Nebraska Corn Board Recognizes Ag Achievement, Livestock, Ethanol and Media Awardees

Award CertificateLINCOLN, NE—The Nebraska Corn Board presented its annual awards to four exceptional individuals during its Cooperator and Awards Dinner in Lincoln this week.

For 23 years, the Nebraska Corn Board has acknowledged incomparable representatives in the livestock and ethanol industries, as well as awarding an individual 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 recipient of this year’s Ag Achievement award was Dr. Ronnie Green, NU Vice President and the Institute of Agriculture & Natural Resources (IANR) Harlan Vice Chancellor. Dr. Green was chosen for his outstanding dedication to agriculture and distinguished ambitions in expanding IANR and moving the state forward in its agricultural ambitions.

“The transformation that Dr. Green has been able to accomplish in his time at the University to expand Nebraska’s agricultural industry has been incredible,” said Curt Friesen, vice chair of the Nebraska Corn Board from Henderson, Neb. “His vision and aspirations for the future of agriculture in Nebraska are endless and he is putting those goals in action.”

The Livestock Industry Award was given to Anne Burkholder, owner/operator of Will Feed, Inc. and Feedyard Foodie blogger. Burkholder, who was raised in urban Palm Beach County, Florida and Ivy League educated, now runs a beef feedlot with her husband and family. Anne uses her connection with her urban counterparts to share ag’s story through her blog.

“I know that blogging is a big commitment and I really appreciate Anne’s willingness to do this and do it so well,” said Debbie Borg, farmer-director on the Nebraska Corn Board from Allen, Neb. “Her commitment, determination and journey in learning about cattle feeding and willingness to share her story makes her very deserving of this award.”

The Ethanol Industry Appreciation Award recognizes a producer or person 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 Green Plains Renewable Energy, Inc. (GPRE). Accepting the award on behalf of GPRE was Jeff Briggs, GPRE’s Chief Operating Officer.

“GPRE’s dedication to the ethanol industry and efforts to expand in Nebraska has been prominently noticed in our industry,” said Dennis Gengenbach, farmer-director on the Nebraska Corn Board from Smithfield, Neb. “We thank them for aiming to ‘harvest the energy locked up in a single kernel of corn’ in adding value to our corn crop.”

The Media Appreciation Award was presented to Steve White of NTV News for his efforts in routinely sharing agriculture’s story and his knowledge and understanding of ag’s importance to our state economy. White is the Bureau Chief of the Grand Island Newsroom, overseeing NTV’s coverage of the community. He is also co-host of NTV’s Grow, a weekly farm and ranch program.

“Steve has developed a great format for telling our story. Simply, Steve ‘gets it’,” said Tim Scheer, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board from St. Paul, Neb. “Steve also agvocates to the people he works with. He makes sure that the people around him and working with him understand agriculture in the area and its importance locally and statewide.”

The Nebraska Corn Board is responsible for investing the corn checkoff dollars contributed by Nebraska’s 23,000 corn farmers and managing programs focused on market development, research, education, and promotion.


Editor’s Note: Below is additional information about each of the award recipients. Pictures can be found on under the “2014 Meetings and Awards” set.


Dr. Ronnie Green
Dr. Ronnie Green is the NU Vice President and IANR Harlan Vice Chancellor. Prior to joining the University of Nebraska in July 2010, Dr. Green served as the senior director of Pfizer Animal Health overseeing global technical services for Animal Genetics, a position he had held since April of 2008. Ronnie was raised on a mixed beef, dairy, and cropping farm in southwestern Virginia. He received B.S. and M.S. degrees in animal science from Virginia Tech and Colorado State University, respectively. His Ph.D. program was completed jointly at the University of Nebraska and the USDA U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in animal breeding in 1988.

Ronnie has served on the animal science faculties of Texas Tech University (1989-1994) and Colorado State University (1994-2000), reaching the rank of full professor in 1997. He has been recognized with a number of distinguished local, regional and national teaching and research awards for the work he led with 25 Ph.D. and M.S. students and colleagues in beef cattle breeding and genetics in those positions. From 2003-2008, Green served as the national program leader for animal production research for the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and as the executive secretary of the White House’s interagency working group on animal genomics within the National Science and Technology Council. In this role he directed a $45M annual research portfolio and was one of the principal leaders in the international bovine, porcine, and ovine genome projects.

Ronnie has published 130 refereed publications and abstracts, 9 book chapters, and 56 invited symposia papers; and has delivered invited presentations in 43 U.S. states and 15 countries around the world. He is past-president of the American Society of Animal Science, and has served in a number of industry leadership positions for the Beef Improvement Federation, National Cattlemens Beef Association, National Pork Board, DISCOVER Conferences, and the National Block and Bridle Club (serving as national president in 1998).

Ronnie and his wife, Jane, are the proud parents of four children.

Anne Burkholder
Anne Burkholder is the owner/operator of Will Feed, Inc. and blogger behind Feedyard Foodie. Before Anne understood where beef came from, the urban Palm Beach County, Florida native was fueled by beef for many years as an athlete. She was an Ivy League-educated athlete who later met a Nebraska boy and moved to “The Good Life”. Now, Anne is a mother of three and runs a cattle feedyard and farming operation with her husband. She started, a blog where people can come to read about the real story of beef, written by someone who actually gets their hands dirty, yet relates with her city roots. An important message that she shares is that she feeds her family the same food that she raises for other families, and helping them understand where their food comes from.

In 2009, she was awarded the Beef Quality Assurance Producer of the Year Award for the volunteer work that she does promoting beef farmer education in cattle care (animal welfare), and food safety. She is a member of the Tyson Fresh Meats Animal Well-being Committee for Farm Check, the National Beef Quality Assurance Advisory Committee, a Director of the Nebraska State Beef Council, and an avid advocate for the cattle industry.

Green Plains Renewable Energy, Inc.
Green Plains is the fourth largest ethanol producer in the world, marketing and distributing over one billion gallons of ethanol annually. Green Plains owns and operates twelve ethanol production facilities of which four are located in the state of Nebraska. Green Plains also owns and operates grain storage assets in the corn belt and biofuel terminals in the southern United States.

They are a company focused on risk management, operational excellence and safety, and are energized by a clear purpose: harvest the energy locked up in a single kernel of corn. Green Plains is a joint venture partner in BioProcess Algae LLC, which was formed to commercialize advanced photo-bioreactor technologies for growing and harvesting algal biomass. The company is a NASDAQ listed, Fortune 1000 business with its corporate headquarters located in Omaha, Nebraska. 292 of the Company’s 740 employees call Nebraska home.

Steve White
Steve is Bureau Chief of the NTV Grand Island Newsroom, overseeing NTV’s coverage of the community. He is also co-host of NTV’s Grow, a weekly farm and ranch program. He has several years of experience as a reporter, covering issues in the Grand Island area and beyond. He has also covered several political campaigns and has extensive experience covering the State Capitol, working with three governors and countless state senators. Steve routinely covers agricultural news, and often presents the Farm Youth and Farm Family of the Month segments. In addition, Steve is NTV’s go-to reporter for all things related to the Nebraska State Fair.

Steve was born in Iowa, but grew in South Dakota and graduated from South Dakota State University. He is an avid photographer, and enjoys taking pictures of family and friends. He is an Eagle Scout, a big music fan and was on the first ever list of the Top 35 Under 35 by the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce. Steve and his wife Sara have three children and are very active in the Grand Island community.

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