WACO, Texas — A passion for agriculture and the drive to succeed has earned three young agricultural professionals recognition in the 2020 Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Excellence in Agriculture (EIA) competition.
The finalists in this year’s contest are Cody Berry of Angelina County, Laura Reed of Denton County and Jessica Rumbaugh of Wharton County.
TFB’s EIA award recognizes young men and women ages 18 to 35 who are involved in agriculture but do not earn their primary income from a farm or ranch enterprise.
“There are many roles to fill in agriculture, and these individuals are great examples of the different careers and ways young people can be involved,” TFB President Russell Boening said. “Texas agriculture thrives because of the work everyone contributes—from the field to the classroom and all the places in between.”
Finalists were chosen from TFB’s 13 districts.
Berry is a high school agricultural science teacher and FFA advisor at Hudson ISD.
He works with local youth to develop skills to use in the classroom and in life. Berry helps his students in extracurricular activities, including stock shows, career development events, leadership development events, ag mechanics, speaking contests and more.
He and his wife, Madisyn, own land in Angelina County that they plan to convert into pasture to support commercial beef production. He also owns a small business that specializes in custom contract mowing and land management.
Berry is an Angelina County Farm Bureau board member and previously represented District 9 on TFB’s Young Farmer & Rancher Advisory Committee.
The couple has two daughters, June and Sunny.
Reed is a high school agricultural science teacher and FFA advisor at Denton ISD. She teaches at Guyer High School, where she hopes to help students understand the degree to which agriculture impacts everyone.
In addition to teaching, Reed helps her students with career development events, leadership development events, livestock projects, Norman Borlaug World Food Prize projects and other FFA activities.
As an FFA advisor, Reed has led students to qualify for the state Veterinary Science Career Development Event team and brings agriculture to life for students who live in an urban area.
Reed is active in Denton County Farm Bureau where she has coordinated Mobile Learning Barn visits and assisted with county activities.
Reed and her husband, Allen, have one son, Clark, and another son due later this year.
Rumbaugh owns and operates Texas Land and Home Real Estate, a real estate firm specializing in agricultural and rural properties with acreage.
In addition to her real estate business, Rumbaugh manages a direct-to-consumer grassfed beef herd and participates in multiple equine training and show competitions.
Rumbaugh and her husband, Ben, have one son, Kai, and one daughter, Bailey. They serve as the District 11 representatives on TFB’s Young Farmer & Rancher Advisory Committee.
“This year’s finalists are true examples of agricultural leaders,” Boening said. “Their passion and determination to succeed and grow the future of agriculture is truly a benefit for Texas and our organization.”
The winner of the EIA contest will be announced during TFB’s 87th Annual Meeting on Nov. 30.
The winner will take home a UTV, courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company, and a $5,000 cash award, courtesy of Farm Credit Bank of Texas.
Contest runners-up will receive a $1,000 cash prize, courtesy of Farm Bureau Bank, and a $500 cash prize from Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance.
The state winner will also represent Texas in the national competition during the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 102nd Annual Convention in January.
The national winner will receive a new Ford vehicle up to a value of $35,000 and paid registration to the Farm Bureau FUSION Conference in Oregon, courtesy of Ford.
The national runner-up will receive a Case IH Farmall 50A, courtesy of Case IH.
Third place in the national EIA contest will receive a Case IH 40” Combination Roll Cabinet & Top Chest and a $500 Case IH parts card, courtesy of Case IH; a $2,500 Investing Your Future cash prize, courtesy of American Farm Bureau Insurance Services, Inc.; plus $1,850 worth of Stanley Black & Decker merchandise (PROTO, DeWalt, Stanley, Lenox & Irwin), courtesy of Stanley Black & Decker.
Fourth place in 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.
For more information about the EIA contest and other young farmer and rancher opportunities, visit texasfarmbureau.org/YFR.
–Texas Farm Bureau
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