Nebraska Corn Board honors individuals

LINCOLN, NEB. — The Nebraska Corn Board presented awards to five Nebraskans during its Cooperator and Awards Dinner in Lincoln last week.

Each year, the Nebraska Corn Board recognizes those in its related industries who help promote, develop and defend not only the corn industry, but agriculture in general. The recognition awards are the Nebraska Corn Board’s way of paying tribute to an outstanding representative in the grain elevator, livestock, and ethanol industries, as well as awarding an individual in the media, and overall ag achievement.

“We are blessed in Nebraska with fine leaders within our ag industry,” said Don Hutchens, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board. “Some of those leaders you read about on a regular basis, and some are behind the scenes. We are honored to recognize those that have helped further develop the $7 billion corn industry in Nebraska. “

(Note: More detailed biographies of award winners are provided below.)

Dale Hayek was announced as the Elevator Industry Appreciation Award recipient that will be presented at a later date. Hayek is with Farmers Cooperative, headquartered in Dorchester, Neb. He was chosen for his proven leadership in explaining the benefits of the corn checkoff and its investments, as well as supporting Nebraska agriculture.

The Livestock Industry Appreciation Award was given to Prairieland Dairy of Firth, Neb., with Dan Rice being present to accept the award. This award honored Prairieland Dairy for its recognition of the value of corn and corn co-products, the corn checkoff investment towards livestock programs, and consumer education of the importance of the livestock industry to the state.

The Ethanol Industry Appreciation Award was given to Chuck Woodside, Chief Executive Officer of KAAPA Ethanol, LLC, a farmer-owned ethanol plant in Minden, Neb., for his commitment to supporting Nebraska agriculture through the production of ethanol.

The Media Appreciation Award was awarded to Ken Anderson of the Brownfield Network, Lincoln, Neb., for his dedication to the corn industry and helping to tell agriculture’s story.

The Ag Achievement Award honored someone who has carried the torch, not just this year, but for many years. This award was given to Ralph Holzfaster of Paxton, Neb., for his ability to demonstrate vision, commitment and a deep understanding of the value of agriculture and the corn checkoff to the state of Nebraska.


Editor’s Note: Below is additional information about each of the award recipients. Pictures can be found on under the “2011 Meetings and Awards” set.

Dale Hayek:
Given annually for nearly 15 years, the Elevator Industry Appreciation Award recognizes an elevator manager or employee that recognizes and appreciates the mission of the Nebraska corn checkoff program, shows proven leadership in explaining the benefits of the checkoff and its investments and supports Nebraska agriculture.

Dale Hayek with Farmers Cooperative, headquartered in Dorchester, Neb., is this year’s recipient of the Nebraska Elevator Industry Appreciation Award.

Dale has been with Farmers Cooperative for 23 years, beginning with the company in 1988, and currently serves as the grain manager. Dale’s responsibilities include merchandising for the company’s 35 grain facilities in southeast Nebraska and one in Kansas, coordinating grain movement by rail and truck and supervising grain support staff.

Through his current position and the years of service with the coop, Dale has been able to enjoy the growth and challenges of Dorchester going from a single location, to currently operating in 43 communities.

Dale grew up on a dry-land farm between Friend and Milligan, graduating from Friend prior to attending and graduating from Southeast Community College. Dale is active at a community level, serving currently as the chair of the Dorchester Community Foundation.

As quoted in his nomination, “Dale has always been one to extend advice and a helping hand, whether it is with producers or hosting a trade team. Dale is also quick to recognize the work that staff at each location brings to the table. These qualities show a great level of leadership and appreciation from producers and staff.”

As noted in his nomination, Dale has always been willing to host a trade team and has traveled with the Nebraska Corn Board, most recently in 2007 to Mexico, and that has provided Farmers Cooperative patrons with another market opportunity.

Prairieland Dairy:
The Livestock Industry Appreciation Award honors a producer who recognizes the value of corn and corn co-products, the corn checkoff investment towards livestock programs, and consumer education of the importance of the livestock industry to the state.

Adding value to their products is just one way that Firth, Nebraska’s Prairieland Dairy has diversified its farming operation. Prairieland Dairy was created in 2000 when four small dairy farms merged. Their goal, after consolidating, was to create a new kind of dairy – one that was sustainable, open and transparent; that served the community, and produced the finest all-natural dairy products in the area.

In December 2008, they purchased the non-operational Legacy Dairy processing and bottling facility in the town of Hallam, about 15 miles from Firth. In mid-June of 2009 Prairieland Dairy launched its self-titled brand of milk in several Lincoln area locations.

As it is with the overwhelming majority of livestock operations, animal care and wellness is Prairieland’s number one priority. Being open and transparent to the consumers is just as important. They give numerous tours each year and have hosted an annual open house for seven years. It’s a free event, featuring tours of the cow barn and milking parlor, milk truck rides and free lunch, of course, complete with milk and ice cream. In 2010 more than 5,000 people attended the event, topping off a year which saw 15,000 people tour the facility, each leaving with a renewed understanding of modern agriculture.

Just like Nebraska corn farmers who are ‘Sustaining Innovation’ by growing more with less and developing value-added co-products, the Nebraska Corn Board recognizes Prairieland Dairy for the innovative ways it produces dairy products and educates consumers. This not only promotes the dairy industry, but agriculture as a whole.

Chuck Woodside:
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.

Charles “Chuck” Woodside was recognized with this year’s Nebraska Corn Board Ethanol Industry Award for his commitment to supporting Nebraska agriculture through the production of ethanol.

He has been the chief executive officer of KAAPA Ethanol, LLC, a farmer-owned ethanol plant in Minden, Neb., producing 59 million gallons of ethanol annually, and managing a four million bushel grain elevator operation since 2002.

In September 2010, Woodside was elected to a one-year term as the chairman of the board of directors for the Renewable Fuels Association, the nation’s largest and oldest ethanol trade association. From 2005 through 2010, he served as the chairman of Renewable Products Marketing Group (RPMG), the nation’s fourth largest marketer.

Prior to joining KAAPA Ethanol, Woodside was the chief financial officer for Gopher State Ethanol located in St. Paul, Minn. He has also served as chief financial officer and vice president of finance for MBC Holding Co., the 12th largest publicly traded brewery.

Woodside has held positions with Koch Industries, Inc., Archer Daniels Midland Co. and the Meredith Corp. He earned a bachelor of science in agricultural economics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master of business administration degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ken Anderson:
The Nebraska Corn Board’s media award is designed to recognize an outstanding individual or company that helps tell agriculture’s story. Ken Anderson of the Brownfield Network is this year’s recipient.

Anderson’s broadcasting career started with KRVN radio, where he worked for 12 years. He stepped away from the broadcast industry and became the marketing and communications manager for NC+ Hybrids and also covered a number of clients for David Associates. However, it was the broadcasting industry that brought Anderson back to utilize his talents, voice and ability to cover the story of production agriculture with Brownfield.

The Nebraska Corn Board is not the first to recognize Anderson’s talents. The National Agri-Marketing Association in 2002 honored him with the Excellence in Marketing Communications Award, and in 2010 The National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service awarded him the Editor’s Choice Award. Anderson was also a member of the LEAD I class, past president of the Nebraska AgriBusiness Club; executive committee of the National Agri-Marketing Association and is currently president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters Association Foundation.

Anderson is very knowledgeable on the corn industry and ag issues, and as a reporter he has the ability to make everyone he interviews feel at ease. The Nebraska Corn Board thanks Anderson for his years of service and dedication to agriculture.

Ralph Holzfaster:
The Ag Achievement Award was first presented in 1991 with the purpose of recognizing an individual with outstanding, unselfish and sacrificial efforts that further the corn industry.

The Nebraska Corn Board awarded Ralph Holzfaster as the Ag Achievement Award recipient for 2011.

Holzfaster has been active on many boards and councils, such as the Mid-America Bio-Energy Board, Western Nebraska Development Foundation, Keith County Economic Development and the Governor’s Water Conference Council. He has received many honors, such as West Central Nebraska Development’s Outstanding Citizen Award, Keith County’s Trailblazer Award, the UNL Alumni College of Business Leadership Award, and the AKSARBEN Court of Honor.

Holzfaster has promoted residue management and stubble mulch farming since 1960. He has promoted efficient methods of irrigation for more than 41 years and he is currently Lindsey/Zimmatic’s longest standing dealer. He continues to play a major role in value-added businesses in western Nebraska, such as ethanol and the use of distiller’s grains as livestock feed.

He also served as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force from 1951 to 56 and a Missile Launch Officer at Cape Canaveral in Florida, prior to marrying Bev in 1959.

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