will compete for the grand prize of a new 2012 Chevrolet or GMC truck and runners-up prizes of a Case IH Farmall tractor, Stihl Farm Boss chain saw and a $5,000 savings bond.
The Excellence in Agriculture Award is designed to recognize young farmers and ranchers who have not received a majority of their income from an owned production agriculture enterprise for the past three years. Both Jered and Ashley are vocational agriculture teachers. Jered teaches at Marshfield R-1 and Ashley at Hermitage R-IV high schools.
In September, the couple purchased 20 Holstein heifers they began milking as part of a dairy owned by Jered's father. They also harvest hay and this year bought a small hay baler specifically to produce and sell hay. They made 2,000 bales in 2011, most of which went to drought-stricken areas in Oklahoma and Texas. They eventually plan on converting grass hay fields into alfalfa for their dairy herd.
As teachers, both are in a unique position to understand what they consider an important problem today – agricultural literacy. "I feel this is an important issue because if people are properly informed about agriculture and its impact on their lives, I feel many other issues would not be as serious," Ashley said. Other worries, such as urban sprawl and government over-regulation, would be better understood by the general public, she added.
Placing second in the competition were Jonathon and Melanie Pierce of Anderson in McDonald County. Third place went to Jason and Lacy Vandivort of Elsberry in Lincoln County.
The Foundation for Agriculture, Ford Motor Company, Kubota Corporation, Case IH, and FCS Financial are major sponsors of the Missouri Farm Bureau YF&R contests.Source: Missouri Farm Bureau