Last but not least, we’d like to introduce you to the 2013 American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) Achievement Award runners-up. These winners were awarded a Case IH Farmall® 65A during the AFBF annual meeting in January in Nashville, Tenn. We highlighted the Discussion Meet and and Excellence in Agriculture runner-up winners in previous posts.
Recipients of the Achievement Award excel in managing and growing their operation while displaying superior leadership abilities. The 10 finalists must complete a lengthy application and participate in a 20-minute interview.
JOHN AND ALICIA BOELTS – YUMA, ARIZONA
Four years ago, John and Alicia Boelts of Yuma, Ariz., along with their three young children, decided to cash in their savings and start their own vegetable and hay operation by renting 100 acres. Now they are partnering with lifelong friends to run Desert Premium Farms, a 1,500-acre operation growing a wide variety of irrigated crops – alfalfa, durum wheat, cotton, sudangrass – and vegetables – edible beans, and iceberg, leaf and romaine lettuces.
John’s ambitions don’t end with his operation. Over the last 12 years, John has been very active with his county, state and national Farm Bureau dealing with numerous issues facing agriculture, including air quality regulations that are unique to his area. He served as his county’s secretary for one year, vice president for two years and president for four years. John served on the Arizona Farm Bureau state board of directors for six years and has traveled to Washington, D.C., to discuss legislative issues with Congress five times. Additionally, he was on the American Farm Bureau horticulture committee for four years representing the vegetable and horticulture community.
The Boelts are grateful to Farm Bureau for offering them multiple opportunities to promote and protect production agriculture to benefit their professional endeavors as well as those of future generations. With 80 percent of their equipment being Case IH, they are happy to add more to their operation and thank the sponsors for supporting the contest. Because John purchased three new Farmall 65As last year from Booth Machinery, his very supportive dealer, he’s opting to use the credit for a WD2303 windrower, or swather, for his alfalfa fields.
MICHAEL SPRINGER – NEODESHA, KANSAS
Educating the public about what farmers do on the farm to raise healthy, quality food is what motivates Michael Springer of Neodesha, Kan., to stay involved. As an Operation Main Street speaker for Kansas Pork Association, he talks to grade schools and civic groups. Appointed by the governor of Kansas, Michael currently sits on the Kansas State Board of Agriculture. In 2008, he was featured in a Kansas Farm Bureau documentary called “The Care & Feeding of Farm Animals.” He’s also served on the YF&R committee and the swine advisory committee for his state Farm Bureau.
Between juggling all of these activities, his main focus is his family farm, where he returned after graduating from Kansas State University. Now, Michael and his wife, Christy, have a partnership with his grandparents, parents, aunt and uncle. Together, they own a 3,200-sow farrow-to-finish hog operation, which Michael manages, and 5,000 acres of row crops. Michael’s passion for agriculture entrepreneurship started in sixth grade when he started raising bucket calves.
Being involved in Farm Bureau is something the Springers enjoy doing together. They’ve attended the YF&R leadership conference for nine years. They have learned so much from meeting other people and have been inspired by their stories. Additionally, Farm Bureau has been instrumental in teaching them how to advocate for agriculture.
The Springers’ new tractor, which is the perfect size for their hog operation, will be kept busy moving hogs and performing odd jobs around the farm. Michael is very appreciative of Case IH’s commitment to young people getting started in agriculture through their support of YF&R.
DAN & MIKKI HOSMAN – JONESBORO, ARKANSAS
Dan – a fifth-generation farmer – and Mikki Hosman of Jonesboro, Ark., farm 11,000 acres of primarily rice, along with milo and soybeans. They also operate a custom land leveling business that builds landfills, football and baseball fields, as well as commercial and residential projects.
We congratulate these successful, diligent and confident leaders who exhibited the skills necessary to be a strong voice for agriculture. We are proud to support their dedication to the industry.