SAN ANTONIO, Texas — A shared passion for agriculture brought Zach and Sarah Eder together, and now it’s taken them to the top. The Eders are the winners of this year’s Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Excellence in Agriculture competition.
“Zach and Sarah are stellar representatives of the young people involved in Texas agriculture today,” TFB President Russell Boening said. “They have dedication, drive and a shared love for agriculture that’s truly inspiring. We’re proud to have folks like them coming up as our next generation of leaders.”
Zach is an agronomist and technology development director for Advanta, a global seed company. He is the lead agronomist responsible for hybrid testing, field days and agronomic assistance. He also serves as the project leader for the new technology team, which is working with the first herbicide-tolerant sorghum to be launched in the U.S.
Sarah teaches physics and biotechnology at El Campo High School, where she uses plant genetics and agricultural concepts in her classroom.
She applied for and was awarded a Monsanto Fund grant to teach biotechnology courses. In those classes, Sarah’s students explore careers in agriculture and discover the many ways biotechnology is used in plant breeding to improve crops yields and increase disease resistance.
Together, the couple has a small herd of cattle, and Sarah also manages a pickle business. They have two sons, Victor and Walter.
“Young couples like Zach and Sarah, as well as the other finalists, are important to agriculture’s future,” Boening said. “Though they may not be full-time farmers or ranchers, they play a vital role in the advancement and promotion of Texas agriculture.”
As winners of the Excellence in Agriculture contest, the couple will represent Texas at the national competition in January.
They’ll also receive a UTV, courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company, and a $5,000 cash award, courtesy of Farm Credit.
Other finalists in this year’s competition included Kristin Anderson of Buda and Ben and Jessica Rumbaugh of El Campo.
The two runners-up will receive a $500 cash award, courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company.
The winner of the national Excellence in Agriculture award will receive a new Ford vehicle up to a value of $35,000 and paid registration to the AFBF YF&R Leadership Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, courtesy of Ford.
The national runner-up will receive a Case IH Farmall 50A tractor, courtesy of Case IH.
The third-place winner at the national contest will receive a Case IH 40” Combination Roll Cabinet & Top Chest and a $500 Case IH parts card, courtesy of Case IH, as well as $2,200 worth of Stanley Black & Decker merchandise, courtesy of Stanley Black & Decker.
The fourth national finalist will receive a Case IH 40” Combination Roll Cabinet & Top Chest and a $500 Case IH parts card, courtesy of Case IH.
Information on other young farmer and rancher events and activities can found online at www.texasfarmbureau.org/YFR.
–Texas Farm Bureau
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