Born Feb. 12, 1809, this year we celebrate the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birthday. Lincoln demonstrated his commitment to agriculture by establishing the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the land-grant college system. To honor his dedication to agriculture, the Abraham Lincoln National Agricultural Awards committee is seeking nominees for 2009.
Recipients of the bi-annual Abraham Lincoln National Agricultural Awards will be honored at the Farm Progress Show on Sept. 1, 2009 with a 23-inch statuette of Honest Abe made by renowned Lincoln sculptor John McClarey.
Nominations and applications are due June 26 for five award categories: ag education, technology, agri-business, an individual agriculturalist, and an ag legislator. Awards will be presented to individuals, companies, businesses, organizations, or educational institutions that exhibit exemplary leadership and achievement in the five categories.
While living in Decatur, Lincoln began his career in politics and was nominated as a presidential candidate in 1860. Decatur's agricultural tradition continues as the lifeblood of this community. The inaugural winners were announced during the 2007 Farm Progress Show, at the Decatur show site.
Agri-business: John Huston's commitment to the beef industry earned him the agri-business award. He served as president of the National Livestock and Meat Board and executive vice president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.
Agriculturalist: During John Block's service as secretary of agriculture, he convinced President Ronald Reagan to end the highly unpopular Russian Grain Embargo. His role in shaping the industry earned him the agriculturalist award.
Education: Dr. Jim Evans is best known for establishing the Agricultural Communications Department at the University of Illinois. For this contribution, he was awarded the Abraham Lincoln National Agriculture Award for Education.
Legislative: Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was honored with the legislative award. His extensive list of achievements includes grain warehouse regulations, the Water Resources Development Act, and persuading President George W. Bush to sign the 2002 Farm Bill.
Technology: During his presidency of the National Corn Growers Association, Leon Corzine was instrumental in the success of the Renewable Fuels Act. Corzine won the technology award for his dedication to renewable fuels.
Nomination and application forms are available online at www.farmprogressshow.com. For more information, contact Kim Bauer at (217) 424-2779 or [email protected]; or contact Cindy Laegeler at (217) 875-7211, ext. 577 or [email protected].