WACO, Texas — A passion for agriculture and the desire to excel has earned three agricultural professionals recognition in the 2019 Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Excellence in Agriculture (EIA) competition.
The finalists in this year’s contest are: Kristin Anderson of Buda, Zach and Sarah Eder of El Campo and Ben and Jessica Rumbaugh of El Campo.
TFB’s EIA award recognizes young men and women who are involved in agriculture but do not earn their primary income from a farm or ranch enterprise.
“In agriculture, there are many diverse farms, ranches and agribusinesses. The families behind each need determination and faith to get through the tough times,” said TFB President Russell Boening. “These individuals play a vital role in Texas agriculture.”
Finalists were chosen from TFB’s 13 districts.
Kristin Anderson works in grower marketing programs and digital agricultural solutions for Syngenta. As an AgriEdge specialist covering South and East Texas, she works with more than 130 Texas farmers on whole-farm solutions, which encompasses seed genetics, crop protection and farm recordkeeping technology.
Anderson is engaged to be married to Rob Warner.
Zach Eder 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 U.S. project leader for the new technology team, which is working with the first herbicide-tolerant sorghum to be launched in the U.S.
Sarah Eder teaches physics and biotechnology at El Campo High School, where she uses plant genetics and agricultural concepts in her classroom.
Together, the couple raises a small herd of cattle, and Sarah also manages a pickle business. They have two sons, Victor and Walter.
Ben and Jessica Rumbaugh operate a full-service real estate brokerage, Texas Land and Home Real Estate, that specializes in farm and ranch properties. Jessica is a certified broker, and Ben is completing his certification to become an appraiser.
They also manage two cattle herds, a cow-calf operation and a grass-fed beef herd. After realizing there was a demand for grass-fed beef in the larger cities surrounding El Campo, they created the 410 Farms website, blog and social media accounts to sell their grass-fed beef.
The Rumbaughs also operate The Farm and Ranch Network, an online classified advertising site for agriculture.
The couple has one son, Kai, and one daughter, Bailey.
“This year’s finalists truly have a passion for agriculture. They serve their communities, families and agricultural organizations in a variety of ways,” Boening said. “The passion and dedication displayed by these individuals is a benefit to all of Texas agriculture.”
The winner of the EIA contest will be announced at TFB’s 86th Annual Meeting in San Antonio on Dec. 8.
The EIA winner will take home a UTV, courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company, and a $5,000 cash award, courtesy of Farm Credit.
Contest runners-up will receive $500 cash each, sponsored by Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company.
All three finalists will receive an expense-paid trip to the TFB Annual Meeting.
The state winner will also represent Texas in the national competition during the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Meeting in Austin in January.
For more information about the Excellence in Agriculture contest and other young farmer and rancher opportunities, visit www.texasfarmbureau.org/YFR.
–Texas Farm Bureau
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