Approximately 300 people attended the Ag Day Mix-and-Mingle Luncheon at the Longworth House Office Building on March 8. Attendees listened to Congressman Collin Peterson speak on the importance of American agriculture along with Danielle and Chad Budy, one of the Outstanding Young Farmer honorees. Also speaking at the luncheon was Student NAMA member, Matrica Myer.
Chad Budy began farming in junior high school, planting 250 acres of rented land with wheat and grazing 100 head of cattle. He now raises wheat, alfalfa, canola, stocked cattle and cow/calf pairs on more than 6,300 acres near Alva, Oklahoma. He graduated from Northwestern Oklahoma University with a degree in ag business. He and his wife, Danielle, both come from five generations of farming and ranching.
The Outstanding Young Farmer program began in the 1940s. The first Outstanding Young Farmer National Congress, held under the sponsorship of John Deere, in 1977, in Bismarck, ND.
From the registrations received each year, the top 25 candidates are reviewed by judges and from that group the top ten are chosen for an expense paid trip to the OYF Awards Congress each year. These top 10 automatically become members of the OFA Fraternity. From the top ten – 4 are chosen as National Outstanding Young Farmers. In attendance at Ag Day festivities were the four national winners from the OYF Class of 2011. There are 1500 plus members in the OFA fraternity and several hundred of them return each year to attend the Congress and renew friendships from years passed. The OFA Fraternity are incorporated and elect officers who serve 2 year terms. The OFA is a very important part of the OYF Program and the majority of the membership remain successful and influential farmers.
John Deere has been the national sponsor of this program since 1977. Honorees for the Outstanding Young Farmers were: Joseph and Dawn Geremia from Connecticut; Chad and Danielle Budy from Oklahoma; John and Stacy Melick from New Jersey; and Ryan and Michelle Keller from Wisconsin.
The luncheon also featured a speaker representing the students involved in the Ag day Hill visits. Matrica Myer is from Edgar, Nebraska where she grew up on a corn soybean, and cattle operation. She is now a junior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she is studying agribusiness with an entrepreneurship minor. She is involved with the Nebraska Agriculture Youth Council, National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA), Engler Agribusiness entrepreneurship club, and is the secretary of the Agricultural/Agribusiness Club.
For more photos of all of the Ag Day Activities please visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimmcomm/sets/72157629172832298/. All photos courtesy of Chuck Zimmerman, ZimmComm, LLC.